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Am I an avid pizza baker? Honestly, not really … I like pizza, but there is a brilliant pizzeria not far from our home where you may order pizza by phone, just pop around & grab it. Nevertheless sometimes I’m in the mood for a homemade pizza …
When starting w/ homemade pizza there are 2 points to clarify:
- what type of pizza crust to use?
- what topping to add?
Concerning the pizza crust it’s generally possible to do a rectangular pizza or a round one i. e. almost round, more oval in the most cases. My better half & I are always happy w/ the round approach … & we need 1 pizza for the 2 of us. (The rectangular approach will feed up to 4 people – my experience.)
Then there is the important decision to be made if relying on a ready-to-use pizza flour mix, a ready-to-bake pizza crust or a homemade approach. Mainly – it’s a question of time.
If you are short in time rely on a store-bought solution. I use generally a pizza flour mix, a pure mix w/o any added herbs or spices, w/o any preservatives or any other ominous ingredients which I wouldn’t use when preparing my own pizza dough. For such a pizza flour mix you only need the mix & warm water. Some minutes later the pizza crust is ready for the topping & the oven.
For the record:
There are also ready-to-bake & rolled-out pizza crusts in the cool & fresh cabinets of our trusted food store. I’ve never used one of these …
This time I wasn’t short of time so I opted for a homemade pizza crust. I took advice from Meike Peters’ cookbook “365” & started preparing a simple pizza crust. (… simple i. e. w/ all-purpose flour & dry yeast – there are also approaches w/ sourdough etc.)
Next stop is the topping!
I decided to prepare a very basic pizza:
- tomato sauce w/ olive oil (for the softness & against dryness)
- fresh oregano (for the Italian touch)
- buffalo mozzarella (for the creaminess)
- grated pecorino (for the cheesy edge)
- fresh arugula (for the crispness).
For the record:
You may substitute grated parmesan for grated pecorino.
You may also use dried oregano if fresh isn’t available.
Now let’s start w/ the pizza crust.
Take a bowl, add the flour, the dry yeast, the olive oil, some salt & warm water. Grab your handheld electric mixer & mix until all is well combined.
Then roll up your sleeves & start kneading until you get a nice ball.
Cover the bowl w/ a tea towel & put it in the oven. Heat the oven up … only a little … for about 2-3 min at 50° C. The oven shall become comfortably warm. Let the pizza dough chill in the warmth for 60 min.
Afterwards the ball will have doubled in size.
Roll the ball out on a sheet of baking parchment & transfer to a baking tray. Let it rest in the warm oven for further 20-30 min. Afterwards the pizza crust is really fluffy.
In the meantime there is enough time to prepare the topping.
I use a can of Italian tomato pulp (about 400 g). Yes – it’s definitely too much of a single pizza, but … You may use about half of the can (i. e. minimum) or about ¾ of the tomato pulp. It depends on your preference of how much juicy tomato layer you like on your pizza. (The rest of the tomato pulp will march into the fridge to be used during the next days for pasta or whatever.)
Pluck some fresh oregano leaves & mince them. Add to the tomato pulp together w/ olive oil, salt & pepper & mix w/ a spoon.
Prepare the grated pecorino – if you doesn’t happen to have some grated leftovers in your fridge. (I always grate pecorino at home.)
Take a ball of buffalo mozzarella & cut it into thin slices.
Grab a handful of arugula, clean it & chop it roughly. Save some arugula for decoration.
After the 2nd resting phase the pizza crust is ready.
Preheat the oven to 250° C.
Add the tomato pulp generously & distribute evenly.
Add the grated pecorino.
Add the chopped arugula – & arrange the slices of mozzarella.
For the record:
There seems to be a lot of water … liquid … I doesn’t matter: it’ll be fine after the oven session.
Ready for the oven session.
Reduce the oven temperature to 175° C w/ fan & let the pizza work out for about 20 min.
Scatter the rest of the arugula all over the pizza & serve.
- 175 g all-purpose flour
- ½ packet dry yeast (about 3.5 g)
- ½ tsp salt
- 90 ml lukewarm water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 can Italian tomato pulp (about 400 g)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 buffalo mozzarella (about 125 g)
- 3 tbsp grated pecorino
- 1 handful arugula
- fresh oregano (some leaves)
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- handheld electric mixer
- Put all the ingredients for the yeast dough in a bowl and mix w/ a handheld electric mixer undtil well combined.
- Knead w/ your hands - knead thoroughly & form a ball.
- Cover the bowl w/ a tea towel & put the bowl in the oven. Heat the oven up for 2-3 min (at about 50° C) - then stop heating & leave the yeast dough alone. Let it chill in the cosy warmth for about 60 min.
- In the meantime pluck some oregano leaves & mince them. You need about ½ - 1 tbsp minced oregano.
- Mix the tomato pulp, the olive oil & the minced oregano; add salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Cut the buffalo mozzarella into thin slices. Set aside.
- Grate the pecorino ½or rely on some grated leftovers in your fridge from the last Italian pasta dish. Set aside.
- Clean & trim the arugula. Chop the arugula roughly, however, leave some arugula for decoration. Set aside.
- After about 60 min the yeast dough ball has - at least - doubled its size. Knead into a flat disk & roll out on baking parchment into a almost round or more oval pizza crust.
- Put the mess on a baking tray & return it to the warm oven for about 20-30 min. The dough will rise a little & get totally fluffy.
- Preheat the oven to 250° C after having removed the pizza crust.
- Add about 50% up to 75% of the tomato pulp mess & distribute evenly.
- Add the grated pecorino resp. parmesan & distribute evenly.
- Add the chopped arugula & distribute evenly.
- Add the slices of buffalo mozzarella & distribute evenly.
- Put the pizza into the preheated oven & reduce the temparature to 175° C w/ fan on.
- Bake for about 20 min.
- Scatter the last of the arugula all over the pizza.