Never Give Up, Never Surrender – Commander Peter Quincy Taggart
Some anecdotal data suggests that ADHDers may exhibit a pig-headed determination to never give up until they feel they have mastered a particular skill. Whether that is an ADHD trait or not, nonetheless, after a few months of pizza making and a minimum five pound weight gain, I’ve reached the “I’ve mastered it” point with my pizza making skills. I went from using baking sheets and parchment paper to using a baking stone. Now the crust is superb. I went from using a rolling pin and lots of cursing to stretching the dough just right. Now my pizza is round. I even got the total prep time for various toppings – grating cheese, cutting onions and tomatoes, pepperoni, etc. – down to about 40 minutes. (Disclaimer: This does not include the time required for the dough to rise.) Probably a few months from now I’ll make my own pizza dough but, heck, how much can one person do?
I hope the pictures and video inspire you to make your own pizza. Don’t be discouraged if your first few attempts look like some misshapen trapezoid. (Here’s an example of my trapezoid pizza.) It will still taste great.
- Pizza Dough (I use store-bought dough)
- Tomato Sauce (I use Barilla Tomato & Basil)
- Mozzarella Cheese (I use PollyO whole milk)
- White flour (for dusting the dough and the work surface)
- Corn meal (for dusting the pizza peel)
- An oven. (duh!) But, see photos at the end of this post because you can also cook the pizza using your baking stone and a gas grill.
- Baking Stone
- Pizza Peel
- Pizza Cutter
- If you are using store-bought dough, allow it to sit out for at least two hours. You want it to double in size before using it. (If you are using home-made dough…you’ll still want it to double in size.)
- If you are using a baking stone, place it in the oven while the oven is cold. Then set the oven temperature for 450 degrees F. This should be done when you are ready to stretch the dough. The time it takes to stretch it, add sauce, cheese and any toppings is usually enough time for the oven to heat up.
- Your work surface should have a small amount of white flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the work surface and your hands.
- Stretch the dough. (See the video) Stretching it is a combination of using your hands – at the beginning of the process – to get the dough to stretch. But after a minute or so the weight of the dough starts to do the work of stretching.
- When you have a circle about 14 inches in diameter, momentarily leave your dough on your work surface and then prep your pizza peel. Put a generous amount of corn meal on the pizza peel. Then place the dough on the peel and start the next part of the process.
- Create a crust around the pizza. In the video I pinch the dough between my hands (I mistakenly say in the video “between my fingers”). Use whatever technique you are most comfortable with. The crust keeps the sauce from running all over the place.
- Put about two heaping tablespoons of sauce on the dough and spread it out.
- Time for the cheese. I use about 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese for each pizza.
- Even if the oven is at the right temperature, wait another five minutes before putting in the pizza. This is to make sure that the stone is nice and hot.
- Slide the pizza off of the peel and onto the stone. (I’m assuming you opened the oven door.) Set a timer for 15 minutes. After approximately five minutes, peek inside and look for bubbles. They may get quite large. Poke them with a knife to get them to deflate.
- When the pizza is ready I pull the pizza onto the peel. Use whatever technique is most comfortable for you.
- Allow the pizza to cool for five minutes before cutting it. Use a good pizza cutter. They are not expensive.