Apr 11, 2011

Pizza - Baking for A Sweet Punch

Pizza should get its own country and rule it. Such is the worldwide appeal for this one humble pie which originated in Italy. While the pizzas in Italy are thin and flavorful, pizza takes its own size and shape and characteristic in every other country where it is served on the dining table. Either made at home or delivered within 30 mins. 

At least in the US now, there's deep dish, pan pizza, stuffed crust, thin base and also dessert pizza. And I do know someone who loves his cheese so much, he would order a cheese stuffed crust pizza with extra cheese! And about those Chicago style deep dish, take one bite into them and you can feel the gates of heaven open. New Yorkers disagree and they think their thin, wide and roll up easy pizzas are worthy enough to be hoisted from the top of Empire state as a national flag. The fight can go on, and I can watch as long as I have a piece in my hand to bite into and eat it down with a sip of diet soda. I only require a little in life to be content.



Making pizza from scratch seems intimidating but I can assure you that its pretty easy to make at home once you get the hang of it. I still can't toss and turn it around in mid air like the pros - but hey, my pie still turns out tasty enough to gorge and without all that excess oil.

This recipe provided by the Sweet Punch team is a classic from Pioneer Woman.  Here are the basic ingredients required for the pizza base. You can customize the toppings as per your taste - there is just not enough things that you can top a pizza with.


Ingredients

FOR THE CRUST (MAKES TWO CRUSTS):

1 teaspoon Active Dry Or Instant Yeast
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
⅓ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Start with adding the yeast to warm water - this is perhaps the most crucial step that determines how airy your pizza will turn out. Make sure the water is warm and not hot and not even lukewarm. When you add the yeast and let it sit for a little bit, you'll be able to see frothy yeast forming at the top - that's a sign that you picked the correct temperature. I added one small pack of the rapid rise yeast. 



Take 4 cups of all purpose flour in a mixing bowl. Add salt to it and using a paddle, just mix it up a little. Then with the paddle attachment on, start adding the olive oil a little at a time to incorporate it with the flour.


Once all the oil is added, start adding the yeast mix little at at time and you'll start to see the dough coming together.


Give it a good whirr until all the flour is mixed well.


Using oiled hands, just remove any excess dough from the paddle and form a ball of dough and smoothen out the ball.


Move the ball of dough to a well oiled mixing bowl. Cover with foil and let it sit for a couple of hrs. Now, Pioneer Woman suggests that you can make this dough the previous day or even a couple of days earlier and she asks you to put the dough in the refrigerator. However, I made it the same day and in order for the dough to rise, I actually placed the mixing bowl inside the oven and switched on the oven lights for a constant warmth. I let the dough sit for about 2 hrs first, then took it out, punched out all the air, and let it sit again for 2 hrs.


This is how much the dough had risen in just about 2 hrs. Punch down the air and make a ball again, cover again and let it sit for about an hour or two before you start making the pizza.


So, here's the dough risen again after the 4th hour.


Just to show you how airy and light the dough feels.


You can roll out the dough and then toss it around a little bit. This is the first pizza I made and instead of using a pizza pan, I used a cast iron skillet to prepare the pizza in. Before placing the dough in the skillet, spread about 2 tsps of oil on the skillet - this will help to make the base crispy and tasty.

Place the rolled pizza base and pull up the dough along the edges.

Preheat the oven at 375F and place the plain dough inside the oven to prebake it a little bit. This step is important and this will ensure that the base is not too soggy with the pizza sauce.


As you can see here, the base is not pre baked for about 5-7 mins and you can see that its risen up a little already. Now, this pizza is ready to be topped with everything your heart desires.


Add a couple of tbsps of pizza sauce - you can even use a regular marinara sauce or just a tomato sauce cooked with a few Italian spices like oregano, dried basil etc. Spread the sauce around and make sure there are no big pools of sauce anywhere.


Next, add your favorite toppings. We all love broccoli and carrots in our pizza (thanks to Pat&Oscars). I also added some red onions and mushrooms. Top off the veggies with lots of mozzarella cheese and also some Parmesan cheese for a real flavor kick in. Bake the pizza in the oven for about 10-12 mins or until all the cheese melts and starts to turn golden. Or until however long your family can wait without starting tantrums.


My other pizza was a simple super thin pizza. The edges are still thick but the center on this one is super thin. I love this kind of thin pizzas and to me, this is a lot more satisfying. My topping here were kept to a minimum - just a few red onions, lots of sun dried tomatoes and a little peppercinis.



But this pizza was topped off with a lot of parmesan and some mozzarella cheese. Let your little one help you dropping all the parmesan on top. Or not.


Bake again for about 10-12 mins or until the cheese melts and turns golden.


Here's my first pizza done and ready to be devoured!


Cut up, serve and start the fight for the biggest slice.


And because she helped me with sprinkling the cheese, she gets her pizza in her own pizza plate!




And this is my favorite thin sun dried tomato pizza. Trust me, all that parmesan tastes absolutely delicious on this baby! Loved Loved it!


Can you see how thin this turned out? Thin enough so you can eat as many slices as you want!


So, don't wait - make that pizza and eat it too. 

Enjoy. Peace Out.

17 comments:

  1. Anu, this looks delicious! I'm craving pizza for lunch now and all I have is rice n dal :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anu the finished one looks super tempting and lovely topping.. u have beautiful little genious to help u.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love your pictures dear, both the versions have come out very very well :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Awesome Pizza.Your Pizza is made to perfection.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yummy n delicious pizza...love homemade always....
    Sanyukta
    http://creativesanyukta.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. wow. its dinner time here and i am craving for pizza now...Awesome Anu...

    ReplyDelete
  7. you are right, i should gone the thin way!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Broccoli and carrots in a Pizza,now that should convert my non-veg pizza loving hubby into eating a veg pizza with gusto!Gonna make it again with your topping..perfect Pizza Anu!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Stunning pictures, loved ur toppings, broccoli and carrots in pizza looks fabulous..

    ReplyDelete
  10. Very helpful instructions and looks just great.Now all I have to do is overcome my yeastophobia and get down to the job.
    Rajani.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow it looks sooo tempting .. feel like having it right now :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lovely pizza dear...gorgeous clicks...Love 'em all...:)

    Dr.Sameena@

    http://www.myeasytocookrecipes.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  13. St;Louis also boasts of thin crust pizza and I love it more than the Chicago Style deep dish pizza...A pizza should not simply fill you up...should be light and airy and crusty and yet flavourful...Both your pizza rocks!
    Wont you drop by at Anubhavati too??

    Shobha

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi am following ur blog for a long time.When i last visited ur blog,i read the under renovation post and after that somehow i missed the next post announcing the new URL.So after Feb, i tried to see ur blog using the same mriganayani.com but couldn't find ur blog.today only i Googled and find the new URL.Why dont you do something so that even if people type the old name it will redirect them to ur new URL.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey Sam's mom - I'm sorry about the url mess up while changing - I was hoping the site will redirect - but somehow it just swapped. Glad you found the site and hoping to see you here often! Thanks for following!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Homemade pizza is the best!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by! Let me know what you think.