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Posts Tagged ‘pizza’

Making of a Pizza

My quest for the perfect pizza base has ended. I have browsed and browsed and browsed through several recipes and pages of information on what it takes to get that perfect pizza crust – thin, light, soft on the inside and crisp outside. I don’t even remember half the sites I’ve browsed through. And I believe I have finally hit on the method and recipe that delights my pizza cravings to no end.

For a thin, crisp, light crust, this is what I gathered and I can confirm based on my experience:

  1. The Dough needs to be loose and not firm.
  2. Dough does not need kneading. Pizza bases are not breads. Whisking in one direction while forming dough is enough.
  3. Add more sugar or honey for better flavour.
  4. Cold fermentation or an overnight stay in the fridge for the dough helps (and it helps a great deal)
  5. Pizzas need not be tossed. A dough that can be stretched with the palm or rolling pin on a flat surface where more flour can be incorporated works wonders.

So this fine day when I was craving for pizzas I decided to put all of this research to some use. I made a wet dough, added a whole tablespoon of honey and let the dough sleep in the fridge. It worked – and it helped a great deal to get the crust I’ve always wanted in my home oven.

Makes: Two 12 inch Pizzas

Ingredients

For the Base/ Crust/Pizza Dough

  • Water – 1 cup
  • All Purpose Flour – 2 1/2 cups (plus extra for dusting)
  • Corn Flour – 3 tbsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Honey – 1 tbsp
  • Active Dry Yeast – 2 tsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Olive Oil – 3 tbsp
  • Dried Herbs of Choice – 2 tbsp (optional)

For Topping

  • Sauce of choice – 2 tbsp (or Olive Oil)
  • Toppings of choice – 1 1/2 – 2 cups sliced and sauted (tossed in 4-5 tbsp of sauce of choice if you like)
  • Cheese of choice – 1/2 cup (grated) (or 6 tbsp for each pizza)

Method

  1. Warm 1 cup water. Water that you can dip your finger in is warm enough. Dissolve the sugar, add honey and yeast. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Dissolve the yeast.
  2. Mix All Purpose Flour, Corn flour, Salt and Basil. Dissolve one cup of the flour mix to dissolved yeast. Add the second cup and combine by whisking in one circular direction with your hand. Add the remaining flour and whisk into a dough. Add the olive oil 1 tbsp at a time while combining into dough. The dough will be loose but well combined and smooth. The dough is not kneaded.
  3. Divide the dough into two. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until doubled. This should take about 1-2 hours.
  4. Flour the pizza pan. Preheat oven to 250 degrees C.
  5. Take one portion of the dough onto the pizza pan and using your palm pat into think circular disk till it covers the pan. You can use a rolling pin. Dust with flour while stretching. If the dough bounces back, let it rest for a while and stretch. Cut out any extra edges. The edges of the base should be slightly thicker. Using a fork prick all over the base.
  6. Spread 1 tbsp of the Sauce. Spread Toppings. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until the crust turns golden or cheese starts to brown. Or bake the base for 5 minutes. Take out spread the sauce and toppings and bake for an additional 5 to 15 minutes. Your method will depend on choice of sauce/ toppings (the amount of water or liquid content) and how hot your oven can get.
  7. Take out from oven and let pizza cool down before transferring to serving plate. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  8. Slice into pieces and serve.

Notes:

  • You can safely replace half of the All Purpose Flour with Whole Wheat Flour and get the same results. Whole Wheat absorbs a lot more water. Add enough water to make a loose dough.
  • Dough kept overnight in the fridge and rested about an 1 hour outside before baking produces better results. Reduce yeast to 1tsp in this case.

Pizza Dough Recipes from other blogs:

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Pizza – the saviour

Six months into starting my first job, the days became long and work became exceptionally frantic but fun. There were however exactly two major “not so nice” adventures that were as a rule present in my daily routine. One of them was the crossing of two canine colleagues from the main clinical facility where I worked to the staff quarters. A couple of feet in terms of distance, a thousand mile sprint in heartbeat terms. One of them, Simba, hated dogs, so if I was too careless about the door, I’d probably witness a massacre of dogs. The other one, Rosa, hated human beings, so if I was too careless about not being discrete while crossing, I’d be massacred.

The second adventure was a ritual called “having dinner”. My roomie and I spent more time deciphering what the food served exactly was. My dinner experiences at my work place made me say that the hostel food at the Tata Instiute of Social Sciences was excellent – so it was a real big deal to swallow such food.

I tried hard for days until I deliberated over various options available and settled in for a daily pizza dinner plan – pizzas are tasty, pizzas have vegetables, one could order them without cheese if one wanted to and most importantly one can never ever ever get bored of having pizzas.

My roomie and I have had a hundred pizzas together probably, no we never got bored and no we din’t really bloat all that much. We did however discover a few random holes in our bags and pockets.

The best thing about Pizza is that it gets delivered anytime, almost anywhere. Even when water is 6 feet deep and one needs to travel by a boat to deliver it. The organization I worked at was constructed in the middle of what used to a large lake once upon a time. The particular year of my joining work, the rain gods decided was the best year ever to fill up the lake once again. Yet inspite of all the incessant pourings, a million pot holes and water that was deep enough to make a Tata Sumo drown, our Pizzas were always delivered. We always ended up having a happy, satisfied, good dinner.
Yesterday I made Pizza from scratch for dinner. I borrowed the recipe from Raaga – and trust me it works like a dream. In Chennai heat it takes just about two hours, including rise time of dough to make Pizza. All a Pizza needs is some vegetables, some sauce, seasoning, dough, some cheese and a really hot oven. I used roasted red bell peppers, corn and onions for my toppings. I picked up something labeled as Ooty Organic Cheese – about 1/4 of a cup of this grated (6 tbsp approximately) made my pizza look like its been swimming in a cheese ocean!!

I exercised a great deal of self control to take these pics on my mobile before sinking my teeth into a crispy, gooey, chewy goodness called pizza.

Follow this link for the recipe.

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