Intro: Two Dollar Fresh Pizza
The economy has gone to shit and pizza parlors have always been overpriced. Here's your solution: two dollar pizza. Yes, it's a large pizza for the price of a slice of pizza on a good day. It's toasty, delicious, and cheap. What more could you want? Bear in mind that, depending on your location, it could cost more. For instance, in Hawaii it might cost up to a whopping four dollars because it costs more to ship ingredients. But let's face it - if you live in Hawaii, you're probably rich anyway. Some have said that this pizza, if done right, actually tastes better than, say, Papa John's. They are wrong. It's delicious, but all pizza is different. It's just really good in a different way.
Step 1: Ingredients
For the dough for a single pizza, you will need:
4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon yeast
A big bowl
A dough hook (or whisk, or just your hands if you don't mind getting them dirty)
The yeast is the main cost in the dough. If you use less, the recipe will work but the dough will take longer to rise. My brother said that he used to use only a pinch of yeast, but that he would let it rise all day while he was at work. If you have a larger budget and less patience, a tablespoon works much, much faster and your dough will rise in about an hour.
There isn't really a set amount of cheese or tomato sauce. If you plan on making pizzas often, just buy a huge can of pizza sauce and a big bag of cheese. I recommend La Romanella pizza sauce and Kirkland mozzarella or Mexican blend cheese. Remember, if you buy big, you will save money.
Step 2: Make the Dough
Mix one cup of flour with all the other powder ingredients in a large bowl. Then add all the water, and steadily add two more cups of flour as you mix it. It really helps to have an automatic mixer, but doing it by hand works just as well. Dump out the incredibly sticky ball of dough on a cutting board or other portable surface (it's much easier to wash) that you have lightly sprinkled with flour. Cover your hands in a thin layer of flour (the flour prevents sticking) and knead the dough. You will want to add the final cup of flour as you're kneading the dough because that will make everything go more smoothly. If you don't know how to knead dough, it goes like this: fold the dough, like a sheet of paper. Cover the whole thing in flour. Turn it 90 degrees and fold it again. Do this about ten or fifteen times.
Step 3: Wait
The dough needs to rise. I've got no idea why this is a necessary process, but no pizza I've made without letting the dough rise turned out well. Pour a very small amount of olive or vegetable oil into a bowl and use a paper towel to spread it around. This will prevent sticking. Alternatively, you can use a light dusting of flour. Put the dough ball into the bowl and wait. How long? Generally, I go with "until it looks right", but the approximate time depends on how much yeast you use.
1 teaspoon - 2 hours
1 tablespoon - 1 hour
1/4 teaspoon - go to sleep or to school or work or something and it should be ready when you get back
While you wait, have the oven preheat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 4: Make the Pizza
Put your risen dough on a pizza pan after you spray it with Pam or some other pan grease. Spread it out by working it from the inside out with your hands. There shouldn't be any holes in the pizza, but thin spots are okay. If you don't get it right the first time, just pick pick it up and start over. Then dump an appropriate amount of sauce on and spread it around with a large spoon. Put a very small amount on the crust for moisture. Sprinkle cheese on so that there aren't any large exposed patches of sauce. Don't put too much cheese or sauce on or the pizza won't cook right.
Step 5: Customize
Some people like pepperoni on their pizzas. Some hate mozzarella. I've had pizza with crab on it that was delicious. The point is, make your pizza your way. It's like Burger King, but no happy meal. You can also double or triple the recipe to make several pizzas. Just scale up all the ingredients. I've done a five times size recipe before, and it was great. On this pizza, I'm choosing to add peperoni on one side.
Step 6: Cook the Pizza
Raw pizza is pretty much the only thing in the world worse than cold pizza. Once the oven reaches 450 degrees (Fahrenheit) cook the pizza for about ten minutes. It may take a little more or less than that, so at ten minutes stick a knife in the center of the pizza. If it's still doughy, give it another couple minutes.
Step 7: Devour. Voraciously.
Your pizza is done. You might want to let it cool for a few minutes before you take the first bite or it will burn your mouth. Yum... burnt mouth...