All this while my greatest fear is handling a dough. The part I worry most is bringing the dough together during the kneading stage. Who agrees with me that they too fear of over kneading the dough or maybe not? Feel free to share your fears here too.
As I was saying, I am definitely one person who has been putting off making bread or pizza dough from scratch for a long time even though I've always wanted to do so.
Fear no more and I'm happy to announce that I've finally overcome my fear by kneading my very first pizza dough over the weekend. To my surprise, I enjoyed the entire process and my pizza dough was a success considering that I'm a novice baker or cook. So what I'm trying to say is if I CAN do it, you CAN too.
|Picture courtesy of The Food Network|
The recipe below is adapted from The Food Network Magazine, March 2011 Edition. As for the Pizza Sauce, this will me my own recipe; cooking without a recipe ;).
The pizza base's simple to make; whereby the crust is thin and tasty yet light and crunchy. It sure brought me back to the time I was in Italy during a cold winter enjoying my authentic wood oven Italian pizza. Buon Appetito!
adapted from The Food Network Magazine, March 2011
Note: The write up in the magazine in my opinion; fantastic and easy to understand. It suggests the approximate time on how long to knead the dough etc. For novice like me, it's a good guide to allow me to have a rough idea. What I like to suggest is follow the time closely suggested whether to let yeast foam up or knead the though. I worked with a timer on, but I do know through lots of practice and experience you will soon be able to do it by just touch and feel.
To knead the dough: Sprinkle enough flour on your work surface and pat some on your hands. Form it into a ball or so by compressing the dough together. You will notice that dough will stick in between fingers as it's slightly damp and sticky. With your heel of your palm gently press down and roll outwards, then using your fingers stretch the dough and fold it back towards you. Keep kneading and you will soon notice that no dough will stick in between your fingers. Also the dough will be slightly firmer, smooth and elastic feel. Dough risen will be ultra soft. So no worries about deflating when you're transferring to your work table. Just roll it back into a ball and it will be as smooth as baby's bottom. No need to punch the dough as it's ready to be rolled out. I used a rolling pin and manage to roll up to 8-10 inches wide.
For pizza base
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/4-ounce packet (2 1/4 tsps) active dry yeast
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tsps salt
To prepare pizza base:
1. Whisk warm water and the sugar in a bowl then sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
2. After 10 minutes is up, stir in the olive oil.
3. Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk flour and salt together and make a well in the center. Pour in yeast mixture. With a wooden spoon or spatula, gradually stir to help yeast and flour until well combine. Scoop out the mixture and form a rough dough.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, dusting with more flour if necessary.
5. With a small knife, slice dough into halves. Form it into 2 balls and brush 2 large bowls with extra virgin olive oil. Add a ball of dough to each and turn to coat with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour 30minutes at room temperature or at a warm and dry area until doubled in size. Roll out and top as desired, or wrap in plastic wrap and freeze up to 1 month.
6. To bake the pizza: Preheat oven to 500 degrees, place pizza on parchment paper and bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown in colour.
For Jo's pizza sauce; cooking without a recipe
Note: Sauce can be prepared a day or two earlier, to let flavours sit in. The amount of sauce is enough to coat 2 large 8-10 inches pizza and will still have some remainder for another 1-3 pizzas depending on the size. Store remainder sauce in a air tight lid container and freeze up to a month.
1 can plump Roma tomato, or any tomatoes of your choice.
4 tbsps tomato paste
1 clove garlic, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp dried mixed herbs from McCormick or Masterfoods (oregano, basil, Italian parsley, thyme)
Triple Sac Dried Sherry
Worcestershire Lea and Perrins sauce
extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
3 dried bay leaves
To prepare pizza sauce:
1. In a sauce pan, add in extra virgin olive oil and butter. This will prevent butter from burning. Toss in mixed herbs, fry it a little until fragrant; then add in onion and garlic. As this point you are just sweating the onion until it's transparent.
2. Add in can tomato and tomato paste. Drizzle a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce and sherry.
3. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Throw in bay leaves and let it simmer until sauce thickens a little.
4. Pour into a food processor, take off the small lid and cover with a kitchen towel and blitz away. If the sauce is still a little runny after blitzing, pour it back into saucepan and simmer or bring sauce to a boil. This will help reduce the liquid.
To try next-time: To use bread flour for pizza base and share with you a detailed pizza topping recipe. Till then!!