One of my favorite things to do is baking bread. I think I have inherited my love of bread making from my mother. For some reason I find the entire process very comforting. And there is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread. It brings back memories of childhood trips to Goa, where we would wake up to the smell of baking bread that would waft into the house from the neighboring baker's oven. We would feast on slices of these loaves, still warm from the oven, and slathered with generous amounts of butter and thick wedges of cheese. What bliss!
This weekend was a long weekend and the three of us decided to chill at home. The hubby took over the kitchen on Saturday and made breakfast and lunch which was a welcome break for me. UJ had finally recovered from a bad cold. So I decided to treat the two of them to some homemade pizza on Saturday night.
I decided to stay classic with the toppings- just a simple tomato sauce, with goats cheese, onions and basil.
Making this pizza dough is the easiest thing in the world and I have to say that these pizzas turn out really well. Don't be intimidated by the lengthy instructions. Its is not at all complicated.
Here's what you need for the dough...
1/3 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp instant dried yeast
1 1/4 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
4 1/2 cups plain flour (maida)
1 tsp salt
For the sauce...
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 can peeled tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
salt to taste
I always make my sauce a day in advance because the taste is always better this way. To make the sauce, add chilli flakes and finely chopped garlic to olive oil warming in a pan. Quickly add in the chopped onions and cook till the onions are translucent. Then add in the can of tomatoes. If the tomatoes are full, try and mash them up a bit. Next, add in the oregano, salt and sugar and about a cup of water. Cover and simmer on low heat till the sauce starts to dry up and thicken. Once done, allow to cool.
For the dough, dissolve the sugar in warm water. Add the yeast to this and stir. Set aside for about 10 to 15 minutes until the yeast mixture is all frothy.
Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add in the salt and mix well. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast mixture, followed by the oil. Mix with hands and slowly add water until the dough starts to come together. (Don't add in all the water at once)
Turn out onto a clean counter that has been lightly floured, and knead well until the dough feels elastic. This should take roughly about 15 minutes. If the mixture feels sticky add a little flour to it.
Once this is done, form the dough into a ball and place in a bowl that has been lightly oiled. Cover the dough with a wet cloth and leave in a warm place for about 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
Once again turn out onto a floured counter and knock out the air from the dough. Divide into balls, about 3"-4" in diameter. Roll out either into a circle or an oval, about 2-3mm thick and place on a lightly floured tray. Drizzle some olive oil over the base. Spread on some sauce and add toppings of your choice. Place in oven and bake till base appears slightly browned.
Remove from oven, drizzle some more olive oil on and add a few fresh basil leaves and enjoy!
Here are the results...
We made a round one and a few oval ones. I found the oval shape easier to manage in the OTG compared to the round one.
If any dough remains, wrap it in cling film and use it the next day.
[Images- Shalini Pereira]