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 (topping-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 a 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 (I highly recommend the Urban Platter Active Dry Yeast for great results) -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
- Toppings 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 a 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 its 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 shape, do not worry to give it a perfect 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 centre.
To make the sauce:
Ready-made Tomato ketchup/ Pizza sauce 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, chilli 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 chilli flakes, etc.)
Serving Suggestion: Cut into wedges and eat hot.
Tip: While baking a pizza in a tray is simple, I prefer doing it in a large cake tin because it helps me get that perfect round shape without a hassle and then demoulding it is a breeze when you use a springform cake tin.
For more recipes from my kitchen, visit my food corner.
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