Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Who doesn't love pizza? It's one of my favourites but something I don't often have due to the dairy and wheat intolerances but homemade pizza is hard to resist and if I've been off wheat for a few days, I can usually deal with it and I have determined my threshold for cheese is approx a 1 inch square cube so as long as I go (very) light on the cheese, it's PIZZA TIIIIME!
I love making my own dough, that way I can determine the thickness of the pizza or mix herbs into it for extra flavour. This recipe was from a friend and it's my go to recipe for pizza base, always perfect, as long as you are willing and able to knead for 10 minutes straight (which is a really long time when you actually time it and don't just guess). Start working on those pipes!
Basic pizza dough
1 1/2 cups strong white flour
1/4 tsp salt
1tsp easy blend yeast
1/2-3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tbsp olive oil
(dried herbs are optional)
Sift flour and salt into large mixing bowl and stir in yeast
make a well in the centre and pour in olive oil and water. (I usually add 1/2 cup water and then add more if needed rather than the other way around-I find the amount of water is THE critical factor in making amazing dough)
Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 10 mins until smooth and elastic. (The test I use for this is poking the dough with my finger. The dough should spring back almost immediately. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling film. Leave until doubled in size, about 1 hour.I usually leave the dough in the oven after I've turned it on for a few minutes. The warmth helps the dough rise but you don't want it too hot...just some residual heat)
Turn out dough on to lightly floured surface and knead lightly for 2-3 mins ( The best part of this whole recipe, besides eating the final product, is the first punch into the puffy dough)
Roll or shape as required.
(I prefer to press the dough by hand and then stretch it by hand. The rustic texture makes for better aeration and air bubbles. Go really thin with the dough, it will rise a lot so if you want a really thin crust, this dough ball needs to make a 25-30 cm round pizza base. If you've done a good job with your dough, you should notice that it shrinks back a bit when you try to stretch it out.)
For toppings, on this occasion, PB and I had some genoa salami, black olives, mushrooms, artichokes and mozza. I also always drizzle lightly with olive oil and also sprinkle dried oregano or italian dried herbs over the top and this adds a great level of flavour.
Oven should be hot at about 425F and for optimal results, use a preheated pizza stone with cornmeal on it. Failing that, a pizza pan with holes in the bottom or a plain baking tray, lightly oiled.
Tip -most ingredients going on your pizza should be cooked before hand. i.e. if you are putting bell peppers or mushrooms on, they come out way better if you've pan fried them first-just my experience
Other toppings I LOVE (not all together though!):
-oven roasted vegetables
-prosciutto pieces on top (they crisp up wonderfully with the hot oven)
-fresh basil (add after cooking)
roasted garlic (slowly roast the bulb at 350F for about 45 mins with a bit of olive oil and wrap in foil. Squeeze soft gooey goodness out of cloves and spread on base or randomly drizzle on top)