The Evolution of My Pizza

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The Evolution of My Pizza

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Ingredients

450-470 gr Plain Flour + more for dusting
7 gr Yeast instand dried yeast
320 ml Water warm water with temperature between 40 and 43 C (105 - 110 F)
30 ml Olive Oil + for the bowl and the trays
1 tsp Salt fine salt
1 tbsp Crystal Sugar

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Cuisine:

Directions

So the whole pizza-mania started one year ago, in my mom’s kitchen, in Romania. I decided back than, after eating a disgusting pizza with a soggy bottom from a delivery restaurant, that I will try to make my own recipe and that I will succeed in creating the perfect pizza bottom, according to my own taste. I love the medium-thin one, not too crispy, not too gummy and I adore the puffy super-sized one. After trying for 10 times, I believe, yesterday I managed to create the perfect medium-thin one and in two weeks I will try to create the perfect thick one.

But let me tell you what I learned about dough and pizza after all this journey:

THE RISING TIME is one of the most important things related to dough. After all the work that you put in your dough do not ruin it by leaving it in a cold place, because it won’t rise. I preheat my oven at 200C for 1 or 2 minutes, check if it got warm enough in there and than let my dough rise for 1 & 1/2 hours. The perfect temperature is 23-25 C.

THE FLOUR is very important in this process. And I don’t mean the quality of it (I used a normal white one), but the quantity of it. Sometimes the yeast and the water ask for more flour and sometimes they had enough of it, so you need to check how is it going with that, before you put too much. Take the dough in your hands, feel it and decide if you had enough flour or not. You will also need flour for the flat kneading surface and don’t be afraid to use it. You don’t want that dough to get sticky!

THE PATIENCE is something that no one talks about, but making pizza is not that simple. I mean it’s not hard, but it’s a lot of work, especially because you shape the dough with your hands and at a certain point you just want to throw everything in the tray and be done with it. Take your time, flour the surface of your working space and try to use the roller as little as you can. Lift the dough in the air by holding it with both your hands, and gently move your fingers around the edge while you let the dough hanging in the air. Use your roller to make a nice shape, but very gently, and try not to break the air bubbles. If you manage to make a nice shape without using your rolling pin do so, I have to admit I cannot make it pretty this way. Look at this guy and get inspired, it actually helped me a lot in understanding how to handle a pizza. You don’t have to make it pretty and you should rather keep the air bubbles in than wanting to make it pretty. I just wanted a beautiful photo.

THE SIZE matters! Yes, it does when it comes to pizza. And what I mean is – make enough dough. I spread mine in 3 medium trays because I wanted them medium-thick. So bare in mind that if you spread the dough in a thick layer it will be more puffy, if you strech it so you can see the light through it, than you will get a thin layer.

THE REST that the dough needs. Yes it’s been great, your dough has rissen, all fluffy and nice now you want to cut it, shape it and put it in the oven. Buuut, nope. You cut it in balls and you let it rest another 30 min. Yes, you have to wait a lot.

THE OIL needs to be good olive oil. It makes a huge difference in taste and it really helps your dough. If you want our bottom not to get soggy, brush a little oil on top of the dough before you put your topping on it.

THE OVEN matters a lot. I cooked pizza in 3 different ones and I had to adjust the time, because the crust can become very hard or it can be soaked in juices. Now I bake mine for approx. 25 min on 200 C, and the cheese is a bit browned on top, but the edges are golden and crispy and still soft inside. So, you need to know your oven and you need to let it warm up very well. Give it 30 minutes time before you start baking.

THE TOPPINGS are also very important. Grab a good mozzarella and a good salami if you want an amazing taste, try to add some vegetables in there and make your own sauce. Or just find a great tasting one, that is not overpowering but also tomatoey enough.

THE FLAVOURS can be so, so, so amazing. So don’t forget about basil and oregano! Put it in the sauce, over the crust, wherever you want, just don’t forget about them.

YOUR OWN TASTE. I know a lot of people say that a pizza is supposed to be thin and the toppings are supposed to be light, but you know what? I eat my pizza however I want it! So if you like pineapple with salami and Nutella on your pizza go ahead and do whatever you want. You like it fluffy and filling? Yes, me too, so let’s make it how we like it. Thin and crispy? Start rolling and you will obtain what you want. This is the beauty of cooking your own food. You can make it just like you want it!

But all in all, it’s great to make your own pizza. And you know what, you don’t have to listen to all the things that I said before. They are impressions that I am left with after I tried to make the perfect pizza for my own taste. Everything that I learned might help you as well, but what is more important than this, is that you follow your own cooking voice and find what works best for you.

Next time I will try to shape a pretty fluffy pizza, because yes, I am still learning!

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Steps

1
Done

The Yeast

Determine what kind of yeast you have. If it says dried instant than you don't have to dissolve it in liquid.

If you have active dry yeast than combine it with the water and the sugar in the bowl of your your stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Give it a little stirr and wait about 10 minutes to see if you yeast reacts. If you see little bubbles or foam this means that your yeast is active and you can move forward. If not, try another pack.

2
Done

The Kneading

If your active dry yeast is alive add the flour (first 450 gr.), olive oil and salt to the bowl and mix on low speed until everything is combined. If you use instant yeast, go straight to this step and add everything together in the bowl and mix. Knead for 10 minutes of low-medium speed. If you notice that the dough is very sticky and it get's stuck to the bowl add another 1 to 3 tbsp of flour until you see that is has a beautiful, smooth surface and it doesn't stick to the edges anymore. After 10 minutes it should be elastic and soft.

To see if it's done poke it with your finger. If it slowly bounces back let it rise, if not return to the kneading process.

3
Done

The Rising

Form a ball and place in a bowl. Lightly coat with olive oil and cover it with plastic foil. Let it rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, until it doubles in size. The perfect temperature should be between 23 and 25 C, so you can preheat your oven at 200 C for 1-2 minutes, make sure that it's not too warm and put the bowl in the oven.

4
Done

The Shaping

Put a fork in your dough or punch it down to let the air out and scrape it off the sides of the bowl. Lightly dust your working surface and divide the dough in three or two. I made my crust medium thick so I divided the dough in 3 for 9 inch trays. If you want it more puffy you should divide it in 2 for 12 inch trays. Form balls out of the dough and put them in different bowls and cover them with a towel. They need to rest 15 minutes.

5
Done

Gently flatten the dough balls, one at a time. Using your hand start pushin the dough in all directions until you obtain a bigger circle. Now you notice that the edges have more dough so what you do is pick up the dough and stretch the edges while trying to maintain the round shape. Lightly flour the working surface again and give a nice shape, before putting it in the tray. You want those air bubbles to stay it, so treat with a lot of care.

Lightly oil and dust with flour your trays and put the dough in. Now you have to push and pull the dough, forcing it to take the shape of your tray. Pinch the margins to create a nice edge.

Brush the top lightly with olive oil so your topping doesn't make the crust soggy and let it rest for another 15 minutes.

6
Done

The Topping

Brush the bottom of your crust with sauce and add on top whatever you like. I love cheese so there is always mozzarella and Daniel loves salami, so there is always salami. The one from the picture has onion, Gouda, mozzarella and salami. And of course, oregano!

7
Done

Baking

Preheat your oven at 200 C and let it heat up very well. Bake your pizzas for 20 to 25 minutes, keeping an eye on them in the last minutes. Serve hot out of the oven!

Adriana

I am Adriana and I love food, as you can probably see from what I cook. I like to bake and I like to experiment with new tastes, and my 2016 resolution is to try to cook healthy and special meals every day.

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