Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Little Italy at 'Our Place' - Home Made Pizza

There's nothing I won't tackle now that I've got a new Kitchen Aid mixer. Everything that I would have previously put in the too hard basket is suddenly easy peasy! One of those things is pizza bases. I have always purchased pre made bases or pita bread to use as the base of our home made pizzas but last night after finding a recipe for pizza bases in Septembers Real Living Magazine, I figured I might as well give it a try.

Granted, you need to have time to make the bases because one you've whipped up the dough in the kitchen aid mixer (with it's dough attachment) then you need to let the dough "sit" in a warm place for an hour so it can rise and the yeast can do it's thing.

I have to say that my pizza bases were on par with the best I've ever had and that's even the ones I had in Italy. They were PERFECT. I don't think I'll ever have to buy pizza again any more and that in itself is a huge cost saver. Is it just me or has everyone else noticed that decent quality pizzas seem to cost a fortune now days?

This is the recipe I used for my pizza base:

1 cup lukewarm water
2 Tsp dry yeast
1 1/4 Tsp sugar
1 1/2 olive oil, plus extra for greasing
475g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 1/4 Tsp salt

1 - Mix water, yeast and sugar together in a small bowl and leave for 5 minutes. Stir in the olive oil.

2 - Put flour and salt in the the mixer bowl and pour yeast mixture in. Set your mixer on a low setting and use a dough hook. If you don't have a mixer you can still mix by hand.

3 - Once well combined, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and kneed until smooth and elastic.

4 - Roll into a ball and place in a bowl, covered by a clean tea towel. Put bowl into a warm place (I sat mine of the front verandah in the sun) and leave it for 45-60 minutes. The dough should have risen double in size. At this point, turn on your oven to approx 180 degrees and if you have any pizza stones, put them in the oven to heat up (pizza stones are a stone type plate that are good for cooking pizza on and can be purchased from most Home-wares stores [even Kmart] for about $15).

5 - Knock out (punch) the air from the dough and divide the dough into 4 smaller balls. Roll out on a clean work surface, slightly floured.

6 - Place the rolled out base on your pizza stone or cooking tray and load it up with yummy ingredients and LOTS of cheese. Cook in the oven until the edges of the dough is golden (approx 10-15 minutes).

This is what my dough turned out like and once rolled, I got 4, 30 cm diameter pizzas.

I use anything I can find in my fridge on my pizzas. Yesterday's combos were:

1 - BBQ sauce combined with tomato paste, cheddar cheese, bocchini cheese, parmesan and roasted garlic.
2 - BBQ sauce combined with tomato paste, shredded ham, tin pineapple and cheddar cheese
3 - BBQ sauce combined with tomato paste, onion, shredded ham, jalapenos, olives, mushrooms, capsicum, pineapple and cheddar cheese
4 - Tomato relish mixed with BBQ sauce base, onion, zucchini, bocchini cheese, asparagus, capsicum, roasted pumpkin and cheddar cheese.

The roasted garlic and 3 cheese one was really yummy and the veggo one was a close second. It made a good mess too and did take quite a bit of time to prepare so I wouldn't do this weekly but as a special treat, it was a great meal and totally worth it.

Tonight's tea is definitely going to be lots of vegetables to cancel out all that cheese. Gosh my waistband is paying for all my cooking adventures of late! No regrets though!

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