Friday, 24 January 2014

Pizza Dough Recipe

It is a weakness of mine, I try to resist but alas it calls to me....Pizza time! I have two real favourites when it comes to pizza, order out or make my own. The frozen variety never really appealed to me, they have always seemed more cardboard than pizza! 
Now I am fully aware that buying frozen pizza has it's appeal and they have really improved in the recent years but really, there is nothing like homemade. It is what pizza is meant to be! I admit that there is some effort involved and perhaps it seems a bit daunting but really with the right equipment and some time this could be a recipe you call your own.

Perhaps your stand mixer is languishing in the corner of your cupboard feeling unloved and redundant, why not rescue it from obscurity and give it a real purpose in night!

Recipe note: it is not necessary to use a stand mixer in the making of this recipe, it can be made easily by hand but it just makes the whole "kneading" process much easier. If the idea of working off your dinner before you eat it appeals then I strongly recommend you knead by hand and really enjoy the fruits of your labour!

Makes 12 inch (30cm) pizza

1-2 tbsp Semolina
75ml Boiling water
75ml Cold water
½ tsp Dry yeast
1tbsp Sugar
200g Strong white flour
50g Strong wholemeal flour
You can omit the wholemeal flour and use 250g strong white flour instead
1 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Olive oil

1-2 tbsp Pasatta
Toppings of choice

An entirely homemade pizza is lovely treat for the weekend perfect served with Garlic Bread.

Remove the roasting tray from your oven and turn it upside down. Sprinkle the semolina onto the tray and spread it right to the edges, set aside.

In a small jug mix together the boiling water and the cold water, sugar and sprinkle the half teaspoon of dried yeast into the now tepid water and leave to dissolve for 5 minutes. The yeast will float at first but eventually it will begin to foam, once this happens it can be added to the flour.

Meanwhile add the two flours and the salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on medium to low for 1 minute, add the olive oil and the foaming yeast mixture.

Mix on a low speed until the dough beings to pull away from the sides of the mixer bowl,  increase the speed to medium and "knead" for 8-10 minutes.  Remove the dough if it wraps itself completely around the hook, the kneaded dough should be smooth and elastic.

Place the dough into a small greased glass bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise until it double in size (about 40-60 minutes) away from cool windows and draughts.

As you can clearly see the dough has increased in size, sometimes it can be difficult to know exactly when a yeast dough is ready, this one is ready now! Preheat the oven to 230ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 8.

Tip the dough onto an unfloured surface, knead it lightly, stretch it into a large round using your knuckles (this prevents you from poking your finger through the dough) or roll with a rolling pin.

Place the dough onto the prepared inverted roasting tray, the semolina will prevent the base from sticking to the tray.

Add a couple of tablespoons of pasatta to the base and add the toppings.

I love diced cooked ham, drained pineapple pieces and mozzarella.

If like me you love using fresh mozzarella but find that you have a soggy pizza as a result then this article will help, how do you prevent fresh mozzarella from being watery?.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until the pizza is golden and bubbling.

Feeling very adventurous? You could stuff the crust with mozzarella cheese or frankfurters before baking just like the commercial pizza chains do...yum!

Squash, Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Pizza 

I like to use butternut squash or pumpkin when it is in season. Place peeled and diced squash onto a roasting tray along with chunky pieces of onion, season and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in a moderately hot oven until the squash is tender and slightly charred.

Prepare the dough base (I used only the strong white flour for the dough this time), allow to rise.

Once risen spread with pasatta and top with the pumpkin, onion, wilted spinach, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella. Bake at 230ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 8 until golden and bubbling about 12-15 minutes

A vegetarian alternative with a twist! 

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