pizza and photos of pizza

Oh my Gosh I Can’t beLieve it. There are officially photos on the cookie cutting blog. It’s amazing.

So, here at this juncture I must explain the lack of photos thus far. I have a digital camera. It’s approximately ten years old (ok, I’m being dramatic – it’s maybe five or six?). Therefore, I don’t use it. I haven’t for eons. I may have to dig it out at some stage but I suspect that the photo quality will be poor. SO. No food photos.

I lament over this, I really do, but I’m a student and so have no money, and I had other things to ask for this Christmas. Like, a bed to sleep on this year. I’m sorry.

However, I do enjoy photography, and I do love food. So of course the first photos on this blog will be of food. Pizza, to be exact.

I love making homemade pizza. And the funny thing is, there are so many recipes for the perfect pizza base out there. I used one from Mediterranean Kitchen and although the recipe says it makes two thirty centimeter pizzas, I managed to stretch it to four. Not only do I love a crispy base, but I had a lot of mouths to feed. Seven, to be exact.

The best thing about pizza, of course (pasta, too, if you don’t use a food processor) is that you have to knead it for about a century so it gets that smooth, elasticy exterior, not sticky but dry. So if you have a problem to think about, something you need to worry over, or even just someone who you think needs a good kick up the you-know-where, pizza is great therapy.

So here it is.

Basic Pizza Dough

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 pkt instant yeast (or 2 tsp dried or 15g fresh)

3 2/3 cups plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp olive oil (I feel terrible here. I had no olive oil. It was not to be found. So I used vegetable oil instead. I do not recommend this to anyone. Get the real deal.)

cornmeal(optional)

Place the sugar, yeast and 80ml warm water in a small bowl and lightly whisk together. Put aside and wait until it froths some. If it doesn’t, it’s dead. Throw it out and start again.

Put the salt and flour in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the yeast mix, oil and 135ml warm water and mix together until lightly clumps together. Dump it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 mins or until it’s dry to the touch and elastick-y.

Rub the inside of a large bowl with olive oil and roll the ball of dough around in it until it is also coated with oil. Leave the dough in the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours, or in the fridge for 8 hours. I left mine on the trampoline in the sun; if you turn your oven on to about 150ºC and then turn it off when it’s reached that heat and then put your dough in, it works quite well.

When it’s about doubled in size, press down on it gently, then divide into 2 or 4 portions. One at a time, press or roll them out to about 30cm discs. Cover with your favourite toppings and bake in a preheated 230ºC oven for about 12 mins if thicker or 5-7 mins if thinner. We put tomato paste mixed with garlic and basil as a base, then scattered home grown tomatoes, olives and mozzarella over. The meat-eaters in the family added bacon and pepperoni.

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