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Monday, September 14, 2009

Home made Margerita pizza

My bread machine has a special place in the kitchen. A desire for freshly baked bread has resulted in this acquisition. Although I use this appliance mainly for bread, it is also handy for preparing pizza dough. It spares hubby the tedious task of manually kneading the dough. Now his most difficult task is to finish the entire pizza, which he gladly undertakes.

Pizza dough made with 100% bread flour is more pliable and softer after baking, a popular choice for hubby and little H. However, to bring down the carbohydrate factor, I have incorporated a little whole meal wheat flour in my pizza dough.

This is a large pizza, so it can be the main dish for the meal.

For 4 persons :

Pizza base :
350g bread flour ( or 300g of bread flour, 50g whole meal wheat )
1 sacket ( 11g ) dry yeast
220ml warm ( not hot ) boiled water
1 T sugar
1 T olive oil
1 t salt

Pizza topping :
250g Mozzarella cheese
3 T Pizza sauce / tomato paste
10 basil leaves

Pour the dry yeast into 1 cup of warm, boiled water and mix with 1 tablespoon of sugar. The yeast mixture should turn frothy after 3 minutes or so. Discard and redo if the mixture does not froth.

For bread machine :
** If using bread machine, pour yeast mixture and everything else in the bread machine container, set to dough mode, watch a movie for 1 1/2 hours and wait for machine to beep!

For food processor and manual kneading :
Place the rest of the ingredients ( flour, salt, olive oil ) in a food processor. Pour yeast mixture over and mix until the dough loosely clumps together. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and knead for 8 minutes. Add drops of water or sprinkle flour along the way until the dough is soft, not sticky but dry to the touch.

Prepare a large bowl, oiled inside. Transfer dough into the bowl, cover with oiled cling wrap and let it rise for 1 1/2 hour.

Note : If you are not into a heavy meal, divide the dough into 2 portions to make 2 thin pizza base.

After 1 1/2 hour :
Preheat oven to 240C with rack in it.

Remove risen dough ( from bread machine or bowl ). On a floured surface, punch dough down to original size. Use a rolling pin and work the dough to roughly the size of a 12 inch pizza pan. I prefer the non-stick perforated type since it prevents condensation and keeps the pizza crispy.

Spread pizza paste with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle cheese, leaves and ham. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of good quality olive oil. Bake for 13-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven, brush with some more olive oil.

Cut to wedges and serve off the pizza pan, making sure it is slightly elevated from the table top to prevent condensation and a soggy pizza base. Enjoy!

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