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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Homemade pizza


Some days when I get home from work, I can't be bothered cooking. All I want to do is sit on the couch and have dinner bought to me. So sometimes we have pizza delivered.

Then when the pizza arrives, I open the box and see that along with my pizza also came a crap load of oil. Ergh.

I've found one way of cutting out all that oil is to make my own pizza! Sure, I don't get to sit on the couch and vegetate, but homemade pizza is pretty easy. The recipe listed below makes a bready base, that gets a bit crunchy on the bottom. It could possibly be more crispy if you had a baking stone.

For the tomato sauce, I use tomato paste with a couple of cloves of crushed garlic mixed in. I like making separate pizzas for everyone so we can choose our own toppings. We like things spicy in my house, so you'll notice on my pizza that there's salami and jalapenos (as well as capsicum, onion, mozzarella and tasty cheese). It's by no means authentic wood fired pizza, but it satisfies my pizza cravings and it's so much nicer than delivery pizza from a chain.

From the Little Big Cook Book

Preparing the dough

This recipe will make about 350g of dough. This is enough to make one round or oblong pizza, sufficient for 1 or 2 people.

1 package active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt

Put the yeast in a small bowl. Add half of the warm water and stir with a fork until the yeast has dissolved. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Place the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture, and remaining water. Stir well until the flour has been absorbed.

Shape the dough into a compact ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Press down with your knuckles to spread it a little. Take the far end of the dough, fold it a short distance toward you, then push it away with the heel of your palm. Flexing your wrist, fold it toward you again, give it a quarter turn, then push it away. Repeat until the dough is well kneaded (about 5 minutes).

Place the dough in a large clean bowl and cover with a cloth. Let rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. To test whether it has risen sufficiently, poke your finger gently into the dough; if the impression remains, then it is ready.

Shaping the pizza

Preheat the oven to 230 degree C.

When the rising time has elapsed, knead the dough for 1 minute on a lightly floured work surface. If making more than one pizza, divide the dough into the number of pizzas you wish to make. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and flatten the dough out into a disk. Place on an oiled baking sheet. To finish, use your fingertips to make a rim around the edge of the pizza so that the topping won't drip out during cooking.

When the pizza dough has been shaped and is in the pizza pan or on the baking sheet, set it aside for 10 minutes before adding the topping. This will give the dough time to regain some volume and will make the crust lighter and more appetizing.

Place your desired toppings on the pizza and bake for about 12 minutes.

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