My dear Rinki,
Rizi has been pestering me these last few days to bake him a pizza, you know how it is here, no Pizza Hut or Dominoes to order from! I was wondering how great it must be for you to just go to the supermarket and pick up ingredients from all over the world…here i have to look really hard to find even a capsicum ( or should i say bell pepper now that you are living in Australia!)…sometimes it is hard but hey it is fun and adventurous. Do you remember the days when i didn’t have an oven and used to bake bread in a saucepan on the gas hob ! I remember you asking for the pizza base recipe so darling here goes. It takes a little time but nothing beats the aroma of fresh pizza…… I can almost hear Rizi shouting Yipppeeee
Basic bread recipe ( can be used for pizza, calzone, rolls )
Flour 400 gm
Dry Powder Yeast 1 heaped tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Sugar 2 tsp
Warm Water 2 cups
Oil (Olive oil ) 2 tsp
Method for Dough
In a bowl sprinkle 1 tsp sugar, add the yeast , pour about half a cup of warm water and cover. In a few minutes the yeast will have started to bubble. This is indicative of your yeast coming alive. Test the warmth of the water by sticking your finger in it. It should be comfortable warm. Hot water will kill the yeast instantly.
Take the flour in a bowl sprinkle the rest of the sugar(1tsp) over it, make a well in the center. Do not add the salt now. Adding Salt to the Yeast directly will kill it. Pour the frothy yeast in the center and mix with the flour. Now you may add the salt. Bring the whole thing together by adding more warm water. Add water very sparingly or you will end up with an unmanageable slurry. (You may not need the whole water or you may need more! cup sizes are rather arbitrary)
Next turn out the sticky mix on to your counter, sprinkle a dusting of flour and knead…knead and knead some more. Using the heels of your palm, stretch the dough away from you, then collect it back into a ball and stretch away again. This action helps to create the gluten in the dough and will result in a good bread texture. Do not add too much dry flour or your bread will go hard and doughy. After exercising your biceps for about fifteen minutes, if the dough looks satiny and smooth then it is done. It will be springy to touch. Make the dough into a ball. Oil it and keep it in a bowl covered with a tea cloth.
Depending on the temperature of where you live, the quality of yeast and flour, the dough will take anywhere between twenty minutes to an hour to double in size. This is the first proofing. Knock back the dough and and knead it again. Use just the lightest dusting of dry flour. Again oil the dough ball and let rest for another twenty minutes, the dough will rise again. This is the second Proofing. Now roll out your dough into whatever shape you want, you can make dinner roll shape, bun shape, add filling to a circle of rolled dough and fold over making a calzone. Let the dough rest finally for another twenty minutes prior to baking.
If making pizza Roll the dough out in a circle,or like you see in the picture I have made a large rectangle ! not traditional but saves me the trouble of making multiple ones in a not so large oven. Sprinkle the baking sheet with a little dry flour before keeping the rolled dough on it. Now would also be the time to prick the base with a fork to prevent it from rising like a loaf.
For Pizza Sauce, please refer to our Basic Chutneys and Sauce post.
Assembling the Pizza
Pizza dough ( see above)
Pizza sauce ( see above)
Onion 2 nos cut into thin round slices
Capsicum (bell pepper) 2 cut into thin strips
Chicken/pork salami as many as you wish
Olive oil( or any white oil) for drizzling
Cheese as much as you want!
( mix of mozzarella and cheddar is good although I’m thankful for whatever I can get here, which is usually processed cheese); ( your veg pizza option could be mushrooms, pineapple, baby corn, paneer, tofu) and most important get your kids to help…my son loves to assemble the pizza, resulting in a magical reduction of the salami!
Step 1. Spread olive oil on the pizza base and bake blind( without any topping) for ten minutes n a very hot oven ( 250 degree C )
Step 2. Take it out and spread generous amounts of sauce on the base .Reserve about a third of the sauce for drizzling on top.
Step 3. Spread all the various toppings on the sauce-y base : )
Step 4. Smother it in cheese, then drip the reserved sauce over the toppings, and finally drizzle olive oil over the whole pizza
Step 5. Bake in a very hot oven , 250 degrees C, for about twenty to forty minutes depending on shape, size and thickness of your pizza .Best way to judge is, the veggies will seem nice and grilled, the cheese will be bubbling, the base will no longer appear doughy but would have taken on a border of crispy brown, but most importantly your tongue would most definitely be salivating from the wonderful aroma of freshly baked pizza !
I always have trouble in keeping Rizi still while the pizza is being sliced…I wish he would eat his dinner just as fast every day! I hope you will make the pizza, if not you can make the dough separately for bread, or you can make the sauce and keep it in the fridge for later use. The sauce keeps for a few days easily in the fridge. I use leftover sauce for sandwiches or even fish curry! Tell me your experience with the recipe, it isn’t bound in cast iron, you make changes and tweak it as you wish to. Happy Pizza eating!
Till next time,