Pizzais among the most popular ready-to-eat party meals, prepared and delivered without any ‘labor’ from your side. However, with a little effort, and a few tips and secrets to avoid ending up with a misshapen, charred, mess, you can create a perfect pizza right at home bound to impress your family and friends.
Begin with a clean, dry surface on to which you measure the required flour in a heap. Mix together the specified yeast, salt and sugar in warm water. Using water at about 35° C will ensure the yeast reacts properly — not too fast nor too slow.
Make a deep well in the middle of the flour and add a third of the yeast preparation to the center. Gently fold in flour from the middle of the heap taking care to retain the shape of the well in the center. Gradually add the remaining water until a sticky dough is formed. Do not worry if it feels too wet. Kneading makes a huge difference. Working your dough for 10 minutes will help to release the proteins in the flour and give you a stronger, stretchier end product.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and fold it into itself a few times to delay the fermentation process.Cover with plastic cling-film and allow the dough to sit until it doubles in size in roughly 45 minutes to an hour.
Divide your dough into balls of roughly 200g each.Use both hands in a scissor motion, bringing the edges of your palms together to give a smooth top and pinched bottom to ensure an even rise of the dough ball.
Place, evenly spaced, on a lightly floured tray. Leave approximately three centimeters between each round. When they have expanded enough to touch each other, carefully remove each round with a pastry scraper, taking care to retain their shapes, and turn the smooth side down onto lightly floured surface.
The best way to shape, especially if you are a beginner, is to use yourfingertips and middle of fingers to gently stretch your round into a flat circle, and keep pushing the edges out until it reaches your desired size.
Topping and baking:
Place your base onto a baking tray that has been lightly dusted with semolina or flour.To achieve a good, even spread of sauce, it is worth purchasing a flat-bottomed ladle. Alternatively, ladle as evenly as possible and spread with a large tablespoon to fill in the gaps. Next, cover with your chosen toppings. It is best to place the topping ingredients where the sauce is thinnest. This will reduce the final weight and make it easier to transfer into the oven in one piece.To ensure a great bake at home, make sure your oven is as hot as it can possibly get. Do not put your pizza in while the oven is still getting up to temperature.
Using up leftover pizza dough:
Dough remnants can be rolled into grissini (breadsticks) or prepared as a plait or little dough balls. To do this, smear a little oil onto a baking sheet and space your leftover dough shapes about a finger width apart.
Bake in a hot oven until golden and crispy. Add toppings like sesame seeds, black pepper, or dried chili by brushing a little egg white over, then sprinkling them on top