Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pizza - from first principles

Last year, for my birthday, The Doc gave me a pizza stone, a circular piece of porous fireclay stone which gives a lovely crisp pizza base.


When making dough I find that it is sooo much easier to handle if it is made the night before, simply pop all the ingrediants below in a bowl, mix well and then knead for approx ten minutes (I have a Kenwood chef, so I use the dough hook attachment and knead for 2-3 minutes). Leave in a warm place until it doubles in size (hot press is perfect), knead again and allow to rise for at least 20 minutes. I made my dough Friday evening, kneaded it Saturday morning and it was a dream to roll out on that evening.

Please excuse the cup measurements - I keep meaning to translate this to metric.
1 sachet (7g) dried yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water
31/2 - 4 cups cream flour

Tomato Sauce

I usually make a big batch of this and freeze '1 pizza' portions, the quantities here are enough for pizza for four (as is the amount of dough above).

1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tins tomatoes - blended (or passata)
some chopped semi sun-dried tomatoes, I used 2 tbsp Crespi sundried tomato and olive paste
  • sweat the onion and garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil for 10 mins
  • add the tomatoes and cook over a low heat until it has halved in volume

I not going to prescribe toppings as pizza is a very personal thing. We had pepperoni, peppers and goat's cheese. I find that the 20 mins it takes to cook the pizza is not long enough for the peppers. I always grill them on my George Foreman first, making them nice and sweet, and I tend not to remove the skin.

Pizza stones don't like extremely rapid changes in temperature (they can crack) so place in the oven before you turn it on and leave to cool at room temp. As they are porous they will take up any flavour they are immersed in, when finished simply scrape off any crumbs with a knife, everything else simply imparts flavour to the stone.

Tip: We've also discovered that a pizza stone is great for making home-made 'sun-dried' tomatoes. Simply set your oven to the lowest setting possible, spread the stone with halved tomatoes, season and leave for 2-3 hours.

1 comment:

lorraine@italianfoodies said...

welcome to the blog world!! I just found you though Kieren's site, looks great!!!:) Thanks for the link btw!!!