Pizza is one of those food items about which no-matter how much is said/ written it’ll be inadequate, the same way as there are countless varieties (toping-wise, cheese wise and even the flour proportions and mixtures of flours used) of one simple recipe.
I baked my first pizza from the scratch when I was in grade 8 in school. That was the time I had read about yeast in my science class and the idea of seeing it multiply so rapidly right before our eyes (well not literally) made me experiment with it.
I know most of us have tried making a pizza at home. There is no secret to it’s relatively easy recipe. I’d like to share some of the tips and tricks I have learnt about home-made pizzas over the years.
The Pizza has been baked in a gas tandoor instead of a conventional oven and mozzarella cheese chunks have been used instead of grated cheese
Difficulty Level: Easy
For the base:
- All purpose flour (Maida) – 1 cup
- Whole wheat flour (Atta) – 1 cup
- Fresh yeast -1/2 tbsp
- Sugar -1/2 tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Olive oil / vegetable oil – 2 tsp
For the Sauce:
- Tomato puree/ paste – 4 tbsp
- Tomato sauce – 2 tbsp
- Garlic – 4 cloves
- Ginger – 1/2 inch
- Olive oil/ vegetable oil – 1.5 tbsp
- Butter – 1 tbsp
- Black Pepper (ground) – 1/4 tsp
- Sugar – 1/2 tsp
- Salt to taste
For the toppings:
- Mozzarella Cheese (grated) – 200 gm
- Topings of your choice ( I use diced red, yellow and green capsicum, pineapple, olives, onion, basil leaves, jalapenos, potatoes [ they need to be as thin as we slice them to make chips], cubes of fresh paneer, baby corn, fresh corn kernels, etc.
You don’t necessarily need to have an oven (conventional one) to make a pizza. If you don’t have an oven, use a thick bottomed pan with a well fitting lid to cook the pizza keeping the flame low.
You can even make use of a Gas Tandoor, the device used to make naan, bati (of daal bati churma fame), tandoori roti and the like.
Pre-heat the oven at 200 degree centigrade.
To make the pizza base:
- In a bowl mix yeast with 1 cup lukewarm water (not too hot else it will kill the yeast) and sugar. Stir well and leave aside for the yeast to rise. As the yeast rises you’ll notice lot of bubbling/frothing in the water.
- Mix all purpose flour with whole wheat flour in a bowl and add salt to it. Knead the dough using the yeast water.
- Add oil to the dough and knead well.
- Cover the dough with a damp cloth and set aside till the dough rises to double it’s volume.
- Knock back the dough once it rises, cover and set aside to rise again.
- Dust table top with a little dry flour, take half the dough and roll into a ball. Further pat it with fingers to a round, do not worry to give it a perfect round shape. Though a rolling pin can also be used. The thickness is to be kept according to the type of base you like.
- Prick the dough with a fork to avoid it from rising in the center.
To make the sauce:
Ready made Tomato ketchup can also be used. If you prefer making the pizza sauce from scratch the recipe I use is:
- In a thick bottomed pan heat the oil and add butter to it.
- Add the finely chopped onion and ginger garlic paste and saute till onions get transparent.
- Add tomato sauce and tomato paste and saute till a smooth mix is obtained.
- Add the remaining ingredients and cook on medium flame will the butter leaves sides.
To prepare the toppings:
- In a non-stick pan drizzle some olive oil and one teaspoon butter. Toss the freshly chopped vegetables and Paneer of choice for two minutes.
- Add some salt, chili flakes and oregano. Set aside.
To assemble the Pizza:
- In a baking tray apply some oil to help remove the pizza easily. Now place the pizza base and spread the prepared sauce on top.
- Spread freshly cracked black pepper on the sauce.
- Add toppings of your choice along with mozzarella cheese and bake in the oven or cook in a pan till the cheese melts and gets a golden brown tinge.
- Feel free to garnish it with herbs of your choice (thyme, oregano, red chili flakes, etc.)
Serving Suggestion: Cut into wedges and eat hot.
For more recipes from my kitchen, visit my food corner.