Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pizza Pastry

OK, so you can buy pre made pizza pastry, but the satisfaction of making your own is yummy!!
If anyone has some interesting topping ideas let me know!

1 tablespoon active dry yeast, or 1 oz (25 grams) brewer’s yeast
1 1/2 cups  warm water
3 1/2 cups  flour
1 tbs olive oil
a pinch of salt
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast on the warm water, and stir to dissolve it. Set aside until the yeast starts forming bubbles, about 5 minutes. 
Sift the flour. Pour the flour into a large bowl or on a work surface, the shape of a 'hill' with a center in the middle. Pour the yeast mix, olive oil, and a pinch of salt into the center.
Using a spatula draw the ingredients together. Then mix with your hands to form a dough. Sprinkle some flour on the work surface. Place the dough on the floured surface. Knead the dough  with your hands pushing and folding. Knead just long enough for the dough to take in a little more flour, and until it no longer sticks to your hands.
Usin your hand, spread a little olive oil inside a bowl and then transfer the dough into the bowl. On the top of the dough, make two incisions that cross, and spread with a very small amount of olive oil. This last step will prevent the surface of the dough from breaking too much while rising.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen cloth, and set the bowl aside for approximately 1½ – 2 hours until the dough doubles in volume. The time required for rising will depend on the strength of the yeast and the temperature of the room. When the dough is double its original size, punch it down to eliminate the air bubbles.
On a lightly floured work surface, cut the dough into three equal pieces. On the work surface, using a rolling pin and your hands, shape one piece of dough into a thin round layer. Make a pizza about 12 inches in diameter.
Home made pizza can be cooked in different ways:
Regular metal pizza pan (needs to be oiled before receiving the pizza)
Non-stick pizza pan
Perforated pizza pan (cooks very uniformly on the bottom)
Pizza stone. Place the stone in the oven about 10 minutes in advance to bring it to the right temperature. Excellent for uniform cooking. The pizza bottom needs to be kept floury to prevent it from sticking to the stone
Make a pizza about 12 inches in diameter and transfer it to the pan. Using your fingertips, push from the center to the sides to cover the entire surface of the pan with a thin layer of pasta. Repeat this step with the other 2 dough pieces to obtain 3 pizzas.
At this point the pizza is ready to receive its topping . Cook the pizza in a regular oven at 500 F (260 C) for about 20-25 minutes.
The cheese for a home made pizza, if present in the recipe, should be added 5-10 minutes before removing it from the oven.
To check if ready, lift one side of the pizza. The pizza is ready when the bottom surface is  light brown.

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All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.