Pizza 1, Basic Recipe & Different Toppings
Pizza 1 & Different Toppings
Kristine Robertson from Italy
Pizza is really easy to make and very worth while, as long as you have an oven. Each time you cook a pizza, it gets easier to make. Cooking time can vary depending upon your topping, but it usually takes around 10-14 minutes in a very hot oven. When placing toppings, you can really let go your artistic vein. I learned to make it from my mother in-law, who is Italian. Serves 3-4
Notes from Mamta: Christine is a school friend of my daughter Kavita and now lives in Italy.
Instead of making single, round pizzas, you can make a large one in a tray.
You can use Ready-made Bread Mix, for pizza dough. Just follow instructions on the packet. However, making dough is really easy, try a simpler method like this one (overnight); Easy bread or this one; Easy Bread with Onions and Chillies.
Edited October 2013
Ingredients for dough:
500 gm. plain flour. Experiment with different doughs, like replacing 100 gm. of plain flour with corn/maze flour or rye flour.
7 gm. fresh beer yeast. If not available, use 1 sachet of instant yeast. If you can't find instant yeast, dry yeast is fine. Follow instructions on the packet to activate it.
15 gm. or 1 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. honey or sugar
280 ml cold water
Ingredients for basic topping:
Tomato sauce :
400 gm. tin of tomatoes, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. dry or a handful fresh marjoram leaves, 1-2 crushed garlic cloves (optional), salt to taste
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
140 gm./5oz salami/ham/anchovies/other fish of choice, cut or torn into strips
100 gm./3 oz. Mozzarella cheese, chopped or broken up or grated
A few mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 green or red pepper, thinly sliced
1 onions, peeled and cut into rings
Making Dough and Pizza Base:
Mix 250 ml of the cold water, honey and yeast together in a large bowl and stir/whisk until yeast is dissolved. The remaining 30 ml. water can be added later if the dough is too dry.
Sieve the flour into the above mixture slowly and gradually. Mix with a whisk. When the mixture is too difficult to whisk anymore, add salt and continue kneading with hands. Continue kneading until the dough doesn't stick to your hands and you can pull the dough lengthwise without it splitting. If you have a bread maker or a food processor, you can knead the dough in that.
Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes on the work surface, covered with a cling film or a damp cloth.
Meanwhile, prepare the mozzarella cheese, long before needing it, by cutting it in small pieces and allow letting it drain. No liquid should remain.
Divide the dough into balls roughly 140 gm. each. Imagine the balls like a balloon; the tied or rough end must sit on the surface with the smooth side face up.
Cover again with a cling film or towel and leave to rise at room temperature until doubled in size for about 4/5 hours.
When you're ready to make your pizza, sprinkle some flour on your work surface. Take one ball and make the pizza form/shape by spreading the dough with your fingers from the centre out, going in a rolling/stretching/pulling fashion, never squashing the edge. Professional pizza makers do not roll out the dough. The pizza made this way is a lot lighter than the rolled out one. Never roll the pizza!!!
Dust the baking tray/pizza plate with flour. You can line it with a silicone baking sheet, if you have one.
Transfer the stretched out pizza base on to this tray. Let it rest while rolling out the next one, so it has time to rest and shrink, if it wants to.
When you have rolled out the next one, look at the first one. If its edges have pinged back a bit, gently press them out with your fingers, to fit the tray.
Now put the toppings on and leave it covered, until ready to cook.
Basic Topping: Don't put too much topping on, or your pizza will become soggy.
Spread tomatoes paste/passata on the pizza base.
Put finely chopped fresh mushrooms, green peppers, onions, meat of choice, or your chosen toppings, on top.
Now put the pizza into the pre-heated oven at 180/200ï¿½, let it cook for about 10 minutes.
Take the pizza out of the oven, put slices or chunks of mozzarella cheese on top and put it back in the oven. Cook until the mozzarella cheese has melted and the bread-base of the pizza is a light brown colour. To check if the pizza is cooked, lift the edge to see if the bottom is golden brown.
Serve fresh and hot.
Our family favourite toppings are;
Mozzarella, very thinly sliced courgettes and anchovies. Mozzarella, caramelised onions, bits of sausage.
Mozzarella, tomato sauce/passata( tomatoes pureed and seeds and skins strained out), with caramelised onions.
Mozzarella, thinly sliced potatoes and rosemary (no tomatoes)
Tomato sauce (passata), mozzarella, sausage and mushroom
Mozzarella, blue cheese, apples or pears (thinly sliced)
Other Pizza Topping:
You can put many different toppings of choice on a pizza. You can have each of the four pizzas with a different topping or even 4 quarters of one pizza with 4 different toppings. Here are some popular ones;
ALLA FIAMMA - tomato, onion, oregano, hot peppers, olives and oil
BALTICA - mozzarella, pepper, salmon and oil
BISMARK - tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto and eggs
BOSCAIOLA - tomato, mozzarella, porcini mushrooms, oil
CAPRICCIOSA - tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, oregano, olives, artichoke hearts and
FINANZIERA - tomato, mozzarella, tuna, rugola, onion and olives
MARGHERITA - tomato, mozzarella, basil and oil
MARINARA - tomato, garlic, oil and oregano
NAPOLETANA - tomato, mozzarella, anchovy, oregano and oil
ORTOLANA - tomato, mozzarella, grilled greens
REGINA - tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto and mushrooms
SARDA - tomato, mozzarella, hot sausage, ricotta and oil. Ricotta cheese is put on top at the end of cooking time, just before being served.
QUATTRO FORMAGGI - mozzarella and 3 other mixed cheeses
QUATTRO STAGIONI - tomatoes, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, prosciutto, mushrooms, olives and oil. This pizza is divided into four parts representing the four seasons mushrooms
Notes from Mamta:
Sometimes pizza dough keeps pinging back when you try to roll it out. Here are a few tips to avoid this problem;
Make sure that the dough is slack. Tighter the dough, more difficult it is to roll and stretch it out.
When the dough is ready/has risen, tip it out onto a flat surface. This flattens it somewhat, but do not knead it at this stage. Cut portions out with a dough cutter, without knocking it back. If you knead at this stage, gluten is activated, making it springy and elastic, too hard to roll out.
I often use a small jar of ready-made Pesto for base.
I usually add marjoram to the dough, gives a more even distribution.
I usually make pizza as a last minute decision. If there is no mozzarella cheese around, I use cheddar or whatever else is in the fridge. Other cheeses also work quite well.