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  • Damaris Chanza

The Struggle of Making Homemade Pizza

This month, I continued my food journey by making some of America's favorite food, pizza.

Well, it's not just my food journey; it's my boyfriend's as well.

Last month we made homemade pasta together, and despite some hiccups, it was much easier than we anticipated. I can't say the same about making pizza.

We initially intended on only making the dough following a YouTube video I found. We had never worked with yeast before and thought it would be best to focus on one new technique at a time. We also wanted to use the oven without a pizza stone or fancy pizza-making equipment.

On a humid, foggy, and rainy afternoon we went to ShopRite and picked up our ingredients. When we returned, we instantly started cooking.

The first step is where we hit our first hurdle – how to determine if yeast is alive? Even now, I'm not entirely sure it was right. It appeared suitable, and that was enough for the time.

Making the dough introduced our next challenge. Our video said it was meant to be sticky, but it was so wet. Adding flour combated the stickiness, but we were afraid we had added too much flour. Rewatching the video multiple times and continued kneading helped us comfortably move on to the next step. We put the dough to rest in greased bowls in the oven.

When we were cleaning up, it occurred to us we hadn't purchased any pizza sauce. He went out to buy some pizza sauce but decided to buy ingredients to make his own sauce instead. When he returned, I started working on prepping the toppings while he cooked the sauce.

We made enough dough for four pizzas; one plain, one chicken and mushroom, and two pepperoni. I shredded the mozzarella and sliced the pepperoni and mushrooms. The chicken was premade and shredded the day before, and the pizza sauce he made was delicious.

Now came the assembly.

I was so excited. I used a rolling pin to roll out my dough on the table, folded the edges, spread the sauce, and added the cheese. It looked and smelled just like a pizza. I was giddy with excitement at how fantastic everything was turning out. The final step was to move the pie from the table to the greased cookie sheet.

It was a disaster.

The stretchy dough with all the toppings was too flimsy to move. My perfect pizza deteriorated into a pile of mush. I was so disappointed.

My fatal mistake was adding sauce and toppings while the dough was still on the table instead of the cookie sheet.

My boyfriend learned from my mistakes, and his two pies came out perfect. My second pie looked great as well.

Once cooked, there was still a clear difference between my pie and his. The dough on mine was soft and comparable to the soggy rectangle pizza slices from a middle school cafeteria. Meanwhile, his were perfect and exactly what you would expect. Because we did everything the same, we deduced that the difference in texture came from cooking mine on a Teflon coated tray meant to create a nonstick surface. The others were cooked on regular cookie sheets.

Regardless, the pizzas were delicious. Even the messed up one I made, which my boyfriend chose to call a calzone, was delicious.

Making homemade pizza was not nearly as simple as making homemade pasta. I expected the use of yeast to be the biggest challenge, but it was barely an issue. My confidence kept dwindling throughout the whole process, but I'm glad I had my boyfriend with me. He continuously encouraged me and helped problem solve at every step. He did research and supported me, keeping a light-hearted environment. Despite my mistakes, by the end of it, I was just as excited as I was when we started. I was also starving; it took almost 3 hours to make, and we just wanted to eat, but I'm glad I'm embarking on this food journey with someone like him.

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