Making pizza at home has dual benefits. For one thing, it’s a pretty impressive meal when it comes hot out of the oven directly to the table. It looks like a lot of effort went into its creation despite the fact that it’s fairly easy to prepare. It can also be surprisingly affordable. The first step to making the perfect pizza is is to make your own dough right at home. This delightful dish is sure to make you a hit at super bowl parties, sleep-overs and neighborhood bashes. Basic pizza dough is simplicity itself it consists of only six ingredients.

To make the dough gather together all of the ingredients, a large mixing bowl, a rolling pin, and the pan or pans you plan on using. A cookie sheet makes a nice large party pizza. You can also use traditional 12 inch pizza pans made from metal or if you have one, you can use a pizza stone. If you are using a pizza pan, or cookie sheet, unless it is stick-free, you’ll have to lightly grease it. Preheat over to 425 degrees.

Ingredients for dough (1 large party pizza or two 12 inch);

2 cups of flour (you can substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour for one of white, throw in a cup of flax flour for added nutrition)

1 package of yeast or the equivalent tablespoon of yeast

1 cup of very warm water

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 pinch of salt

1 tablespoon of sugar

*Begin by putting the very warm water in the mixing bowl, add yeast and a tablespoon of sugar (honey can also be used, but sugar seems to help activate the yeast better). Add olive oil and stir the mixture. Slowly add flour to the liquid, mixing as you go. When all of the water has been added use your hands to finish mixing the dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured cutting board or counter. With your hands begin kneading the dough. For those of you who haven’t made bread dough, think of it as massaging the dough until it has a smooth, firm texture and easily forms into a nice ball. Knead for at least 10 minutes by hand.

*Put the dough ball back into the bowl and lightly coat it with a bit of olive oil to keep the dough from drying out while it rises. The temperature should be warm in the kitchen, somewhere between 68-72 degrees. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise for 45-50 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.

*Put the dough back out onto the floured board or counter and punch it down. If you are going to make two pizzas, split the ball in halt and form into two balls, if you’re making one large pizza, reform into one ball. On the floured surface roll the ball(s) out until they are the shape and roughly the size of the pizza pan you’re using. Place the dough on the pizza pan(s). You can use your hands to pull and manipulate the dough to the right dimensions.

*At this point you can pinch the dough crust to make the edges look regular. Cover the pizza pan with a towel again and allow the dough to rise another 30 minutes. Top the dough with pizza sauce, cheese and toppings of your choice. Put in oven for 20 – 25 minutes. C

*Check the dough by gently lifting the edge of the pizza for uniform golden-brown color. Pizza sauce can be homemade or bought commercially. One easy solution is to use a jarred spaghetti sauce. A quick pizza sauce can be made from 1 can of tomato sauce, a clove of garlic, and Italian seasoning to taste. Toppings can be as varied as you want as well. Ham, pineapple, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, olives, bell peppers and onions are all popular choices. For a healthier pizza try using fresh veggies, like broccoli, red bell pepper, and squash. Delicious!