Pizza day is always a fun day in my house. My kids all get involved, and it turns into a project (and we’re not “project” people). For us, pizza making has always been my husband’s territory, and he’s perfected his recipe over many years. So while it’s much easier to pick up a phone and order, making this by hand is very satisfying and taste-wise leaves the version that arrives on the back of a bike in the dust. So here’s a recipe that will keep you and the kids occupied (and fed) for a while this Hanukkah.
Even though this requires leaving the dough to rise a couple of times, overall, it’s not too time consuming, and it bakes in minutes. Add whatever toppings strike your fancy – my favorite is to top it with thinly sliced antipasti vegetables (peppers, zucchini, onion, garlic) that I’ve lightly pan fried in olive oil – wow! Of course you can add the usual favorites – olives, corn, Bulgarian cheese, mushrooms, etc.
We don’t have a “proper” pizza pan, and bake them instead on regular oblong baking trays – amazingly, the pizza tastes just as good when it isn’t round.
Thanks, Peter, for your great recipe and for your hard work over the years in perfecting it.
HOME MADE PIZZA
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (Shimrit)
¾ cup very warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
200 g (7 oz) tomato paste
Garlic (fresh or powder) to taste
Salt and black pepper
Dried basil and oregano
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
About 250 g of grated Kashkaval and Mozzarella cheese (or any combination you’d prefer – Mozzarella recommended for the stretch factor)
How to do it
1. In your mixer’s mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, 2 teaspoons of sugar and yeast.
2. Add the warm water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and start mixing on low speed with your dough hook until the dough forms a ball (you can also do this by hand if you wish, but it’s far easier with the mixer). If it’s very sticky, you can add a little more flour until it’s a manageable ball of dough (not too much)
3. Remove from the bowl, knead the dough for no more than a minute and place in a bowl you’ve lightly greased with olive oil. Turn it over so both sides of the dough are oiled. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until the dough doubles in size (about 1-1¼hours)
4. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C (400°F)
5. Remove the dough from the bowl, punch it down and roll it out onto baking trays covered with baking paper onto which you spread olive oil and some cornmeal (if you don’t have, then you can just use flour instead, but the cornmeal gives it an authentic feel). Cover and let rise for about 15 minutes.
6. Mix together all the ingredients for the tomato sauce – add water just to get a spreading consistency. Spread over the pizza.
7. Sprinkle the cheeses generously over the pizza and any other toppings you’d like.
8. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the top starts getting bubbly and brown (you know what to look for!)
This recipe makes about 2 medium sized thinly rolled pizzas. We always double it!
Note: You can use this recipe to make focaccia bread. Omit the sauce and cheese and add instead some olive oil, slices of garlic and a few sprigs of rosemary. It’s a great starter to any meal.