Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pizza



Ingredients : to make 1 Large deep dish pizza crust
  1. Bread flour - 2 cups
  2. Very Warm water - 1 cup( remove 3 tbsp 1 cup minus 3 tbsp)
  3. Sugar - 2 tsp
  4. Yeast - 1.5 tsp
  5. Salt - 1/2 tsp (to taste)
  6. Oil - 4 tbsp

Method :
Take 1 cup of really warm water(It should not be too hot or the yeast will die) and add 2 tsp of sugar and mix well.
Into this water add the 1.5 tsp of yeast and stir well and keep aside for a minute.
In a big bowl add the bread flour and salt and oil and stir with the handle of a spoon.
Pour in the yeast mixture and mix with the spoon until it comes together into a sticky dough.
Flour your counter top and mix this dough for a minute until it is soft and comes together into a ball.

Oil a big container and place the dough into it. Cove with a towel or plastic wrap and leave it for few hours to raise.
During hot weather the dough will triple in size within an hour.

Once it raises punch it down and knead for a minute and again cover and leave to raise for another hour.



Rolling the crust:
After the dough raises for the second time you can roll out out .
You don't have to use the rolling pin - you can use your palm to flatten it out and spread it on to the pizza pan.
The sides should be slightly thicker than the center.
Once you spread the dough out - press on it with your fingertips to make small hollow marks to hold the sauce.
Keep this aside and then prepare the toppings.


Toppings :
You could use onions,tomatoes,pineapple, bell peppers, jalapenos,Mushroom,spinach etc
for non veg use - pepperoni slices, ham, bacon, chicken(precook), sausage (precook)etc

Something to keep in mind is that if you plan to use toppings that have a lot of water content - precook them before you add them to the pizza otherwise all the water from the topping will make the crust soggy. For example if you plan to use mushroom or pineapple saute it on high heat until most of the water is gone and then use it .

Warming the Oven:
Heat the over to a very high temperature - 450 - 500 degrees .Cook the pizza closer to the bottom rack.

Assembling the pizza :
You should top the pizza only right before you plan to bake it .It helps to keep the crust crisp.
Spread a thing layer of pizza sauce on the pizza leaving the edges.



Then add the grated cheese on top of the sauce .
Add toppings on top of the cheese .

I have noticed that if you add the toppings and then cover it with cheese the toppings cook in steam and makes the crust soggy , moreover leaving the toppings above the cheese protects the cheese from burning and also caramelizes the toppings .

Reduce the over temperature to 425 degrees and bake the pizza for 13 - 15 minutes until the crust is cooked and the cheese is melted.

You could just do cheese and bake the pizza without any other toppings . Use a mix of mozzarella and cheddar cheese for more flavour . You even get a pizza cheese mix these days .Low moisture cheese is best .

Or you could do half and half - top one half with a topping of your choice and leave the other half as plain cheese . At my place kids like cheese pizza and the rest of us like topped pizza - so I usually top half and leave the other half plain .


NOTE : If you are in a hurry and don't have a lot of time you could do the whole thing in 1.5 hours including the time taken to let the dough raise.
After mixing the dough - preheat the oven until it is warm , let the dough raise in it covered .This way the dough will raise in 1 hour .
You can use this dough and make the pizza .

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