It might sound funny but I used to hate pizza as a kid. I cnt really explain why. I just could not convince myself that a combination of veggies and cheese would taste anything like awesome. But then I grew up and my tastes evolved, or rather, my curiosity got the better of me 🙂
My first pizzas were all restaurant bought. So far I’ve tried Pizza Hut, Debonairs, Pirates Pizza, El Mondo and Salé Sucré. It gives me no greater pleasure, however, than to bake my own pizza. As always, I believe that homemade is best. Tastewise and costwise.
THIN CRUST PIZZA
For Pizza Dough
3 cups plain flour
2 tsp salt
10g dry active yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tbs olive oil
For Pizza Sauce
1 cup tomato purée
1/8 cup water
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp crushed garlic
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp mint
1/8 tsp bay leaves
For Pizza Topping
1/4 cup mushrooms, fresh or canned
1/4 cup baby corn, split lengthwise
1/4 cup pineapple, diced
1/4 cup bell peppers, lightly cooked
1 red onion, sliced
1 large tomato, diced
1 tbs spring onion, finely chopped
5 black olives, halved
1/4 cup chicken/meat, for non vegetarians
200g mozarella cheese, grated
- For dough, stir flour, salt and yeast together in a large bowl.
- Make a well in centre and add oil. Test water with a finger before adding. It should be warm, not boiling.
- Add water gradually and combine to form a soft dough.
- Dump on floured work surface and knead well for at least 10 minutes till smooth and elastic.
- Oil the bowl, used for mixing, with a little olive oil and return dough back to it. Cover with clingfilm and keep in a warm place. Allow to proof at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
- Meanwhile prepare sauce and topping.
- For sauce, grind mint, thyme and bay leaves together.
- Place tomato purée in a medium saucepan. Stir in all other ingredients and simmer for 15-20 minutes till reduced.
- If you like, you can always skip this step by using a can of store bought pizza sauce or make one that is not tomato based like peri peri, sweet and sour or BBQ.
- For topping, you can throw in any ingredient of your choice.
- Mushroom, peppers and aubergines should be thinly sliced and baked or grilled for a few minutes beforehand.
- Chicken and meat should also be cooked before using as topping. Some people include fish as well.
- By now your dough must have completed its first cycle of proofing and would have doubled in size.
- Dump it back on the kitchen counter and punch the air out with your palm. Put it back in the bowl.
- Cover again and leave it for another 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop your onions, tomatoes and herbs. It is best to do this last to keep your veggies fresh.
- Preheat oven to its top temperature or around 250oC.
- Divide your pizza dough according to number of pizzas and desired thickness. I make 2 thin crust pizzas of about 12 inches diameter.
- Grease your pizza pans lightly with oil.
- Stretch out dough on pan. No need to roll out.
- You can shape the edges with your fingers or leave it flat.
- Spread pizza sauce onto dough within 1 inch from crust.
- Top with a thin layer of cheese before adding veggies/meat.
- Finish with pineapple, onion, tomatoes, herbs and a secong layer of cheese. Sprinkle with paprika if you like.
- Bake pizza for about 10 minutes till mozarella melts and crust is soft and golden. Do not overbake.
- Remove from oven. Slice and enjoy right away.
- Eat as many slices as you wish and forget about the bill.