With ‘Doc’ Drfugawe’s help, who set me waltzing down the pizza path with a recipe for the dough, I ventured into a new experience. Making my first pizza from scratch. Yippee-ki-yeah! Or as the Danes might say in similar circumstance: Meget vidunderlige!
On this occasion, I didn’t fiddle with Doc’s basic recipe, but in future I will. I’m a fiddler; can’t help myself. But this basic recipe was made to be fiddled. I’ll be able to work out the Baker’s Percentages, allowing me to play a bit with the ingredients whilst keeping the hydration rate the same. Listen to me, would you? I sound like I know what I’m doing. Pfffft! Trust me; I don’t. Which leads me to why I’ve written about this. If I can make pizza from scratch, any monkey can. But I hear you: “Why should I?” you ask. Because you choose healthy toppings, make it low-fat if you want, make it 100% veggie if that’s your wish, make it lean and mean or fat and oozy. Your choice – your pizza. Make the dough the evening before and pop it in the fridge for the next day, assuming that time isn’t one of your luxuries. I cut off a chunk of the dough last night, popped it into an oil bowl and stuck it in the fridge … just to make sure that the dough would be okay the following day. It is. No problems. It’s lovely, and has only risen very slightly overnight.
My first attempt stretching and shaping this pizza base certainly didn’t produce a uniform round disk. I can’t even say that practise will improve its shape in the fumbling care of my inexperienced fingers. But who cares — it was delicious. My husband said, “It’s every bit as good as what you buy in the pizzeria or a take-away/home delivery shop. It’s really good.” I watched as he gave it another two grinds of pepper. Note: spice it up more next time. And, yes, there will be a next time.
Now I tell you true, nothing pleases me more than to hear appreciative comments — when my husband tastes something that I cook and he really likes it. Cooking is an act of love, an act of creativity, it is life-sustaining … and for that person to appreciate it is enough to make me smile for days and days and day. So, Doc, thank you very much for posting your recipe for me.
Here’s the pizza base dough recipe. On this occasion, the basic sauce was homemade from sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, chilli peppers, fresh oregano and basil. I topped that with Italian full-fat buffalo mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, sliced shallots, mushrooms, black olives, and thin slices of chorizo. Just before serving, I drizzled a small amount of olive oil across the top.
I don’t have a pizza pan. I used a baking sheet. Now I’m wondering if I should buy a proper pizza pan. Do you use a pizza pan or a standard flat baking sheet?
Wonderfully Wonky Pizza
264 grams (2 cups) white bread flour
158 grams (about 3/4 cup) tepid water
1 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp salt
Olive oil for the bowl when dough rises
Pour 100g water into small bowl, and sprinkle yeast over to activate. Stir well and dissolve, then leave for 10-minutes until foamy.
Mix the flour and salt together, and then add the water with the activated yeast, including the remaining 58g water. Mix well by hand, adding more drops of water if needed for correct texture and consistency. Allow the dough to sit for 20 minutes so it relaxes. Lightly flour work surface and hands, and knead it for a 10-minutes, until the dough is smooth and pliable. Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap, and allow proof until it’s doubled in size (1-2 hours). When the dough has doubled, remove the cling film and punch the dough down. Remove from the bowl and knead again a few times until smooth. Let the dough rest before shaping. The dough is ready to shape for your pizza however it can be put in the fridge until you’re ready.
Preheat the oven to the highest temperature possible for at least 30-minutes prior to putting the pizza in to bake.
To shape, place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and lightly flour the top. Flatten the dough with your fingers, and then slap it several times lightly on the work surface to start elongated the dough. Repeat a couple of times. Now drape the dough over your clenched fist and stretch it gently from the outside rim but don’t allow the dough to tear.
Set the dough on a floured baking sheet (or pizza tin), top with your choice of toppings and bake in a very hot oven until the topping is melted and the edges are crispy. In my oven that was maximum heat for about 15-minutes.