Easy Peasy Home Made Pizza

I’m going to make you very hungry… This week has been another busy week, and inspired by my recent pasta making course (post to come), I turned my hand to the art of making home made pizza.  Just like the pasta, now that I have made my own from scratch, I feel very reluctant to buy it from the shop since home made is so much better, a little bit of time permitting!

My friend Chris, who once made us a really delicious pizza for the kids’ tea (with ham and grated carrot on top!) kindly gave me her recipe file, which included a recipe for pizza do by Prestige.  Unfortunately, since the file is a sort of scrapbook with recipes collected from magazines or recipe cards over many years, I couldn’t find any other source to credit nor can I find the same recipe online, so I have adapted it before sharing it with you below.  I’m sure that there are many other variations and more authentic recipes, but this one works and the dough should be lovely, light and crispy.
Chris assured me that it wasn’t so hard to make and it’s also a lovely activity for the kids to get involved with, particularly helping to knead the dough and preparing the toppings while the pizza dough is resting.  My little boy enjoys tearing the ham (or even better a Polish garlic sausage called Kielbasa) as well as chopping the mushrooms with a safety knife.  My little girls loves the texture of buffalo mozarella and enjoys pulling it apart and eating it along the way. We also like tuna and mushrooms and now, inspired by Chris, almost always add grated carrot on top for a bit of extra goodness.
I’m not saying it isn’t messy, but since there are plenty of jobs that little ones can help with, which makes it a perfect rainy day activity. Although actually, since we love pizza, really any day will do, even a sunny one!
Making the dough is actually fairly straightforward (see method in the box below). An ‘Italian Mama’ would bring it all together on a wooden table but we made ours in a bowl to contain some of the mess! Using a  mixer with a dough hook attachment would work well too. You probably need to knead the dough for around ten minutes.  
Kneading the dough will warm and strentch the gluten strands, the longer you knead the lighter your dough will be. You can knead by hand or use a dough attachment on a mixer. As you knead the dough, push it with the palm of your hand and then bring it back again and keep repeating.  This bit is quite hard for kids, but my little boy enjoyed having a go towards the end.
It needs a warm place to rest, and in the absence of a huge log fire, I leave mine next to the oven as it is preheating with the door slightly ajar.  An airing cupboard would work very well, but we don’t seem to have one. Once the dough has rested, whack up the heat on the oven and roll out the dough onto a floured surface before getting creative with your favourite toppings! 
This one has tuna fish, mushrooms, grated carrot, mozarella and basil. I always make sure that the tuna and mozarella are very well drained because otherwise you will end up with a soggy pizza.
My little boy enjoyed spreading  the tomato passata on the base and then chose Polish sausage, a bit of basil and a load of cheese all in one big blob - a little adjustment was needed before it went into the oven!
After fifteen minutes, out comes your pizza in true restaurant style!
It makes a really great kids tea, or you could make up a few batches of dough and host a pizza party.  I can promise you empty plates!
Recipe: Easy Peasy Home Made Pizza
(Adapted from a recipe by Prestige)
Preheat your oven to 220 degrees celcius.
Ingredients
(Makes one large or two medium pizzas)
225g plain flour (I used Italian ’00′ Flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon fast action dried yeast
150 ml warm water
2 tablespoons rapeseed or light olive oil
Extra flour for dusting/rolling
Tomato passata for the base and your favourite toppings.
Method
1. Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl and then stir in the fast-action yeast.
2. Add the oil to the warm water. Make a well in the middle and gradually add the warm water and oil, mixing with your hands as you go along.  The mixture will feel quite lumpy, so keep bringing it together with your hands. Eventually, you should have a ball of soft dough, add a little extra sprinkle of flour if it is too sticky.
3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured board or wooden table for around ten minutes.
4. After around ten minutes, place your ball of dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film.  Place it somewhere warm for an hour. This is a good time to prepare your toppings.
5. After an hour, take it out of the bowl and again, on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough again for a further few minutes to deflate it/knock it back.
6. Roll out, spread with tomato sauce and your favourite toppings.
7. Place your pizza in the centre of a hot oven (on a pizza stone or a baking tray) for around fifteen minutes, or until the base is crispy and your cheese has melted. Eat!

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