Long ago, I promised a detailed set of pictures on how I make these staples of the Italian cuisine at home from scratch. Well here comes.
First things first, the hardware. Zeroing in the bowl before weighting the ingredients:
200 grams of plain flour (can be replaced with sawdust if you’re a termite)
Now preparing the yeasts. I like mine in a lukewarm bath of water, with some of the previously weighted flour. It happens that giving them something to chew at an early stage greatly reduces the time it takes for the dough to raise afterwards (along with an average 27~32°C temperature).
So I put a teaspoon of flour into a glass…
...add the dehydrated yeasts…
... with a little (like 15 mL) lukewarm water. Don’t want to kill them!
and mix well with the teaspoon:
until the consistency becomes kinda creamy: here it’s already rising!
Meanwhile I prepare the dough: dig a hole into the flour, and add 50 mL of vegetable oil (whichever you prefer) after zeroing in the scale
Preheat the oven at 165°C:
Hands washed or not, I don’t like having dough sticking all over my fingers. So I use a wooden spoon to mix the stuff together:
Once all the oil is absorbed, I knead it by hand (notice the glass with the yeast, which has really puffed up!)
~ picture courtesy of Mrs Sodabowski (a.k.a. BlueMagic)
Then the yeast has had enough time to raise like crazy:
So I add it to the rather dry and crumbly mix of flour and oil, and mix again with the wooden spoon:
Which ends up as a really kneadable dough, adding water as needed, a teaspoon at a time.
I could leave it as is, but I like adding stuff into the base of the pizza, so I chunk it up:
Aaand here comes the magic: I add sliced black olives into the dough, for an extra kick:
and incorporate them by delicately mixing the dough by hand this time:
Then it’s sauna time: a clean cloth over the bowl, over the cooking surface (ie atop the oven, it gets warm but not too hot for the yeast) to let the dough raise until its volume doubles:
Half an hour later, cue the baking paper and oven tray:
As you can see, the dough has already puffed up quite decently:
So into the tray it goes:
And a brief meeting with the rolling pin persuades it to assume the overall shape of a wobbly-edged crêpe (french delicacy, for those not knowing it):
Man, check that texture, almost like marble… yummins!
Again the cloth to cover the dough while it raises for the second (and last) time, again on the warm cooking surface atop the oven:
And now fo the topping: we’re a bit addicted to mozzarella in the Sodabowski household, so we use two 125g balls of “motsa”, which I dice up:
True to my Spanish origins (and my tastebuds), I like my pizza with chorizzo or merguez, or both. Here I’ve sliced up several merguez:
And once the dough has puffed up to the proper amount (around a centimeter, from a 3 mm lamination) I put it the oven for a pre-cooking, to avoid under-cooking because of the toppings. A few minutes are usually enough, until a crust forms and it turns to a light golden color:
Bringing the ingredients for the topping: up top is a glass full of my homemade tomato sauce (future installment, it’s one of the staples in our kitchen), left and right you have already seen:
Lookit that noyse pre-cooked dough, begging for its toppings!
Enter the sauce-spreader! I won’t insult you folks with a full project post about that essential piece of kitchen paraphernalia. Two dowels and a drill press, dropa glue, and call it the day. But believe me, that stuff is really useful, both to make crêpes (as those of you that came to visit Paris have seen them done by the natives) and to spread sauce atop a pizza, just like here:
I’m not looking for a particularly uniform layer of sauce here, just saving time and avoiding trouble.
Cue the mozzarella chunks:
The sliced up merguez:
and back into the oven, for good this time:
Less than a quarter of an hour later, the cheese has melted and spread, the merguez slices are cooked, the juices are flowing, and the place is filled with that mouth-watering smell of OMNOMNOM:
I’ve had a hard time capturing the pictures of the cooked pizza’s interior while keeping the Missus under control to avoid a shortage on the subject ;)
Nice puffed dough
From that stage, it never lasts longer than a handful of minutes. Did I say we love good food around here?
Hope you enjoyed the show, despite the poor iPhone pictures (I can’t rationalize the use of the reflex for that kind of subject matter, flour can fly and oil vapors aren’t particularly good for rubber grips around a photographic lens).
-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...