Wednesday, June 28, 2006
The ability to make your own pizza, from scratch, is the culinary equivalent of getting your driver's license. It opens up a whole new world, hitherto unexplored, and endless possibilities. And instead of confining yourself to the familiar, you can now experiment and create....
Of course, as with everything, the most important thing is foundation, or in this case, the base. I personally don't know how or why anyone likes those bready pan pizza bases, where you get full on flour. I love thin crusted pizza, where the carbohydrate acts as a subtle complement to the variety of fillings that lie above it....not encompassing your entire stomach space the minute you take a bite.
After a few years of dabbling with the base, I find the easiest one to be from the women's weekly book, which more or less works this way:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons dry yeast (took me long time to find out 7gms is 2 teaspoons)
3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
two tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt (optional)
Mix the sugar, yeast and warm water. Stir until dissolved.
Drizzle the olive oil onto the flour. With the salt. Pour in the yeast solution. (nope, no need to wait for it to froth).
Bring together until it forms a nice kneadable dough. Add some flour if too wet.
Now, for some reason, it makes little difference to a thin crust pizza, if you let it prove (rise) or not. You can use this dough instantly, and to me, it tastes and feels the same. If you let it rise, just whack it back into shape.
This quantity is enough for 2 pizza bases.
Really, this is where you are the captain of your ship, master of your fate, holder of your destiny, charter of your stars.
You can put virtually anything you want on your own pizzas. I love a pesto base, (as opposed to the tomato based ones). Spread the pesto base (about 2 heaped tablespoons) over the base. Sprinkle about 250gm of mozarella cheese or a composite of mozarella and grated cheddar. Plonk on your toppings. I love bacon and scallops, with mushrooms, peppers and some chopped coriander. Can't get bacon pizzas in this country very readily. And of course, no restaurant will give you the amount of scallops I've chucked onto mine.
Sprinkle some parmesan over it if you want....bake at 180-200C for about 20 minutes. And tuck into mouth watering goodness that's not from a hut.
PS- Just a tip, when using fresh seafood, like scallops and prawns I find they emit too much liquid if plonked on raw. So, best to precook it a bit, to drain the liquids, and place it onto the pizzas midway baking.