Homemade pizza

Homemade pizza

A favourite dinner recipe around here is homemade pizza. I confess that, like stir-frying, I used to be terrified of baking anything with yeast. As an 8-year-old my cousin and I attempted making hot cross buns one Easter and mixed up the quantities, adding something like seven times the amount of yeast required. Needless to say they were not very tasty and I have been wary of baking with yeast ever since.

So I used to buy premade pizza bases (on sale of course) or use pita bread, Turkish bread or even tortillas as my pizza bases.

However recently, inspired by one of my favourite blogs The Frugal Girl, I decided to give baking with yeast another go. I decided to try pizza dough as it seemed pretty foolproof, so I found a basic recipe on taste.com.au, and modified it slightly by substituting half of the white flour for wholemeal flour.

To my surprise, it worked! One of the things I liked about this recipe was that you make a starter with the dried yeast, sugar and warm water. This means you actually get to see the yeast as it reactivates and multiplies. That instilled a lot of confidence in me that I wasn’t going to end up with a flat, heavy lump of dough.

The recipe makes three portions of pizza dough, and if you aren’t going to eat that much pizza in one go it can be separated into portions, wrapped in clingwrap and frozen. The most difficult thing is to remember to take it out of the freezer the night before pizza night to defrost it in the fridge.

One of the reasons I love making homemade pizza is because it allows you to use up just about any leftovers or odds and ends of veggies you have in the fridge. Tonight I made one Mediterranean pizza (red onion, zucchini, mushrooms, baby spinach, roasted red capsicum strips, mozzarella and tasty cheese) and one roasted veggie pizza (red onion, leftover roast potatoes, garlic and Brussels sprouts, mozzarella, blue cheese and tasty cheese). Pizza also makes great leftovers for your lunchbox the next day.

One final note, I use a pizza stone (that I got as a birthday present from the Omnivore), which gives a lovely crisp bottom to the pizza. If you have one, make sure you dust it with extra flour to prevent the pizza from sticking (this is VERY important). If you don’t have a pizza stone, use a tray and make sure you oil it well.

Cheese

Homemade pizzas

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

Two portions of pizza dough (I used this recipe, substituting in some wholemeal flour)

4tbsp pizza sauce or tomato paste

1.5 cups of cheese (I use a combination of tasty and mozzarella)

Toppings – this can be anything, use your imagination (eg. mushrooms, capsicum, zucchini, eggplant, spinach, pumpkin, pine nuts, feta, blue cheese, olives, leftover roast vegies, onion, chilli, pineapple and basically any other vegies or fruit).

Pizza toppings

Method

If you have a pizza stone, heat it up in the oven. This is very important because if you put a cold pizza stone into a hot oven, it may crack. If you don’t have a pizza stone and are using a tray preheat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF.

Chop up your toppings and pre-cook anything you choose to (tougher veggies like potatoes and pumpkin are best either pre-cooked or sliced very thinly). I usually roast extra veggies when I am already roasting some for dinner that night and keep them in the fridge until pizza night. They will keep for 4-5 days this way.

Grate your cheese. I like to use a combination of mozzarella and tasty cheese with some blue or feta cheese crumbled on top for extra flavour.

Roll out your pizza dough. I found I needed to use a rolling pin for the dough I had frozen, whereas I just stretch out fresh dough with my hands. Don’t forget to flour or oil your pizza stone or tray. Place the dough on your pizza stone or tray.

Spread your dough with pizza sauce or tomato paste. I currently use tomato paste but am planning on making my own pizza sauce in the near future.

Sprinkle some of the cheese onto your pizza, then add the toppings and sprinkle with a bit more cheese.

Bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until pizza is golden brown.

Enjoy!

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