Sunday, 5 February 2012

A Stove-less Summer: Meal #4 – Homemade Pizza

Posted by Kim Fong On 11:26 am No comments


People tell me they never make pizza at home because making the dough is too much work. Admittedly, it is a lot easier to dial-a-pizza. The hard bit in that scenario is deciding which one you want because they never have just  the right combo for you. Whether it be the wrong sauce, not enough topping, too much topping, the wrong toppings, dough is too thin or too thick. But it's really not as hard as it sounds to make your own pizza. Even if it's only 1 or 2 of you at home. You can freeze and reheat and it's good as fresh.

Below is a simple dough recipe from taste.com.au which I've added my learnings to the method. It requires nothing too fancy, though a cake mixer or a food processor would be useful and time saving.

Ingredients
Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water (usually about 1 cup room temp water and half cup boiling hot water)
1 sachet of dried yeast (about 7 or 8g)
Pinch of sugar (prefer caster as it dissolves easier)
600g (4 cups) plain flour (you can use baker’s flour if you prefer)
1 tspn salt
1 tbpsn dried oregano (optional)
1/4 olive oil (plus extra for brushing)

Topping
~ Please note the following are all options only. Its up to you what you want to put on the pizza
Pizza sauce (you can use tomato paste, or even bolognaise sauce in a jar)
Mozzarella cheese - grated (or that pizza cheese mix in the supermarket)
Minced fresh garlic (this really makes the pizza)
Onions (diced or sliced)
Dried oregano
Pepperoni or salami (thin slices)
Mushrooms
Capsicum
Spinach
Olives (sliced black)
Sun or semi dried tomatoes
Basil, chilli flakes, Etc….

Method
Dough
1. Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Add water first to the bowl and test the temperature with your finger/hand. It should be bath-water warm. Set aside for 5 minutes or until foamy.


2. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture and oregano, then olive oil. Either using your hands, cake mixer, food processor, mix until the mixture is combined. Don’t be temped to put extra flour as this will dry out the dough.


3.  Turn the dough onto a very lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

4. Brush a large bowl lightly with oil. Place dough in oiled bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover dough top with plastic wrap and cover bowl with a clean tea towel (prevents dust and bugs) and set aside in a warm, draught-free place to rise for 30 minutes or until dough doubles in size. If its a cold day, it will rise but it will take a bit longer. Don’t be tempted to put it in a low temp oven as yeast dies at 50C. Best temperature usually is between 26 to 30C.  As a suggestion - you can put the bowl in the bathroom when you or someone is taking a hot shower.


5. Once the dough has doubled in size, turn the dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface and kneed. Portion out the dough (for this quantity, it makes 3 to 4 family size pizzas). Allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes to rest. This resting period is essential as it will prevent the dough from springing back when you roll it out. It gets rather annoying to roll out if you don't let it sit.


6. Roll out dough and place on pizza tray. Again allow to rest for 2 to 3 minutes. 

7. Place your toppings on. Start with the sauce. Use the back of a tablespoon to spread on the dough. I then usually sprinkle a bit of oregano and garlic. Then a little bit of cheese. This allows the other toppings stick to the base. Then the rest of the flavours you want. Top off with more cheese. I also put more mushrooms on top as its nice when its a bit toasted.

8. Place in a 190C oven for about 8 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is golden. If you like the thin and crispy style, roll the dough out thinner and use a hotter oven (~200C).


9. Before you serve, let it cool a little, so when you slice it the cheese holds its shape and doesn't run off the slice taking the rest of the topping with it.



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