Heating a frozen pizza in your oven or ordering pizza delivery are both perfectly effective ways of obtaining a pizza for dinner. For both flavour and flexibility, however, nothing beats making your own pizza. When you start from scratch, you can use the freshest ingredients and tailor the toppings to suit your personal taste. The most difficult and time-consuming part of the process is making the crust, so start with store-bought dough if you do not want to spend much of the day working on your pizza.
Preheat your oven to 191 degrees Celsius for a thick crust, 218 degrees Cor a medium crust, or 260 degrees Cor a very thin crust.
Sprinkle your baking tray generously but not heavily with semolina. This will keep the pizza from sticking to the baking tray and give the bottom crust the extra texture you might expect from a professional pizza. Do this step first to avoid scrambling to sprinkle the cutting board while balancing a stretched pizza dough on your other hand.
Coat the ball of pizza dough with flour, then put it down on a lightly floured counter or cutting board. Push the centre section of the dough flat, leaving the edges raised. Pick up the dough gently and turn it in circles, holding it on your knuckles and the backs of your hands, until it stretches to the size you want. Handle the raised edges as little as possible while you do this to ensure the best outer crust on your final pizza.
Lay the stretched dough flat on the baking tray.
Spread the dough with a sauce of some sort. The most common, of course, is a tomato-based sauce. You have other options, however; consider plain or flavoured olive oil, pesto, garlic confit, barbecue sauce or even cream as your base sauce. Use the back of a large spoon to spread the sauce evenly over your dough. If you are using olive oil, spread it over the edges of the crust. If you are using anything else, leave the edges of the crust bare.
Put your cheese on the pizza. A common choice is mozzarella, but you can replace or supplement this with other cheeses like cheddar, fontina, goat cheese, gruyere or anything else you particularly like. As a rule of thumb, use one medium handful of cheese for each part of the pizza the size of your stretched hand.
Add your toppings to the pizza. Use about the same amount of toppings as cheese.
Put your pizza in the oven and bake it. Check it after 10 minutes to see how it is doing. If it is a very thin pizza at a high temperature, it might already be done. You will recognise a finished pizza by its golden brown crust and completely melted cheese. If your pizza is not done, continue baking it until it reaches this point.
Remove the pizza from the oven and slice it. Add any finishing toppings that do not need to be cooked such as sliced prosciutto, cured anchovies, a drizzle of olive oil or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.