Tuesday, January 13, 2009

my first pizza!

i think it's only natural if you have been baking bread, that you start to explore further and then try baking pizza. likewise if you start off with pizza, one day you might try bread baking.

so i decided to try pizza one day. wanted to have it for lunch. i've been baking bread for almost half a year now so how hard is it to do pizza?

and you almost can't go wrong with this pizza crust recipe from king arthur flour. why, they even guarantee you'll get good results! what can i lose here?

but i modified the recipe a little.

  • 3 cups of white bread flour - preferably unbleached of course
  • slightly more than a cup of water
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
since this is the first time i'm doing pizza, i didn't want to go wholemeal yet. next time, i will go full wholemeal! never tried a wholemeal pizza before...

also, i happend to have some "00" all purpose flour at home. this is the italian grading of flour, with "00" being the finest grain. now to make a pizza with "00" italian flour... i think this is authentic!

like how you'll do bread, you'll mix everything together first, then knead for couple of minutes, then let it rest for about an hour. it should grow quite a lot. wait longer if want to, bread baking is very forgiving.

then this is when you decide how big/thin you want your dough to be. according to the recipe, if you divide into 2, you'll get 2 1/2" thick 14" round pizzas. since i'm a fan of thin pizzas, i divide the dough into 3s.

oil your pizza pan (or baking sheet, or whatever your fancy) with olive oil, then place your dough on it. stretch each dough gently (but do not flatten) until desired shape. let it spring back. wait couple of minutes, stretch it again. after couple of tries, the dough should be able to cover until the edge of your pizza pan. wait about an hour for it to rise.

then put into the oven! bake at 200c until the edges start to brown, but the centers are still pale looking.

take it out and now is the time for you to go crazy with your toppings!

my friend ew, who has been doing pizza for couple of years now, advised me to go for "hunt's tomato paste". other brands use too much vinegar resulting in a very sour tomato paste. so that's what i used. i mixed 1 tsp each of oregano, rosemary and basil into the tomato paste. oh yeah, some olive oil too.

as you could see here, went crazy with tomato paste, mozarella cheese (according to ew, other types of cheese smell/taste "funny"), capsicum, tomatoes, mushrooms and shredded ham. don't forget to drizzle some olive oil on it. by the way, "bake with yen" has a good deal on mozarella cheese.

then back she goes into the oven! within minutes, the cheese would have melted and you could smell a very nice "pizza" smell.

take it out as the edge starts to turn dark brown or to your desired crispiness.

look at the crust! see how thin it is!

i love thin crust pizzas with moist tomato paste. couldn't believe it's so easy!

next time will try wholemeal pizza crust, with more toppings, more tomato paste...

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