Yay!! My 50th post! Who would have thunk?
What better post as my 50th, than that all time favourite, pizza? Everyone has thier favourite pizza recipe, and this is my version of the Italian classic. Friday night tends to be pizza night for us, depending on if I am working from home or not. If I am, then I make the dough at about three in the evening, letting it rise and then making the pizza at about five, so that we can all sit at the table, the grown-ups [well, sorta grown-up :-)] with a glass of wine and the little one scoffing it greedily. And why not, its three of her favourite things, crisp bread, cheese and tomato, all together.
I like to hand stretch my pizza dough, but a rolling pin does the job fine too. The lovely thing about a pizza is that once you've got the basics, you can go all out and be as creative with the toppings as you wish, really! We've never had the same topping twice. Plus, by making your own crust you control the amount of oil and salt that goes into it, making the healthier for kids, in particular.
Basic Pizza Dough
400g plus a little more strong white bread flour (plain and 00 is fine too)
15g dried yeast, reactivated in 150 ml warm water and pinch sugar mixture
1/2 tsp salt
1 or 2 tbsps olive oil
About 100 ml warm water
Put the flour and salt into a bowl, drizzle the oil on top. Then put in the yeast mixture, drawing together the mixture into a soft flexible dough. Use some of the 100 ml water if you need to. Knead into a pliable dough for about 4 - 5 minutes. I use dough hooks to mix up the flour/ yeast mixture, and then knead by hand.
Roll the dough into a ball, and put into an oiled bowl, keeping it covered in a warm place for about an hour or so until the dough doubles in size.
Punch down the dough, and knead again for a few more minutes. Then using the heel of your hand, stretch the dough into a rounnd pizza crust. You can make it as thick or thin as you prefer. I like it relatively thin and crispy, but you can leave it thicker for a deeper crust.
Put the pizza on a pizza tray or a baking sheet, and top with homemade tomato sauce. Then pop on your preferred toppings (I used mushroom, green peppers, ham and onions) and top with grated mozzarella and cheddar.
Bake in a preheated oven at 225C until the crust is crisp and cooked and the cheese melted.
This is my lazy version that I use tinned tomatoes for. You can replace them with fresh plum tomatoes for a better taste sensation.
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of finely chopped garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 onion finely diced
In a pan, saute the onion in the olive oil till transparent and soft. Add the garlic and stir for a minute. Throw in the tomatoes and the oregano, stir and simmer for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce cool, and use to top the pizza or as a base for pasta sauces.