Saturday, 5 February 2011

From pretzels to pizza....the baking continues

I recently bought a pack of Italian or "00" flour in the hope of making home-made pasta. While I haven't quite got around to this yet, I wondered what it would be like to make pizza. The results were fantastic, much better than any pizza base I've ever made from strong white flour. Here's my recipe which will make a large rectangular-sized pizza, enough for two hungry people.
Easy Italian-style pizza dough 
250g "00" flour
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp yeast
1 tbsp oil
160ml luke warm water

Mix the yeast, sugar, oil and water in a jug and leave for 10 minutes to activate the yeast. Place the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour the liquid into the well and slowly incorporate the flour, until a ball of dough forms. Knead this for 15 minutes, place back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm (or a disposable shower cap works a treat), and leave in a warm place for an hour, until double in size. If you have a bread maker, just follow the instructions for making dough using the above ingredients.

Put a large baking tray in the oven and preheat as hot as possible (250 degrees).

Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knock out the air*. Roll out the pizza as thinly as possible without making holes in the dough. This can be a bit tricky but it's worth the effort as you don't want a thick and soggy base. I usually end up using my hands to stretch the dough to make it the size of a large baking tray. Gently lift and place onto a piece of foil dusted with polenta or flour (this will stop the pizza sticking).Cover with clingfilm and leave to rest for 15 mins.

*If not using the dough immediately, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate or freeze at this point.

Put your chosen toppings on the pizza. We covered ours with chipotle tomato ketchup (courtesy of Marks and Spencer), crab sprinkled with ancho chile powder, red onion, and toasted sweetcorn. Using the foil, place the pizza onto the heated baking tray and cook on the top shelf until the edges have puffed up and the top is golden brown (about 8-10 mins).

Scatter with freshly chopped parsley or any other leafy herb of your choice (i.e. coriander or basil) and serve with a jalapeño lime drizzle (that's mayo thinned with a little water and a few drops of lime juice and Tabasco's green jalapeño pepper sauce).

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