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March 19, 2018 | by  | in Food Opinion |
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Pizza Base Recipe

Homemade pizza is a good way to use up random ingredients that have been hogging your fridge’s real estate. Most veg can be roasted or put on top raw. Sliced meats and even canned spaghetti can be used as a topping to work into a quick and easy meal. As I’m sure most of you experienced chefs can chuck food and cheese on a base and cook for 20 mins at 180°C, I wouldn’t bother wasting a recipe on toppings. The sure fire way to make a pizza which puts the $5 values at Dominoes to shame, is a home made base.

Ingredients

1.5 cups of flour (+flour at hand for dusting) ($0.05)

1 cup of water (zilch)

1 teaspoon of yeast ($0.10)

A pinch of salt (>$0.05)

Method

There’s two different ways of putting this base together, depending on how far ahead you plan the meal.

The first way needs a couple of hours to rise, so it’s better to make the dough in the morning or the night before. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl thoroughly. Slowly add the water while incorporating it with a fork. The dough should start as clumps of flour that get stickier and then form a big blob. If you accidentally go too far with the water then it will look a bit porridge-y, so just add a bit more flour until you get the consistency you want. When you have a nice, fairly dry blob of dough, shape it in a ball in the bowl and cover it with a tea towel. It should take 2 hours at the minimum to start rising, but there’s no harm in leaving it for a while longer. You’ll want to keep it away from bugs or pests, but also at a room temperature in order to rise, so find a safe cupboard.

The second version of this is the “I just realised I didn’t plan dinner” hack. The first version uses the room temperature heat and the natural sugars in the flour to feed the yeast and let them raise the dough for you. To bypass that step, get a glass of fairly warm water (boiling or very hot water will kill the yeast) and mix in a teaspoon of sugar. Mix the yeast into the sugar water, and let it sit for about 5-10 mins. You will get a smell of carbon dioxide and a bubbly foam on the water, which will tell you that the yeast is having a good feed. Once this happens, make the dough in the same way as you do above, and let it sit for at least 30 mins. This version makes a denser base.

When the dough is ready, pull it out onto a bench dusted with flour and knead it for 10 mins. Kneading warms the dough up, and makes it more chewy and structured. I find this recipe makes about three bases worth of dough, so try to portion it out using a bread knife. With one portion, use a floured rolling pin or a glass to shape a round base. Then fold the outer edges in and press down to form the crust. Top with your usual tomato paste, veg, and cheese. These should take about 20-30 mins in the oven at 180°C degrees. Keep feeling the edge of the crust until it becomes hard to the touch.

This is essentially a basic dough recipe, so feel free to modify it to make calzone (by folding the pizza in half and sealing the edges together) or bread sticks (strips of pizza dough).

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