Monday, September 30, 2013

Homemade Pizza #1 - Hawaiian Pizza

Sunday was my first time making pizza dough from scratch, and of course also the first time making my own pizza. I have made a lot of breads but I have never tried making pizza dough in my entire life. I actually made 2 pizzas yesterday, one being my son's favourite, hawaiian pizza, and the other being my hubby's favourite, salami and smoked ham pizza. 

It was quite a fun, challenging and yet enlightening experience. I did most of the work, right from kneading and rolling out the dough and adding the pizza fillings, but my hubby being the pizza expert (pizza-eating, not pizza-making) also helped to dish out some pretty useful advice which he learnt from his years of experience in warming up frozen pizzas in the oven. He later claimed that he was the chef behind the 2nd pizza, the salami pizza, upon which my dear little son, immediately jumped to my defence and said, "No, mama made everything herself! " :)

The first pizza, the hawaiian pizza with pineapples and ham, was my first guinea pig, and it turned out to be too thick! I then realised that I had to roll the dough thinner because the pizza dough actually puffed up quite a lot while in the oven. My hubby said "wow, that's pizza hut's pizza, fat and thick!" Haha, no offence to pizza hut. :)

So for the 2nd salami and smoked ham pizza (will be shown in my next post), I rolled it out as thin as I could, and it turned out much better. But still, I think there is still lots of room for improvement. For instance, according to hubby the pizza expert, I should place the pizza directly on the metal grill in the oven, and not on the baking tray which I lined with baking paper. This will allow the hot air to reach the base of the pizza so that the pizza crust will be crispy, otherwise it will be unbaked or soggy. But the problem was, if I were to place the pizza on the metal grill right from the beginning, how am I supposed to roll out the pizza dough? And if I were to roll out the pizza dough on baking paper on the baking tray, how am I supposed to transfer the whole pizza (without baking paper) to the metal grill without breaking the whole pizza. I don't have a long "spade" (I dunno what you call it) like those used by professional pizza chefs, which they use to shove the pizza from the table to the oven. In the end, I did a small workaround, instead of using a whole big piece of baking paper, I cut out the baking paper so that it was just slightly bigger than the pizza itself, and then I pulled it via the edge of the baking paper and shove it to the metal grill which I asked hubby to hold right beside the table. Being a pizza newbie, this was one of the technical difficulties which I faced while making these 2 pizzas. Wonder if anybody can advice me on the solution?

Recipe adapted from Food Network (Paula Deen's recipe)

1.75 cup warm water
2.25 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp salt
4.5 to 5 cups bread flour (I used 4.5 cups) and extra for flouring
3 tbsp olive oil, and extra for greasing bowl
cornmeal for pan (omitted)

1. Measure 1.75 cup warm water and sprinke yeast on top, allow to activate for about 10 min.

2. Put salt and 2 cups flour into bread machine or big mixing bowl if you are kneading by hand, and mix well. 

3. Add yeast and water, mix well and start kneading. Add olive oil. Add remaining flour, 1 cup at a time. Continue to knead and scrap the sides of the bowl until well-blended.

4. As soon as mixture is combined, dump out onto a well-floured board and knead until dough becomes smooth and elastic. (I used the dough mode of my bread machine to knead for about 8 min. You can knead by hand too.)

5. Place dough in a greased bowl. Coat with plastic wrap or tea towel and allow to rise in warm place for about 45 min, or until doubled in size. Then punch down the dough and divide equally into 2, each piece will make a 12-inch or 30 cm diameter pizza. (The total weight of the dough was about 1050 grams, if you divide into 4 pieces, you can make 4 thin-crust pizza. If you divide into 2, make sure you roll out the dough as thin as possible to a diameter of at least 30 cm, otherwise the crust will be too thick. My first pizza was about 27cm diameter and look how thick the crust was! ).

After kneading for 8 min and before proofing.
After proofing for 45 min.
Fillings (as you wish)

some olive oil
some grated cheese 
1 can (70g) of concentrated tomato puree (Benito brand from Colruyt)
100g of ham cubes
1 can of pineapples

1. Preheat the oven to 230C or 450F.

2. Place the dough on a cornmeal-dusted pizza stone, pizza pan or cookie sheet. Roll out the dough using a rolling pin to a diameter of at least 30 cm. Roll up the edge slightly to create a ridge around the pizza. (I don't have a pizza stone nor a pizza pan, so I placed the dough on a piece of greased baking paper which I later shoved it onto the metal grill which was then placed into the oven. )

3. Now add the desired fillings. First coat a baking brush with olive oil and brush a thin layer of olive oil on the rollout dough. 

4. Then using the back of a spoon, coat it with a 2nd layer of tomato puree. 

5. Sprinkle a layer of grated cheese, followed by pineapple cubes and ham cubes. Then sprinkle another thin layer of grated cheese on top.

6. Bake in the oven at 230C or 450 F for 15 to 18 min until the crust turns brown. (I baked mine for 15 min.)

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #35 - A Palate for Pizza (Sept 2013) hosted by Joey of Little Accidents in the Kitchen. 

Small Small Baker/Aspiring Bakers

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