Yesterday I was looking at recipes and got it into my head that I was going to make pizza. I don’t know what would make me think this would end well considering the size of my tiny oven and the fact that my baking attempts do not always end in triumph (My marshmallow peanut butter chocolate chip brownie for one). None the less I decided to give it a bash and was amazed with the results. I’m not one to toot my own horn but I nailed it. (Clearly you are thinking that I do like to toot my horn since I went to the trouble of writing on the internet how fabulous at cooking I am.)
I had only attempted making pizza once before back when I was still at school and I can’t say the result was all too great (and that was back in the land of real ovens). None the less, nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that so I decided to proceed. In the end I was actually amazed at how easy it was to make the dough. Generally I have a lot of trepidation when making any recipe that requires yeast. I hate all the time it takes to rise, the knocking and the kneading etc., I just want to eat it now. I don’t like to be kept waiting. (My homemade bread is still not up to par but it is getting better with each try, so I’ll make sure to write about it when I finally bake a decent loaf).
500g flour (I used the one for dumplings and noodles.)
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of yeast (I used bobai brand that comes in 8g packages)
4 table spoons of olive oil
14oz ice cold water
Sift the flour, salt and yeast into a bowl. Then using a table spoon stir in the oil followed by the water bit by bit, you may find as I did that you don’t need it all or you can always add more. Use the metal spoon to get right into the middle of the dough and mix it thoroughly. You know you have added enough water when the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl but still sticks to the bottom. If it is too dry add a few more drops of water, if it is too wet add more flour a little at a time until it’s the right consistency.
Once your dough is formed you need to work it for another 5-7 minutes using the metal spoon, this activates the gluten in the flour which makes it springy and elastic rather than a tacky lump. You can do this by putting the spoon into the dough and moving it around, you will find the dough stretches the more you do this. After this take the ball of dough and pull it and stretch it with your hands, I am sure you have seen Italian pizza chefs on TV doing it (I didn’t do it half as elaborately but you get the idea).
Now the dough is ready, form it into balls – I made 3 big ones. The recipe stated that you should leave the balls in the fridge over night before using, but I don’t think it’s hugely important. If you have thought ahead in advance or have a huge amount of restraint and will power it does help the flavour of the dough develop, but it still tastes great if you use it straight away (the dough will keep in the fridge for up to four days). Roll your ball in flour then put a little olive oil on your hands and coat each ball before putting on a tray or plate. Put the plate in a zip lock bag or failing this cling film and store overnight.
If you have prepared in advance take one of your balls out of the fridge and roll it out as thinly as possible (dust the rolling pin and surface first with flour). Meanwhile preheat your oven to its hottest temperature. If I was at home and using a real oven I would invest in a pizza stone, sadly living here that is not an option so I’m using the back of my baking tray. I found this worked perfectly fine anyhow. Coat the back of the tray with flour then place the rolled out pizza dough upon it. Now you are ready for the sauce. I just made a quick one in my blender using 20 cherry tomatoes, a glug of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of mixed herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper but you could easily use some of the tomato spaghetti sauce that comes in a jar if you don’t have time. Then top with cheese, I just used the grated mozzarella you can buy everywhere with a bit of parmesan and topped with sliced big tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and red peppers and it turned out great. If you have the resources then use fresh mozzarella or other cheeses. I also made a Florentine pizza using some spinach and eggs I had in the fridge with some fresh parmesan. You can get as fancy as you like with the toppings. However one of the best points of this recipe is that you can get all of the ingredients at your local Korean supermarket you don’t need to go to Homeplus for this, which always makes it a winner in my book. It’s also far cheaper than Pizza Hut my greatest and most costly food addiction.