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A simple pizza recipe; works well for thin crusts.
- Luke warm water (about 100 °F or 38 °C). Try one cup per pizza. If the batter is thin and runny like pancake batter, that's too much water, so add a little flour to thicken it. If you can touch the batter with your finger and not stick to it, that's too dry, so add a little water
- flour about 2 cups per pizza. Note that it must be at least 60%-70% white flour. It would be heavy and wouldn't rise as much if you get too much whole wheat and cornmeal in the batter.
- yeast. a 1/4 oz package in the grocery store makes about 2 12" pizzas.
- sugar. you need very little for the yeast, but about 1 tablespoon per pizza tastes good,
- salt. very little; a few shakes from the salt shaker is enough for 1 pizza.
A few more ingredients in the batter make it interesting:
- Mix water, yeast, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. The dough rises to become about 50% larger, so use a big bowl. Set the mixing bowl so it is sitting in hot water, or place on top of a warm oven. Let rise for 20-30 minutes. Don't worry if it only rose 10% or 20%, it'll still work.
- Put vegetable oil on the pans, then sprinkle cornmeal on the oil. Put a glop of the batter on each pan and spread it so it is about .25 inch thick, with the edge .5 inch. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough so it doesn't stick to your hands.
- Add pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings (optional, see pizza article)
- Bake at 425°F for about 15 to 20 minutes. Rotate every 5 minutes and move to upper or lower shelves as necessary: After 10 minutes slide a large knife under the crust. If it is dark brown, move it to a higher shelf so it doesn't burn while the top finishes cooking. If it is white or light tan, move to lower shelf so you get a crispy crust before the cheese starts turning brown on top.
On your first try, try just one or two pizzas. Then you can adjust it next time as necessary.
- the crust isn't done in the middle
- You have it too thick.
- the crust burned on the bottom
- Either you had it too close to the bottom (use 2nd shelf, not lowest), or didn't move it to a higher shelf in time. Some stoves are hotter than the thermostat, so try 400 next time.
- the crust is soggy
- Water from fresh tomatoes, pineapples, and onions, can seep into the crust, so take it easy on those.
- pizza is too greasy
- Reduce oil in batter. Oil on pan needs to be film covering the pan so it doesn't burn, but it doesn't need to pool on the surface. Some toppings (pepperoni, sausage, even cheese) will melt grease into the pizzas; try smaller pieces.
- vegetables are overdone (e.g., dried up mushrooms, bitter peppers, soggy onion)
- Vegetables don't need 20 minutes. Put them on halfway through so they still have a little texture left. Some vegetables, especially broccoli, work better when protected by a coating of oil.
- cheese is brown and dried out on top
- Pizza was cooked too close to top element in oven; never use top shelf.
- crust is not very light
- Use less whole wheat flour or cornmeal in the batter. Use more yeast.