Sunday, 1 July 2012

Making pizza

After weeks of digital silence on the cooking front, this metal object is really the best thing I have to re-enter the blogosphere with? Oh yes.

Having once enjoyed fresh, homemade pizza baked on a gorgeous jade green pizza stone, I vowed to own such a thing myself when I set up my own kitchen and various cooking gadgets. Well, it turns out they’re rather pricey, and more affordable ceramic stones tend to crack after a few uses. While I fully accept the advantage in taste and quality from baking pizza on a stone, I don’t want to have to live in fear of the thing splitting into pieces on my feet when I lift it out of the oven.

Enter: the pizza pan. This ingenious and very reasonably priced little creation has holes on the bottom so the dough cooks evenly, as it would on a stone, yet won’t unexpectedly break or require gym classes in order to lift. While certainly not a new idea, it’s meant that we can consistently make good pizza with a good crust when we feel like it. It may even be that pizza becomes something we’ll make for guests, adding to the range reliable casseroles, risottos and curries that are in rotation…

Top pizza-making tips: 

  1. If the dough isn’t stretching well and keeps tearing, knead in a bit more flour.
  2. If you’re making stuffed crust pizza, shape the dough so it hangs over the side of the pan, place the filling of cheese, pepperoni, etc. along the inside edge of the pan, then roll the extra dough around it.
  3. Let the dough rise for about 20 minutes in the pan before its first bake.
  4. You don’t have to put olive oil over the dough before its first bake – save a few calories and bake it plain.
  5. You can store pre-baked dough (without a stuffed crust) for a few days in a cool, dry place.
  6. A little pesto goes a long way – dot small spoonfuls around the top, or spread a very thin layer over the base before the tomato sauce. Too much pesto will make the pizza taste too salty.
  7. The thinner/smaller you can cut the toppings, the better.
  8. Pizza with all the toppings on should be fully cooked in 10-15 minutes at 200C/400F.
  9. Gently lift the finished pizza out of the pan using a spatula, and cut it on a large wooden chopping board before serving.

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