Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wholewheat pizza!

You might remember my excited experiments with pizza in the past. Recently I discovered how easy it is to get fresh yeast in Delhi and since then my pizza making has gone to a whole new level. For starters, please ditch the false lore that states pizzas require sauce and cheese. They don't. No, really. Second, also toss out the idea that they need to be round. Ever since my pizza revolution, as I like to call it, I've been making them all the time in my rectangular baking pans and putting all sorts of things on them. I've done potatoes+cheese+onions, random pasta sauce+cheese, potatoes+sausage+cheese, random veggies+cheese and my most recent favourite, blanched spinach, potatoes, onions and eggs. That's right, no sauce, no cheese. Of course all these things get eaten so fast I rarely get pictures, so here's one I took this morning of reheated lunch, terribly lit in the direct sunlight from my kitchen window and gently speckled by the shadow of the mesh.

But now to serious stuff. It all comes down to the dough. Well the dough and brushing it with olive oil that's been sitting for a while with crushed garlic in it. I decided to move on from Deb's dough that I used to use and try something from another food blog I love, Annies-eats. Her dough I like much more, probably because it uses a titch of honey which gives the crust much more flavour. Things to remember--slice your toppings thin, as thin as possible; oil the baking tray (I don't like to flour it because it gets dry); remember that the dough will rise once it's in the oven so if you want your pizza thin and the toppings spare, the crust has to be rolled or squished REALLY thin. This recipe makes about 2 fairly thick (say how domino's normal pizzas are) crust pizzas and three thin crusts.

For the crust
2.5 C wholewheat flour
6.75 t fresh yeast (2.25 t instant or active dry yeast)
1 t salt
0..75 T honey
0.75 T olive oil
1 C water
Seasoning for the crust if you like (I have yet to do this) a pinch of oregano or italian seasoning etc.

To brush the crust:
2 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil

In a big bowl crumble the yeast into the flour, if using fresh yeast. If using instant, just add it to the flour and mix it about. Add salt, honey and olive oil and mix together. Add the water and form into a dough. Knead until it forms a smooth ball, about five minutes. One hand might still be sticky but the dough will have stopped sticking.

If using active dry yeast, take about 1/2 C of the water, warm it to a little more than body temperature and mix the honey into it. Add the yeast to that and wait a couple of minutes for it to start fizzing and smell yeasty. Add the salt and olive oil to the flour and mix together. Now add the activated yeast and the rest of the water. Knead until it forms a smooth ball, about five minutes. One hand might still be sticky but the dough will have stopped sticking.

Oil a bowl (I just use the bowl I've been mixing in, sprinkling about 1t of oil around it) and toss the dough about till it's coated, like the sides of the bowl. Cover with a clean cloth and set aside to rise about 1.5-2 hours. It should double. If you're really enthu you can track this in some way, but I generally just let it be for the required time and it's risen. It's getting quite cold now though so I might have to come up with some rising strategy! They say you can put the dough together in the morning and then leave it to rise in the fridge all day so it rises slowly and is more flavourful, and then when you come home from work in the evening, take it out let it come to room temp and use it. I have never tried this with any success but then I have never tried it with fresh yeast, so I'll keep you posted.

In a bowl, crush 2 cloves of garlic into 2 T olive oil. This is optional but the flavour kick is amazeballs.

Once the dough has risen, prepare your toppings. Again, you can put anything on pizza. I have yet to but I fully mean to try chole, rajma, mutter paneer--generally any leftovers you have. If you want to go old school of course you can make pasta/pizza sauce while the dough is rising.

Preheat the oven to as hot as it gets! 250C in the case of mine. Oil the pan you're planning to bake in. This can be a sheet, it can be a shallow sheet pan, it can be a nice round pizza pan or a steel plate--whatever. Take a ball of dough and press it out all over your pan, trying to keep it as even as possible, and lifting to make sure it won't stick later. If you like you can use a rolling pin and transfer and so on but I find that the dough is so sproingy it just saves time to do it with my hands in the first place. Brush with garlicky olive oil. Lay out your toppings. Sprinkle with cheese. Bung into over for 12-20 min, depending on topping, pizza thickness and how crunchy you like it. I usually do 20 because I tend to use potatoes and like my crust a little thick. Once the cheese is melted and browned you're good to go. Remove, slice and try not to burn your tongue.

In this particular case, I washed and sliced thinly a few potatoes (with skin), washed and blanched some spinach, thinly sliced some onions and then laid em out, spinach first, atop my shaped crust. Then I broke a couple of eggs over the whole thing and bunged it in the oven. 


Sue said...

Funny you're posting this now because I've just bought a lot of yeast meaning to try my hand at, among other things, pizza dough. Ta muchly.

MinCat said...

yay! happy pizzaing. seriously addictive. and you feel like such a rockstar!