At home takeaway

I have a thing about takeaway food. If you can make it better at home, don’t bother buying it. It will never stack up. That’s why I tend to go for takeaway types that I don’t usually make myself. Then I can enjoy the meal.

Pizza is something I very rarely buy – it’s so jolly easy to make and there are almost always topping ingredients at hand. I try to keep some mozzarella (which is very long-lasting unopened) in the fridge or freezer.

For me, the secret of good pizza is a super thin crust and a limited number of great ingredient toppings. The best pizza I ever ate was in a small Italian town and consisted of cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil. None of this 28 (highly processed) meats super supreme rubbish.

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I also think a really hot oven and pizza stone helps. Although, you can forgo the flash stones and pick up a porcelain tile from your local hardware store. It’ll set you back $3-4 per tile and last for ages.

There’s nothing special about this recipe. It’s not much different to the other bread recipes on my blog. After all, basic dough is basic dough. Just roll it thinly and you’ll be right.

What you’ll need

300ml (ish) tepid water

1 Tbsp sugar

1Tbsp active dry yeast

500g pizza flour (eg. high grade or tipo 00)

2 tsp salt

To make it20131230_072526

Dissolve the sugar and yeast in 150ml water. Set aside for at least 5-10 minutes until yeast begins to activate. You’ll smell it and it will be quite bubbly looking.

Mix flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Make a ‘well’ in the centre.

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Pour the yeast mixture into the well and add another 150ish ml of warm water. Work in flour with your hands until a ball of dough forms. You can start off with a large spoon if you don’t like the sticky hand thing.IMG_4734

Knead the dough on a floured surface for about five-seven minutes until smooth. (You can take the hard work out by using your mixer. I have to admit that now I have Kenny in my life, he is often found whipping up pizza bases while I’m doing something else.)

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Put the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm area. Or it can be put in the fridge at this stage if using many hours later (yeast will develop more slowly in fridge). I sometimes will make the evening before I need it and pop it into the fridge till the next night. Just make sure you take it out long enough for it to come back to room temperature.

Stand for about 40 minutes (or longer) until the dough ball doubles in size.

To make pizzas

Turn oven to 220-230C (or 210C fanbake). Enusre it is hot before you are ready to put the pizza in. You can put your stones/tiles in the oven while it is heating. They will not break.

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‘Knock’ the air out by ‘punching’ into the dough.

Remove dough from bowl and divide into equal size balls: 3-4 for large pizzas and 5-6 for medium size.IMG_6898

Lightly flour a solid surface. Roll the dough to desired size (no bigger than your stone or tile). Some of my students have rolled their pizza on baking paper as it makes it easy to put the paper and pizza straight on to the stone/tile. This works well, just make sure the oven isn’t super super hot or the paper will burn.

Add your favourite topping (see below for some of mine). Transfer the pizza to the stone or tile with a paddle or similar (or you can do the above baking paper thing).

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Cook in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes depending on thickness of base and topping (ie. pizza bread will take less time to cook than pizza with toppings).

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Remove from the oven and cut with a pizza cutter. Devour.

There it is. Easy and better than the shop one. Every time.

Some of my favourite toppings

Pizza Bread

Olive oil and fresh rosemary

Add sea salt when pizza comes out of oven

Artichoke and Blue Cheese

Onion marmalade (I used Barkers)

Mix of blue cheese and mozzarella

Topped with chopped artichokes

Topped with more of the cheese mix

(You can pop fresh rocket on top of the pizza when it comes out of the oven, but not essential.)

Napoli

Tomato base

Mozzarella

Olives, Anchovies, Capers

Top with Mozzarella

(This pizza traditionally has salami on it, but I don’t eat salami so don’t add it.)

To make the tomato base, sweat onion and garlic in fry pan with a little oil (for about 10 minutes, add garlic towards the end). Add a tin of crushed tomatoes in juice and a tablespoon of tomato paste. Bring to boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. This will make enough to cover at least two pizzas. Freezes well.

Basil and Tomato

Tomato base

Mozzarella

Add torn fresh basil leaves when pizza comes out of the oven.

(This pizza is also delicious with cherry tomatoes.)

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