Hi! Are you a pizza lover? 🙂 And have you ever thought of making your own from scratch? I mean, without relying on ready made pizza dough and pizza sauce of course! I do have vague memory of an attempt at making pizza years ago, but I don’t remember how it turned out or if it was even edible. 🙂 It must not have been that much of a success I guess. However hard work it seems, this was something I had to try.
I started with something pretty basic and I think my attempts have been quite good and satisfying till now. I can say I’ve got this recipe under control and I feel safe enough to venture into the world of innumerable pizza recipes. 🙂 Till now I’ve been using whatever I had on hand for topping my pizzas, but for next time I’m thinking about something fancier like Tandoori pizza or maybe Potato pizza. Yes, you read it right!! Never heard of Potato pizza? 🙂 I know it sounds weird, atleast it did to me when it was first suggested by my bf, who is a great pizza lover. But then I came across few Potato pizza recipes with rave reviews which convinced me to try it someday.
We better get back to our pizza dough for now! As you must know, the dough must be left to rest and rise for at least 1 hour; of course, not before it is subjected to some serious kneading. 🙂 Surely you don’t necessarily have to wait till it’s doubled in size, but giving the dough time is also about allowing the yeast to bring out more flavors.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 10 g dry-active yeast or instant yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup water (room temperature) for mixing dough
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- First of all, check which type of yeast you are using. I’m still an amateur concerning yeast but as far as I know dry active yeast should be dissolved in water before adding it to the flour while instant yeast can be mixed directly with the flour.
- Add your dry active yeast and sugar to ½ cup lukewarm water and stir gently. Let it sit for about 15 minutes until foamy. Make sure you use LUKEWARM water and not hot water as it’ll simply kill the yeast!! If you are in doubt then I guess using room temperature water can do no harm. For instant yeast, simply mix it with your flour and use 1 cup room temperature water for mixing.
- Mix the flour, salt and oil in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and remaining water. Stir to incorporate and form a soft dough. Scoop the dough onto a table or countertop for kneading.
- Knead until smooth and elastic; adding some flour if the dough is too sticky. This will take about 5 – 8 minutes, depending on the speed and force applied during kneading process.
- Oil the bowl used for mixing with a little olive oil and return dough back to it. Cover with a wet towel and keep in a warm place. Allow to proof at room temperature for 1 – 2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Your dough might not even take that long to rise if it’s very warm where you live. 🙂 Once doubled in size, dump the dough back on your kitchen counter and punch the air out with your palm.
- Divide into two pieces, round and flour. Put back into bowl and cover for another 30 minutes. Let it rest until the dough is 1 ½ times in size. You might wanna watch the video from Susan’s Cooking School, which I found very helpful. 🙂
- If you don’t want to use all of the dough that day, simply refrigerate it after the first cycle of proofing. When ready to use, remove from the fridge about 2 hours beforehand and allow it to come to room temperature before proceeding.
Hmmm… If you’re getting worried about all that waiting time (around 1 ½ hour at least!), surely you won’t be doing that much of waiting or resting like your pizza dough. 🙂 You’ll be using that time to prepare the pizza sauce, toppings and don’t forget to get your oven hot! (around 200 degrees C) Speaking of pizza sauce, let’s get to the recipe before I tell you about the final shaping, topping and baking of your pizza. 🙂
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup tomato puree (4 – 6 tbs)
- 5 – 6 fresh tomatoes
- 1 – 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 big or 2 small onions
- 1- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 tbs mint leaves
- 1 – 1 1/2 dried basil leaves (optional)
- 1 – 2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
- First cut your fresh tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Add them to your blender along with some water (about ¼ cup) and blend to form a paste. A few chunks will be ok. 🙂
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add your finely chopped onions and minced garlic. If you don’t like garlic much then use only 1 clove or else add both. 🙂 Cool these on medium heat till softened and lightly browned.
- Add the blended tomatoes and tomato puree to your saucepan. You may add about ¼ cup water more if you feel the need.
- Add the remaining ingredients, stir and let your sauce simmer for around 10 – 15 minutes till it is thickened.
- Let me tell you a secret to a perfect pizza sauce. 🙂 While your sauce is simmering, nothing stops you from tasting it. All you have to do then is add in some more of the ingredients if you feel some flavor is lacking. Like for me, I always end up adding some more red chili flakes since I love my food hot and spicy!
I know my pizza is square shaped, but who said they always have to be round? 🙂 Now that the sauce and dough is ready lets get our pizza in the oven quickly. I’m already starving after so much of work. 🙂
SHAPING, TOPPING AND BAKING
- First of all, preheat your oven. Usually in a home oven it should be to its top temperature or around 250 degrees C but I feel more comfortable to bake my pizzas at 200 degrees C. However the lower the temperature, the longer you’ll have to bake your pizza and the crust will get drier and chewy.
- Grease your pizza pans or baking sheets lightly with some oil. Take one of the dough pieces, press it down gently with your hand and then stretch out into the desired shape and thickness. Place it on your oiled pizza pan and shape the edge with your fingers. Usually you don’t need a rolling pin to shape the dough. 🙂 Make sure you don’t stretch it bigger than your pizza pans though. And if your find your dough has got quite thin and nearly translucent at some places, don’t get stressed out. You’ll simply get a thin crust pizza but it’ll still hold your toppings after baking.
- Spread half of the pizza sauce on your dough; keeping the rest for the other pizza. Don’t forget that the ingredients are for 2 pizzas. 😉
- Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese before adding your favourite toppings. Finish with a second generous layer of cheese. You may sprinkle some paprika as well on top.
- Place the baking sheet in the 2nd lower oven rack and bake at 200 degrees C for 20 – 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven slice and enjoy your pizza!!
For the topping you can use any ingredients of your choice. I always get worried about not having enough ingredients for topping but finally I end up overloading my pizza. You don’t need too much topping to have a tasty pizza. 🙂
Did I mention that you can make endless different varieties of pizza with so many various topping combinations? Here’s a list of the common ingredients for topping :
- mushrooms, chicken, seafood or meat
- bell peppers, jalapenos, black olives
- thinly sliced onions, green onions
- baby corn or corn kernels
- aubergines, potatoes, zucchini or any veggies you like
- sliced tomatoes
- grated cheese (mozarella or parmesan usually)
- diced pineapple
- various herbs
- etc, etc, etc
To list all the various toppings is nearly impossible! Use your imagination and create your favourite pizza. 🙂 You just need to know that certain toppings like meat, fish and some veggies need to be precooked before adding to your pizza as 20 minutes cooking time in the oven won’t be enough.
Have a look at the pizzas I’ve made till now. They are nothing fancy and pretty simple, but definitely yummy! 🙂
This was my first pizza! 🙂 I used finely chopped onions, peas, corn kernels, grated carrots, sausage and paprika as topping. It does look quite messy and overloaded. 🙂
This one is a veggie one. 🙂 I used the same topping except sausage and added some diced pineapple. I love pineapple on pizza!! Hmmm… And yes, I did use grated cheddar cheese instead of mozarella or parmesan. Cheddar is generally not used since it tends to burn easily at high temperatures in the oven. But luckily mine did survive at 200 degrees C.
I’m craving for pizza simply by looking at these pics! 🙂 Growing up, I did not have so much of pizza; but now, whenever I’m out for lunch, most often I’ll end up eating at Pizza Hut. 🙂 For me that’s a perfect meal. Who can ever get fed up of pizza with endless number of choices you have in front of you?!
This is by far the longest post I’ve written till now, so I’ll leave you to enjoy your pizza. Bon Appetit!!