Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pizza for my Grandparents

I’ve had my grandparents over from Tasmania for the past week, not only has this brought about a large amount of stress but also the need to cook food that they will eat (not overly spicy). This has proven to be especially tricky. I failed on the first night with vegetable pasties (how this was too exotic for them, I have no idea) and they were a little uncertain about stir-fry (too much sweet chilli?). By the third night, I was stuck, but the promise of a long Sunday at home with the heating on seemed to lend itself to homemade pizza making. With Anna making pizza as well this weekend, I thought that it was a good opportunity to compare techniques.

Unlike the lovely Anna, I am a little scared of fresh yeast and so stuck with the dry variety. I also found the dough was a little sticky, even with extra flour, and stuck to the bowl it was rising in. This didn’t seem to have any affect on the end result. For the toppings, I made one with cheese and olives (to cater for my obsessive addiction to them) and the other with spinach, capsicum and mushrooms. The grandparents seemed to enjoy the pizza (despite my grandmother thinking that the spinach was mint!) but it is really open to adaptation to suit your own tastes.

Pizza Dough
Makes 4 large pizzas

2 sachets yeast (I used Tandaco brand)
1 tsp salt
800g (5 cups) plain flour
olive oil
2 cups lukewarm water

Mix yeast and salt with flour.
Mix 2 Tbl olive oil with water. Mix into dry ingredients.

Knead until mixture is smooth and elastic (I found that 10-15 minutes should do it).
Grease bowl with olive oil. Transfer dough to bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place (in front of a heater works a treat) until doubled in size (about 1 ½ hours.)

Knock back dough and fold it over gently a few times.
Allow to rise again, covered, for about 30-40 minutes.

Knock back dough. Divide into 4 and press onto 4 large greased pizza trays.
Allow dough to recover for 5 minutes.

Add toppings.
Cook at 200°C for about 15 minutes.

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