Friday, January 1, 2010

Basic Pizza Dough & Sauce

Confession: I actually love Pizza Hut's pizza crusts. It's almost as though they are deep fried! Golden, fluffy, crispy, mmm it's the only good thing about Pizza Hut since they stopped the $4.95 all you can eat kids meals.

Alas, i have no idea how to make their pizza bases. If i did, i would probably freak out at the calorie content or some strange and horrifying ingredient used. So instead, i thought i'd post my standard pizza base recipe which has come through a few renditions.

Pizza dough tips:
  • Use bread flour which has a higher protein count, making a chewier crust than regular white flour
  • Don't use much yeast, but use alot of time. Proove the dough in the fridge overnight rather than in a warm spot. 
  • Use iced water in the dough - dunno why, seems to help. Lots of recipes recommend it.
Dough (will make 5 pizzas; you can freeze the dough for later use)
  • 1kg white bread flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsps salt
  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 600ml icy cold water
  • 2 tsps white sugar

Sauce (will cover 5 pizzas)
  • 1 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to season
Other Toppings are desired.

Combine the yeast, 900gm flour (the rest of the flour can be used for flouring the bench), salt and sugar in a large bowl.

Add the oil and water and whisk with chopsticks until roughly combined.
The knead in the bowl with hands until most of the mixture is in one large lump.

Turn out onto lightly floured bench.
Knead heavily for 7 minutes or until the dough springs back when you press your finger into it.

Cut this dough into 5 separate pieces.
Wrap the dough in gladwrap and either refrigerate for minimum 1 - maximum 2 days or freeze for later use.
Remove the dough from the fridge 1 hour before using it.
turn the refrigerated dough onto a floured bench.
Roll out the dough so that it is about 3-4mm thick and place on a floured baking tray or hot pizza stone.

Place a frying pan on medium heat; add some oil, the onions and the garlic and cook until browned.
Add the tomatoes and sugar and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes.

Process or blend into a fine puree and then return to the pan to reduce until a tomato paste consistency is achieved.

Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Place 1 tablespoon of sauce onto each pizza and spread evenly across.
Sprinkle on some cheese, pesto or basil.
Place into the oven for approximately 10 minutes.
Remove and place pizza on wooden board for 3 minutes for cheese to set.

Cut into slices and enjoy.

A note on pizza stones: Pizza stones need to be hot when the pizza is placed on them; so assemble the pizza on a baking tray and then carefully shift to the stone to cook. 

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