Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pizza Dough

I've been using cooking to de-stress for the past couple of days. If this keeps up, we'll need a baking section and a pickle section too. It is calming though.

Pizza Dough
800g/1&3/4 lbs strong white bread flour
200g/7oz fine ground semolina flour or strong white bread flour
1 level tbsp fine sea salt
2x7g sachets of dried yeast
1tbsp sugar
650ml/just over a pint lukewarm water

Combine the flour(s) and salt and make a well in the center. Add the yeast and sugar to the water, mix with a fork and leave it to sit a few minutes, before pouring it into the well you’ve made. Mix together into a dough, and then knead for 10 minutes. Flour the top of your dough, cover it with cling film and leave it to rest for 15min.

Break into pieces (depending on how big you want your pizzas), and roll them out to about 1/4 inch thick and about 15-30 minutes before you are going to put them in the oven. Put on whatever toppings you want, and bake at 250c/500f for 7 to 10 minutes.

European pizza is more of the thin and crispy crust variety. Growing up in New York, it was hard for me to accept any pizza that wasn’t gorgeous hand stretched thin-ish but chewy and crispy at the same time golden crust loveliness. Still, I’ve been here a long time now, and the thin crispy crust European pizza has become our normal pizza. Sometimes I’m sad that the Boy’s will grow up without Brooklyn’s finest food, but I just make sure to feed it to them every time we visit.

This pizza was really lovely and easy to make. I only made a quarter of the recipe because it was just me and the boys, not the whole National Guard. Once you roll them out, you can put them onto a greased and floured piece of tin foil and wrap them in cling film to refrigerate if you want to cook them later. Just flour each one and lay them on top of each other, they won’t stick. This particular pizza dough is from a Jamie Oliver cookbook, and he has all kinds of wonderful looking toppings, but I just made them out of whatever was lying around in the fridge. It wound up being cheese, ham and olives. The great part was that my three year old was able to make his very own little pizza all by himself. He totally dug that. A fair amount of topping that was meant to go on the pizza, actually went right into his mouth, but it came out very nice in the end.

For me the only real down side is that it is an incredibly hot oven, and mine does not preheat very fast. Next time I make them I’m going to start preheating as soon as I get up in the morning.

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