Making my own pizza with my favorite toppings and sauce was on my mind for a long time now. I decided to take a step forward and make pizza from scratch! I had this book by Nita Mehta and it has great pointers and tips for basics of pizza and pasta!
A perfect recipe for pizza dough is no rocket science. But the following pointers were useful for me.
Pointers for using yeast in pizza dough: (From the book and my experiences)
- Always check the manufacturing date of active dry yeast packet before buying. It should not be older than 6 months. Then the dough swells quickly and makes best of pizza.
- Litmus test for yeast or what if yeast does not swell– If you have kept yeast in warm water more than 15 minutes and it has shown no change (it should bubble and froath), it means your yeast is spoilt. In short throw it away and start with new yeast packet! In this way, you will save your flour before mixing it with yeast and then not swelling and wasting time and loosing patience. This tip was the best one. My first packet of yeast didn’t bubble up. Yes, I started with new packet of yeast!
- How hot should the water be in which the yeast is to be mixed? It should be lukewarm , you should be comfortable when you dip your finger in it. Too hot or too cold water just does not work with yeast! (The temperature of milk , when setting for yogurt is perfect temperature for water for yeast)
- Use fresh and best quality ingredients. Though you can freeze the dough and prepare pizza the next day, the author says to use up the dough the very same day for best pizza. Use a good pizza cheese.
- The swelling up of dough after mixing the flour with yeast is called proving of the dough! The author says to allow the dough to prove for not more than 30 minutes! Over proving is not good for the dough. If you are not able to use the dough at that time, Put the dough in refrigerator right away! Well, my dough was double of its size in 45 minutes! Then I used it up.
- Use the flour and yeast at room temperature. If you are using the dough kept in refrigerator then allow the dough to come to room temperature and then knead it and start rolling it out!
Adapted from Learn to cook pizza and pasta (Vegetarian edition) by Nita mehta
Serves two 10 ” thick crust pizza (I made one thick crust pizza and two thin crust pizzas)
For pizza dough
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour (maida)
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup warm water + more to knead the dough
some flour for dusting
For pizza sauce
5 juicy red tomatoes (finely chopped)
1/4 cup tomato ketchup or 1/2 cup tinned tomato puree
1 tbsp dried oregano
4-6 crushed garlic
freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
For making pizza
21/2 cups pizza cheese (grated)
few drops of olive oil for greasing the tray
Toppings (You can really use your own or favorite toppings)
1 big onion (cut semicircular rings)
1 yellow pepper (cut in semicircular rings)
1 green pepper (cut in semicircular rings)
1 tomato (sliced)
some sweet corn kernels
1 tbsp olive oil
For preparing pizza dough
- Take 1/2 cup of warm water in a bowl. The water should be enough hot for your finger to be comfortable when you dip in. Add yeast, sugar, salt in warm water and stir it gently. Cover it and keep undisturbed for 10-15 minutes , till it becomes frothy . You should be able to see tiny bubbles there.
- Sift the flour and make the well at the centre and pour yeast mixture in it and mix it.
- Knead to form a smooth dough with enough warm water. Grease the bowl and hands and knead the dough for 10 minutes.
- Put the dough in the greased bowl and cover the dough properly and keep it in warm place for 30 minutes. (Indian summer takes only 30-45 minutes for prooving dough, it will take longer to prove in cool temperatures). Meanwhile, Make your pizza sauce and toppings.
- After 30 minutes, check the dough if it has become double of its original size. If it isn’t doubled up, wait for 15 more minutes.
- Now , the dough is proved and is all set to roll out for pizza. Knead the dough to remove the air from it.
- Preheat the oven to 230 deg c or to highest temperature.
- Make three equal portions with knife. take one portion of dough and let the other two remain covered nicely to prevent from drying.
- Roll out the dough with rolling pin with the help of flour for dusting. Roll out very thin for thin crust pizza. (A thin crust pizza will need less time for baking)
- Grease the tray with oil. Put the rolled out dough on the tray. Prick the dough lightly with fork.
- Spoon a layer of pizza sauce and then spread a thin layer of grated cheese . Spread your topping. Don’t overload it with toppings in the name of making it healthy! Put some cheese at the top and drizzle with olive oil. Put the tray in preheated oven at 230 deg c for 10-12 minutes or untill sides and bottom are crisp and brown. I baked it for 8 minutes at 230 deg c and then grilled it for 3 minutes. It gives a nice brown grilled effect. A thin crust pizza needs around 8 minutes of baking and 2 minutes of grilling.
- Allow the pizza to rest for 2-3 minutes outside oven and cut it slices and serve hot with some freshly crushed pepper!
For tomato sauce for pizza
- In a sauce pan, heat oil and put crushed garlic and stir it. Now add all other ingredients for pizza sauce. Bring it boil. Lower the heat and simmer for next 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- The sauce should be reduced and thick enough to spread without being runny.
- Use as required else refrigerate it.
Other articles referred: