I tried a variation on my basic pizza last week. It was the husband’s birthday and all he wanted was home-made pizza. He is a changed man today. From not liking it at all he has come to pick it as the one dish for a special meal! The transformation, not in small measure, is because of the wholesome-ness of a home made pizza. You can never go back to Dominos (and definitely not to Pizza Hut!) once you’ve had the home made kind.
And it is not that complicated at all. Usually I go with my basic bread dough recipe which is more yeasty and makes a good base for the thick crust. After reading many baking enthusiasts rave about the slow rising in the refrigerator, using much less yeast, I thought it was time to give it a try.
But, since I can no longer bring myself to use only white flour in any recipe, for this new recipe too I replaced half the white flour with good old atta. Other than that I (loosely) followed Heidi’s recipe for White Whole Wheat Pizza at 101 Cookbooks.
I didn’t refrigerate it overnight, but it did stay in the fridge a good 8 hours. The dough wasn’t as elastic as it could have been (because I used atta, I guess), so tossing was a bad idea. But it could be stretched easily and the quantity yielded 3 large thin crust pizzas. These were quick to cook, 10 minutes in a very hot oven (Gas Mark-9) but not as crisp as my regular crust. The verdict: while the son liked the thin crusts, the husband still prefers my old recipe–“The pizza wasn’t the same. Did you do something different?” Good comment, hubby dear!
Followed by a Hot Chocolate Fudge Sundae (using Nirula’s Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce), it was a very memorable dinner indeed.
My regular (other) Pizza Dough
2 1/2 C white flour
2 1/2 C whole wheat flour
5t vegetable oil (preferrably olive oil)
4t yeast granules
In a large bowl combine the flours and the salt. Make a hollow in the center and add the sugar and oil. Pour in about a cup of the warm water and sprinkle the yeast. Mix to form a wet ‘sponge’ and leave for 20 min. Now mix in more water, as required, to form a soft but not sticky dough. Knead for 10 minutes and make into a large ball. Oil a bowl and put dough into it. Flip it over so that it is now oiled onthe top as well. Cover and let rise till double (about 2 hrs). Punch down and divide into 3 balls for very large pizzas. Grease your hands and shape (push+ stretch) the dough. You may grease the pan or sprinkle it generously with semolina. Now tranfer the shaped dough to the pan for the final shaping/stretching. Rest the dough for 10-20 min.
Spread with tomato sauce and then the toppings. I start with buffalo mozzarella (Amul’s) followed by the veges: usually green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms, tossed in a little salt and olive oil, rough-chopped so that biting off is easier. A drizzle of olive oil at this point is good. Eggplant slices, pan fried in a little olive oil make a delicious topping. Bake in a hot oven 10-20 min (depending on crust thickness and the oven heat). Rest a few minutes to set the cheese before slicing.
For the sauce, follow your instinct. Here’s what I do:
The Tomato Sauce
500 gms juicy tomatoes, skin, seed and all
200 gms tomato puree
1T dried basil
1T dried oregano
4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
2 onions, chopped fine
sugar and salt
1 T olive oil
Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic. Stir till just fragrant. Add the onions and stir fry on medium heat till they turn translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes and the salt. Simmer till the tomatoes become all squishy. This is really faster if using frozen tomatoes. Now add the herbs, the chili peppers, and the puree. Simmer for 5 min. Use a hand blender to smoothen out the sauce and let cool before spreading.
This sauce freezes very well.