Lerato Maimela
Digital Journalist
8 minute read
7 Dec 2021
3:57 pm

Here is why the Google doodle is celebrating pizza

Lerato Maimela

National Pizza Day is on 9 February 2022, so why was Google celebrating pizza on 6 December 2021?

A variety of the best and most popular pizzas in the world. Picture: iStock

The team at Google are determined to spark some awareness on the history of the famous Italian flatbread dish, pizza, with their homepage interactive doodle.

National Pizza Day is on 9 February 2022, so why was Google celebrating pizza on 6 December 2021?

Well, on 6 December 2017, the culinary art of Neapolitan “Pizzaiuolo” was inscribed on the Unesco Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

This basically means that on that specific day, pizza became a cultural touchstone of the human race across the world.

Google’s interactive doodle is a game that allows you to slice your own pizza using your cursor, but there is a twist. There are certain rules about the number of slices you get and the different pizza toppings which need to go on each slice.

Here are the two most famous pizzas which you can recreate in the spirit of celebrating the history of pizza.

Margherita pizza

Margherita
Pizza margherita. Picture: iStock

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 2½ cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • Half a teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • Three-quarter teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 7 ounces of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Semolina and all-purpose flour for dusting the pizza peel

For the sauce

  • 1 cup of pureed or crushed canned San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2-3 fresh garlic cloves, grated with a microplane or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 2-3 large pinches of kosher salt to taste
  • Quarter teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

For the toppings

  • 2-3 tablespoons of finely grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 7 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese cut into cubes
  • 5-6 large fresh basil leaves plus more for garnishing
  • Dried red pepper flakes optional

ALSO READ: Celebrate International Cake Day with these delectable and dreamy recipes

Instructions

  1. Prepare pizza dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add the warm water and olive oil, and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until the dough just begins to come together. It will seem shaggy and dry, but don’t worry.
  2. Scrape the dough onto a well-floured counter top and knead the dough for three minutes. It should quickly come together and begin to get sticky. Dust the dough with flour as needed (sometimes I will have to do this 2 to 3 times, depending on humidity levels) – it should be slightly tacky, but should not be sticking to your counter top.  After about 3 minutes, the dough should be smooth, slightly elastic, and tacky. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil, and place the dough into the bowl.
  3. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel (or plastic wrap) and allow the dough to rise in a warm, dry area of your kitchen for 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size. Proofing Tip: If your kitchen is very cold, heat a large heatproof measuring cup of water in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. This creates a nice warm environment. Remove the cup and place the bowl with the dough in the microwave until it has risen. [If you are preparing the dough in advance, see the note section for freezing instructions.
  4. Preheat oven and pizza steel or stone: Place the pizza steel (or stone) on the second to top rack of your oven (roughly 8 inches from the broiler element), and preheat the oven and steel (or stone) to 285°C for a minimum of 1 hour. If your oven does not go up to 285°C or you are using a delicate pizza stone, I recommend heating it to a maximum of 260°C.
  5. As the oven is preheating, assemble the ingredients. In a small bowl, stir together the pureed tomatoes, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, pepper, and salt. Set aside another small bowl with the cubed mozzarella cheese (pat the cheese with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture). Set aside the basil leaves and grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese for easy grabbing.
  6. Separate the dough into two equal-sized portions. It will deflate slightly, but that is OK. Place the dough on a large plate or floured counter top, cover gently with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Assemble the pizza: Sprinkle the pizza peel (if you do not own a pizza peel, you can try using the back of a half sheet pan – but it is tricky!) with a tablespoon of semolina and dusting of all-purpose flour. Gently use both hands to stretch one ball of pizza dough into roughly a 10-inch circle (don’t worry if its not perfectly uniform). If the dough springs back or is too elastic, allow it to rest for an additional five minutes. The edges of the dough can be slightly thicker, but make sure the center of the dough is thin (you should be able to see some light through it if you held it up). Gently transfer the dough onto the semolina and flour dusted pizza peel or baking sheet.
  8. Drizzle or brush the dough lightly (using your fingertips) with olive oil (roughly a teaspoon. Using a large spoon, add roughly ½ cup of the tomato sauce onto the pizza dough, leaving a border on all sides. Use the back of the spoon to spread it evenly and thinly. Sprinkle a tablespoon of parmigiano-reggiano cheese onto the pizza sauce. Add half of the cubed mozzarella, distributing it evenly over the entire pizza. Using your hands, tear a few large basil leaves, and sprinkle the basil over the pizza. At this point, I’ll occasionally stretch the sides of the dough out a bit to make it even thinner. Gently slide the pizza from the peel onto the heated baking stone. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling and caramelised and the edges of the pizza are golden brown. Note: If you’re looking for more colour, finish the pizza under the low or medium broil setting, but watch it carefully!
  9. Remove the pizza carefully from the oven with the pizza peel, transfer to a wooden cutting board or foil, drizzle the top with olive oil, some grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, and chiffonade of fresh basil. Slice and serve immediately and/or prepare the second pizza.

This recipe was found on abeautifulplate.com

Pepperoni pizza

pepperoni pizza
Homemade pepperoni pizza. Picture: iStock

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 1 1/4 cup of room temperature water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cup of all purpose flour

For the sauce

  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • pepper

For the toppings

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 cup of mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 30 slices of pepperoni
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, add warm water and yeast. Sprinkle sugar over top and allow to sit for 5-7 minutes or until the mixture begins to puff. Add the oil and the room temperature water. Whisk gently to combine.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, combine salt, flour, and water mixture. When dough begins to form a ball, remove paddle attachment and replace with dough hook. With mixing speed on low, knead dough for 2-3 minutes or until a ball begins to form and the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
  3. Remove dough from bowl and place in a large well-greased bowl (I prefer using olive oil, but you can also use Pam). Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours. You can also do a “quick-rise” method and stick the bowl in an oven that has been heated to 93°C and then TURNED OFF (that way it’s nice and warm in there, but please make sure your oven is actually off before sticking the dough inside). Let it rise for 1 hour.
  4. To deflate dough, punch with fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two or three balls (depending on how big and how many pizzas you want to make… I make 2). Form into pizza shells to fit the size of your pan (or refrigerate the other dough for up to 48 hours. Place on a lightly greased pan (or one that has been dusted with flour or cornmeal).
  5. Combine all of the ingredients for the pizza sauce in a small bowl. Refrigerate until needed.
  6. Preheat oven to 230°C. Brush the olive oil over the entire top of the pizza dough. Spread an even layer of pizza sauce over the pizza, leaving dough around edges for the crust. Top with the grated parmesan cheese, then the mozzarella. Place the pepperoni slices on then bake for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the red pepper flakes, allow to cool for 10 minutes before topping with basil or oregano (to prevent discoloration and wilting). Slice and serve immediately.

This recipe was found on lifemadesimplebakes.com