- Sponge: 1 to 2 days in advance
- Rising time for dough: 1½ hours
- Pizza prep and assembly: 15 minutes
- Pizza baking time: 10 to 15 minutes
Pans and Parchment Paper:
- Two 16-inch pizza pans
- Parchment Paper (or instead of parchment paper bake directly on a pizza stone)
- 1 pound grated mozzarella cheese, low moisture part skim (4 cups)
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 teaspoons dried basil or ½ cup loosely chopped fresh basil
If you prefer a homemade pizza crust, prepare pizza dough 1 to 2 days in advance of making pizza.
- Pull the oven racks out of the oven and set on stovetop.
- Preheat oven to 400°. If you have a convection oven, use the convection bake setting at 400°.
- If you are using a pizza stone, leave the racks in and preheat the stone in the oven at 400°. If you have a convection oven, use the convection bake setting at 400°.
- Prepare pizza sauce; set aside.
- Tear off 2 sheets of parchment paper. Each one should be approximately 20 inches long.
- Place each piece of parchment paper on a separate work surface.
- Lightly dust another work surface with cornmeal.
- Punch down the dough.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface.
- Knead dough for 30 seconds.
- Split the dough into two equal halves and place on the cornmeal dusted work surface.
- Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Place each piece of dough directly in the center of a piece of parchment paper.
- Beginning in the center of each dough ball use the palm of your hand to gently press each ball into a 14-inch round.
- If you are using a baking stone place the dough directly on a floured pizza peel, press out into a 14-inch round, and assemble as directed below.
- Get out two 16-inch pizza pans.
- Slide each pizza pan under each of the two pizza rounds.
- Note that the pizza round and the parchment paper will both end up on top of the pizza pan.
- Spread each pizza round with ½ cup + 2 tablespoons pizza sauce. If you like a lot of sauce on your pizza add more according to your tastes.
- Sprinkle ½ of grated cheese mixture over each round. If you prefer your pizza to be light on cheese, use less than the recommended amount.
- Sprinkle the top of each pizza with 1 teaspoon of basil.
- Slide the parchment paper off of the pizza pan and directly onto the oven rack.
- Bake the pizza for approximately 10 minutes. The underside of bottom crust should be golden brown.
- If you have a convection oven you can bake both pizzas at the same time on the convection bake setting. You may need to switch the racks for the last 5 minutes of baking time to ensure both pizzas have a nice, crisp crust.
- To remove the pizza from the oven, slide a pizza pan or a pizza peel under the parchment paper then carefully grab the edge of the paper with your fingers and pull the paper and pizza onto the pan or peel.
- If you are baking the pizzas on a pizza stone, slide the pizza from the pizza peel onto the preheated baking stone. Baking time should be approximately 10 minutes.
- To remove the pizza from the pizza stone, slide the pizza peel under the pizza and remove the pizza from the oven.
- Cool for 10 minutes, cut and serve.