Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Homemade Pizza

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Besides Japanese food, I enjoy Italian food too. I love cheese and associate cheese with Italian food, especially pizzas. Probably because when I was still at an impressionable age, I was sold by the Pizza Hut's advert. Hot, steamy, fresh pizzas with gooey, elastic pull of Mozzarealla cheese. Never mind my parents said that pizza cheese smelled like baby's vomit. Mozzarella, Cheddar, Edam, Parmesan, and Fetta are the few which I have tried and liked. I still have not pluck up enough courage to try blue cheese or goat cheese because I was told that they are rather pungent. And like Camembert and Brie, they contain the Penicillium strain of bacteria. I am allergic to Penicillin so I do not know if I should actually consume these cheeses. Maybe I should ask my doc.

Anyway, never thought that I would attempt making pizza myself. Probably because I am no longer attracted to Pizza Hut's pizzas. They looked good in the ad but what you get is hmm... The crust is usually thick unless you ask for thin crust. Having said that, I think I should not complain too much about the toppings. At least they have a wide variety of toppings. My sis went to Italy for holidays and discovered that when you order for a mushroom pizza, mushroom is all you going to get. There is no such thing called Hawaiian pizza. Perhaps Italians will shake their heads in disapproval when they see my pizza. Yes, I must admit, my pizza is terribly confused. But hey, since it is homemade, why stinge on the ingredients? At least my family preferred mine to storeboughts. Ahahah...

I made some salad to go along with the pizza too, Green apples, grapefruit, Butterhead lettuce and Lettuce Lollo Rossa are tossed together with some salt, juice of half a green lemon and 2 tubs of Meiji Yoghurt with Nata de Coco. I made 2 pizzas in 2, 10 inch by 14 inch rectangular trays, for this pig-out session. As this was my first attempt, I think the recipe I used was not meant for making thin crust pizza. However, I spreaded the dough rather thinly, so the end product wasn't thick. I made some pita bread for my mom too as she is not into cheese. I gave her some of the toppings to fill up the bread. I will put up the recipe for pita bread later. I do find them rather easy to make and rather similar to making the pizza crust. The recipe for the pizza crust is from Margaret Fulton's 'Book of Pasta & Pizzas'. Courtesy of my sis' stash of old recipe books given to me. I modified the recipe a little.

Homemade Pizza

Pizza Crust (yields 2 10 inch x 14 inch pizza)
Ingredients
4 Cups Bread Flour
1-1/2 Tsp Instant Yeast
1 Tsp Salt

1 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1-1/2 Cup Water

Toppings (as you like it)
1 Can Tomato Paste (Hunt's, 170g), dilute with some water
1 Can Pineapple Rings, cubed
1 Yellow Capsicium, cubed
1 Green Capsicium, cubed
1 Red Capsicium, cubed
200g Honey Baked Ham, remove rind and sliced

1 Chicken Breast, sliced and marinated with salt, pepper and cornstarch
1 Large Onion, sliced
300g White Button Mushrooms, sliced

500g Pizza Plus Cheese (a blend of Mozzarella, Cheddar and Parmesan) - I didn't use all

Some olive oil
Salt to taste

Method
1) In a mixer bowl, add flour, yeast and salt. Pour in honey, olive oil and water.

2) Using a dough hook, knead the dough on low speed for 10 mins. Lightly oil a bowl. Roll the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Cover the bowl with cling wrap or damp towel and leave aside to rise for 1 hour or double its size.

3) While proofing, in a pan. drizzle some olive oil, stir fry the chicken slices. Remove from pan. set aside for later use. Heat up pan again. add oil and fry onions till slighlt browned. Add in mushroom , season to taste and fry till done. Set aside.

4) After proofing, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Kneads the dough for about a minute. Divide into 2 portion and roll into balls. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

5) Lightly dust the tray with flour and roll out the dough. Spread out the dough evenly. Spread the tomato paste generously onto the dough. Pile the toppings, leaving cheese last.

6) Bake at 220 deg.C for 15 to 20 mins or till golden brown.

*Note : Cooking the chicken and mushroom first will prevent the dough from getting soggy. If you bake uncooked meat and mushrooms, they will sweat during baking.

**Note : You can use your own preferred toppings. I prepared more toppings as I need to leave some for pita breads.

Happy cooking! それじゃ~~

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