It’s been one of my frustrations for a long, long time — to be able to make my own pizza using home made pizza crust. Easy enough to pile on the toppings on supermarket-bought crust but there’s really no satisfaction there. Frozen crust, after baking,
takes is like bad thick tasteless biscuit and that doesn’t sit well with me. I like pizza crust to be crusty outside but soft inside — just like good ole Italian pizza. It’s been a series of hits and misses over the years but I finally succeeded tonight.
No commercial pizza sauce either. I dumped some tomatoes in boiling water until the skins burst, peeled off the skins and chopped the tomatoes. That was what I used. My homemade pizza can still stand improvement (next time, I’ll add fresh basil leaves and, perhaps, some oregano) but I’m happy enough that I was able to make the kind of crust that I like — not thick like pan pizza but not so thin either that it’s almost like a cracker.
This recipe makes one 12-inch pizza.
For the crust:
- In a bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Make a well at the center and pour in the olive oil and water. Stir with a fork until the mixture comes together and forms a soft sticky dough. Knead in the bowl for about a minute.
- Turn over on a floured working surface and knead for three to four minutes, dusting with flour, little by little, as necessary. Add flour sparingly. If you add too much, the dough will become stiff and the baked crust will turn biscuit-like.
- Place in a clean bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until double in volume. How long it takes for the dough to rise is affected by the room temperature and humidity.
- While the dough rises, boil about 6 cups of water. Add the tomatoes to the boiling water and cook until the skins burst, about a minute. Cool, peel off the skins and chop the flesh. You can scoop out the seeds before chopping, if you prefer.
- When the dough has sufficiently risen, start preheating your oven. Turn it to its highest setting (traditional pizza ovens can go up to over 700F but since mine doesn’t, I simply used the highest possible setting at 545F) and place the rack at the center.
- Turn the dough onto a floured working surface and flatten with you hands. With a rolling pin, working from the center and rolling outward, form into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a lightly floured 12-inch pizza plate.
- Pile on the toppings. I added the chopped onion first followed by the tomatoes then the pepperoni and, finally, the cheese. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 7 to 8 minutes.
- See how the bottom of the crust browned? Yet, inside, it was soft and moist. My theory is that it is the olive oil that keeps it moist. But even with olive oil, if the oven is not hot enough, or if it wasn’t properly preheated, I doubt if the crust would acquire that texture.
- Anyway, it was a delicious pizza. My daughters, obviously happy with the way it turned out, insist that we go on a pizza diet — meatless so it isn’t fattening. Best form of flattery, really, but pizza everyday can get boring. Maybe once or twice a week would be a better idea. :)
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