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Home-made Pizza

14 Mar

I have had a craving for pizza lately. I mean, real pizza. Not that doughy, plastic crap you get for $5. I remember as a kid having good hardy pizzas with lots of real vegetable topping. The sort that would be a flavour explosion each bite, with a thin crispy base. The sort that didn’t leave a streak of oil running down your hand from too much cheap cheese. The mission was set for me, so when I recently I saw a simple enough recipe for a pizza dough, I thought Id give it a try. And it came out perfect. Not too hard, but delicious!

[  Serves: 4 large pizzas |  Time: 2 – 3hr   |  Cost: $5 – 10  ]

Ingredients

Base

1 satchel 15g yeast (7g condensed)
300g wholemeal flour
150g plain white flour
250mls warm water
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt 

Topping

½ cup chopped zuchinni
½ cup chopped red onions
½ cup chopped red capsicums
Handful pineapple pieces
Handful Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Handful diced bacon
Handful shredded free ranged chicken
4 – 5 Boccocini (baby Mozzarella)
Scattering of grated tasty cheese
A few black olives, pipped
A few basil leaves, torn
A sprinkle of garlic flakes
Splash of pizza sauce

Method

  1. In a small jug mix 250 ml of warm water with the sugar and salt. Scatter the yeast over  the water mixture, and leave for 20 minutes in a warm spot.
  2. Into a large mixing bowl, mix the two flour ingredients together. Form a well in the middle of the flour and slowly pour the yeast mixture in. Incorporate the flour into the fluids with a clean hand. Once the fluid is incorporated into the flour well, turn out on a lightly floured surface and being to work the dough. You need to kneed the dough for about 10 – 15 minutes or until well incorporated and elastic.
  3. Place your dough in to a large lightly oil bowl. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and set aside in a warm place for a one to one and a half hours or until doubled in size.
  4. While your dough is growing, dice all ingredients into small chunks. Prepare a sauce if you don’t have a commercially prepared one (see observations below). At this point, turn on your oven onto the hottest setting and allow it to get hot in preparation for cooking your pizzas.
  5. Punch down the dough so that it deflates a little to make it easier to divide. Cut the dough into four pieces. Gently work the dough rolling from the centre outwards to form your pizza base. Place your rolled out dough base onto a pizza tray and pierce it all over with a fork.
  6. Place a thin layer of sauce onto your base, ensuring it goes all the way to the edges. Add your ingredients to your pizza to suit your own tastes. Finally, sprinkle on the cheeses, herbs and garlic.
  7. Cook in a very hot oven for 5 minutes. Turn the pizza 180° in the oven to ensure that both sides cook evenly and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove when the base is crispy.

Observations

  • While it is an easy recipe, it does require a lot of elbow grease if you do not have a fancy kitchen machine to do it for you (which I don’t). We took the kneading process in turns, each working for 5 minutes. I did two turns to ensure that it was really worked well.
  • Do not over load your pizza with ingredients. It will just fall apart when you try to eat it and will not cook evenly all the way through. If in doubt, cut your ingredients smaller.
  • Do not be tempted to over load the cheese. It adds a lot of unnecessary fat, and makes the base sloppy due to the weight and oil content.
  • Making a basic Neopolitana sauce will add a nice dimension to your dish if you don’t have a commercial sauce on hand (I usually do my own, but last night I was out of time and use a store bought one). If you wish to make your own sauce by hand, add 1 tin diced tomatoes, 1 diced onion, 4 cloves of garlic and a little oregano and basil to a pan and sauté for 1 hour until well mixed. Blend if / as needed.
  • Watch your pizza carefully – at this temperature, it will burn quickly if you don’t.
  • The original recipe asked for all plain flour. I adapted this recipe to suit our more organic / rustic tastes by adding the heavier wholemeal flour. Wholemeal flour does not become as elastic as white (processed) flour, so it does require a little more work.
  • Diabetic Note: Considering the cheese on this pizza, my BGL’s were fine. YAY! means I can have dessert, right?
  • Ethical Note: You could leave meat off this pizza entirely and do a full vegetarian option.
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