Ingredients and materials

The recipe

My recipe cooks the pizza in two stages, each of them 10′ long at 220 °C. In the first stage we cook the dough and the tomato; in the second stage we add mozzarella. Toppings are added at different moments depending on their liquid content and cooking time. Onion and raw sausage can be added before cooking; small tomatoes, tuna, ham can be added between the two oven stages; dried tomatoes, raw ham, rucola they go at the end.

This 10′ + 10′ method tries to balance between cooking times for different components. Usually mozzarella sold in rods is not very soft and liquid, so we add it at a later stage, but if you use fresh mozzarella pieces you might want to add it at the beginning. You will have to experiment and optimize the recipe depending on the ingredients you use; also don’t forget that the oven plays a big role in this recipe, so make sure you read the oven manual and adapt the recipe accordingly. I usually turn on both upper and lower heating elements, and put the tray in “low” position (1/4 of height from the bottom) but you might have to do differently.

Preparation

Cut the mozzarella rod into slices; imagine to cut a salami, but make slices 4 or 5 mm thick. If you like you can also cut in stripes or sticks. Increase the thickness if you want the mozzarella to melt a little less, and save some of it if you don’t want to cover all the pizza.

If you have any other topping that needs to be washed or cut, like mushrooms or salami, it will be much more relaxing if you do it before starting.

Rolling the dough

Put one sheet of baking paper over your oven tray – it will be much easier to move the pizza and clean the tray, plus you will avoid the dough sticking on the tray (and that can really ruin your dinner).

Make sure the working surface is smooth, clean and dry, otherwise the dough will stick and you might have to start over. Your hands must be dry as well. Lay some flour on the working surface, also put some on the roller and on your hands. Remove the dough from the envelope (use a pair of scissors for help) and drop it on the flour; pour a little more flour on the top of it.

Start rolling, alternating the directions of the movement. Don’t try to immediately roll the dough to the final size, it will stick on the surface and break; this because when the dough increases its surface the flour is not enough anymore. As a rule of thumb, every time you increase the size by 50% you should flip the dough, distribute a little flour on it and roll on the other side. Keep changing side and roll in the two directions until the dough is a little bigger than your tray.

When you transfer the dough to the tray, pay attention that the dough doesn’t fold and stick to itself; at the same time, don’t hold it like a banner for too long, or gravity might pull it and break it. Move it quickly and open it up again once on the tray. The dough will try to shrink, so I recommend you fold it on the outside of the tray edges, this will keep everything in position while you work.

If you haven’t done it yet, this is usually a good moment to start pre-heating your oven at 220/230 °C.

Tap the dough with a fork to create some small cavities all over the surface, including the edges, to prevent the formation of bubbles while in the oven. If you like it, I suggest to add a thin layer of olive oil before adding the tomato.

Adding some color

Now things are getting interesting. With the help of a spoon, put some tomato on the inner edges of the tray, making sure that you leave no untouched spots; this technique will prevent the crust to become too “crusty” later, so don’t do it if you like crispy borders. Add some oregano, but just over the tomato. Fold back the dough that exceeds the size of the baking paper, add tomato so that everything is covered and be generous with oregano. As soon as the oven reaches temperature (220 °C), put the pizza in and set a 10′ timer.

When the timer is off, take out the pizza and add the mozzarella, plus toppings. The order (mozzarella first or last) is a matter of taste. In the pictures, half of the pizza has fresh tomatoes, the other half has salami. While the pizza cooks for another 10′, clean the surface where you rolled the dough, you may use it to cut the pizza (to avoid using blades on the tray). When the second timer is off, or if the mozzarella turns yellow with brown spots, turn off the oven, extract the tray and let it rest for 2′. Now grab the edges of the backing paper and drag the pizza on the cutting surface, then cut, serve, enjoy 🙂

Variants and suggestions

Some other topping combinations:

  • onion and salami: onion is placed at the beginning, salami together with the mozzarella
  • tuna and olives: both placed with mozzarella
  • parmesan, rucola and raw ham: rucola and ham go at the end, parmesan can be added with mozzarella if you want it melted or at the end if you want the pieces