03 January 2011

Home made pizza

There is nothing like the smell of a pizza cooking in the oven to get those taste buds salivating. Thanks to a very generous Christmas gift given to my beloved, - therefore me ;-) - a pizza stone and a pizza cutter, we decided to bring out the Italian in us and make our own pizzas last night.

First the dough had to be made so I referred to a great little pizza book, Ben Riccio's Pizza from Naples, for his basic pizza dough recipe.

Pizza dough
The following recipe makes enough dough for six 30cm (22 inch) pizzas. I cut this recipe in half, but you can make the pizza base, wrap it in plastic and freeze it for up to two months.

30g yeast
2 teaspoons salt
600ml water
1kg flour (I used a specific pizza and bread making flour as it is stronger. However, normal plain flour will still work)

Place the water in a bowl with the yeast and salt. Mix this thoroughly (use a small whisk or fork to help) to ensure the yeast is fully dissolved.

Place the flour in a bowl, make a hole in the middle and pour in the mixture of water, salt and yeast. Mix all together to form and smooth dough. I have a dough hook on my Kenwood Mixer (which I LOVE), so I just used this to make a smooth dough.

Pizza dough after mixing all
ingredients together

Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for at least one hour or until it is about double the size.

Pizza dough after about one hour of resting

After the dough has risen, cut or break it into pieces to make six dough balls. The balls can be rolled in the palm of your hands or on the kitchen bench with plenty of flour spread over it. Leave the dough balls to rise again for at least one hour. The dough can now be stretched with your hands or, like me, with a rolling pin.

Now the fun part begins...placing whatever toppings you love on to the base. We included garlic, onions, prosciutto, mozzarella, tomatoes, anchovies, fresh basil leaves and olives.

Our scrummy pizza being sliced with
the new, very cool pizza cutter

The pizza was delicious, the stone making the base perfect and crispy after only 15 minutes in the oven at the highest temperature of 250 degrees celsius. 

For our next pizza attempt, however, I do think my beloved and I need to learn how to transfer our pizza from our working surface to the pizza stone; which has to heat up in the oven to work. We had flour everywhere trying to get the pizza base to move, along with all the toppings, from the upside down tray we were working on to the stone. Apparently a 'pizza paddle' could help, but if anyone out there has any other handing hints...I'm all ears.

10 comments:

  1. Fantastic! I've only ever made pizza at home with pre-made (store-bought) bases. The stone must make a wicked difference, handling aside. I still reckon the most fun is in the creative toppings. Thanks for the inspiration...

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  2. You must have had a marvellous meal !!

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  3. I am drooling. This pizza looks wonderful.

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  5. we find if you put the pizza base onto aluminium foil, the add the toppings you can transfer it to the stone easier. or you can just slide the foil straight onto the racks in the oven and get a similar result.
    also try par baking your pizza bases for about 5 mins, then wrap them up and freeze them. you can then pull them out and add your toppings to the frozen base and chuck straight in the oven for a good meal in 10 minutes!

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  6. I often make pizza and have yet to get a pizza stone :( however I have a small bread stone that I use for personal pizzas and in order to transfer my pizza to the stone I use a wooden cutting/bread board brushed with flour or cornmeal and *swish* it makes it quite nicely into my oven!

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  7. Excellent hints, Bree and Jillian. We will certainly be giving these a go next time we are in a pizza mood...which I know will be soon.

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  8. If you make individual size pizzas, they're a lot easier to transfer from countertop to pizza stone. (It also means you can individualize the toppings).

    It sounds like you were also using a baking tray as a make shift pizza peel. If you're going to do that, I'd recommend either using a mixture of half cornmeal and half polenta under the crust to help it slide around, or using parchment paper. Same goes for the pizza peel if you get one.

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  9. This just made me realise I still have your pizza cutter. Sorry guys.

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  10. Haha! You can keep it now, Dupree. We have a better one :-)

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