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Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom

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Food & Fun Recipes

Basic Pizza

Ingredients (Serves 4)
  • ½ package active dry yeast
  • ½ cup lukewarm water
  • 1 ½ tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • cornmeal
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • topping of choice: chopped bell pepper, pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, etc.

Tortillas, English muffins, pita or flatbreads may also serve as bases for individual pizzas.

Instruction
  1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water and let stand for five minutes.
  2. Stir in the sugar and salt.
  3. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring until the dough forms a ball.
  4. Place the dough on a cornmeal-dusted surface, and knead for about five minutes until the dough is smooth.
  5. Divide the dough into four portions.
  6. Roll and gently stretch each portion into a circle.
  7. Press the circles onto cookie sheets, and cover with a dry towel.
  8. Let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  10. Sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese on the risen crusts, and cover with tomato sauce.
  11. Sprinkle with topping of choice.
  12. Bake the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes or until the bottoms of the crusts are brown.

While waiting for the pizza to cook, read "A Pizza the Size of the Sun," by Jack Prelutsky.

  • The modern precursor to what we call pizza occurred in pre-Renaissance Naples. Poor housewives had only flour, olive oil, lard, cheese and herbs with which to feed their families, so combining them in a tasty and delicious manner became the goal. All of Italy proclaimed the Neapolitan pies to be the best.
  • The most famous experiment of all was by a pizza maker named Raffaele Esposito, who received a royal summons to prepare a special pizza for Queen Margherita. He decided to salute the colors of the Italian flag by adding white mozzarella to red tomato and green basil. It became so popular that it's still sold today.
  • In 1945 soldiers returning from WWII in Europe brought with them a taste for certain foods. Pizza was at the top of their list.
  • Americans eat around 350 slices of pizza each second, or 100 acres per day.
  • Children ages 3-11 prefer pizza over all other foods for lunch and dinner, according to a recent Gallup Poll.
  • America's favorite pizza topping is pepperoni. The least favorite is anchovies.
  • We consume around 251,770,000 pounds of pepperonis every year.
  • Americans prefer meat toppings to veggie toppings by a ratio of 62 to 100.
  • Some popular pizza toppings in Japan are squid and Mayo Jaga (mayonaise, potato and bacon). In India they like pickled ginger, minced mutton and tofu. The people of Brazil prefer green peas. Russians serve pizza covered in mockba (a mix of sardines, tuna, mackeral, salmon and onions.
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