Friday, August 28, 2015

Homemade Pizza


Pizza is a favorite of everyone; young and old alike! It's Italian by origin but you will find different flavor's of Pizza in every region of the world and in every household, everyone has their own way of making it. Pizza is something that I have literally grown up eating and that my Mom made quite often for us. She learnt making it from one of my Dad's friend's wife, they became our family friends later and we used to visit each other regularly. Both the Uncle and Aunty has passed away now but the memories of the time spent with them are still alive with us. May they both rest in peace, Ameen Sum Ameen.

As a little girl, I remember watching my mother making Pizza with quite an interest and with the anticipation of eating it soon. All of us siblings used to get so excited whenever she announced that she's making Pizza for dinner. I then started offering help to her with putting the toppings on the Pizza base smeared well with the Marinara Sauce or in other words the Pizza sauce which was available commercially. She made Pizza with cooked beef mince mostly with loads of other delicious toppings and lots of cheese covering them all. In it went to the oven to get baked then and the aroma wafting from the kitchen made us expectant children incredibly hungry and happy :D Those were the days when just eating your favorite food made you immensely happy but I still have that child alive inside and I am not willing to let it go ever.
As we grew up older, we always wanted chicken on Pizza therefore, my Mom switched to making with it. 


I remember we once held a Pizza party at home and that was the time when I actually learnt making Pizza from my mother. I was 13 at the time and observed how she kneaded the dough. The recipe that my Mom learnt to make from the Aunty used egg and milk and she always used the jar of Pizza sauce but after some years when I took on the role of the Pizza making myself, I simplified the dough recipe after reading several authentic Italian dough recipes and started making my own Marinara sauce as well.


The Pizza dough that I make, I add wholewheat flour to it along with the all-purpose one and my recipe does neither include any egg or milk powder and nor does it require milk to knead it. The addition of the wholewheat flour not only gives a beautiful color to the pizza crust but does enhance the flavors too. The authentic Marinara sauce recipe does not have any mention of adding dried Oregano leaves in it but I do add it in mine hence, you can say that's the only exception I've made to the authentic method as I love both the aroma and flavor of this herb.


The another trick my mom used and that I have continued using is that after spreading the sauce all over the Pizza base, sprinkle some of the cheese and then put all of your toppings over it and without topping everything with the grated mixed Mozzarella and Cheddar, bake into a preheated and very hot oven.This way it is ensured that both the crust and toppings are well cooked as the ovens at home aren't designed the way they are specially for pizza making in the commercial kitchens hence, by the time the pizza is cooked at home, the cheese gets hard and dark in color. To avoid that mess, we add the cheese after the pizza at cooked. By putting some cheese on the pizza base helps in keeping all the toppings in place and just sticks to the crust and you won't be getting it all over the place :)


After the Pizza is baked and everything including the crust is cooked through, we then top it with loads of cheese and in it goes again to the oven but this time just to melt the cheese and to give some color to it just by turning the top grill on. Once done, we take it out and let stand for a few minutes before serving it with Coleslaw and chilled Coke. This is not a healthy meal by any means but I do make a lighter version of the Coleslaw that I have shared the recipe of in my next post. Please find it here 
We have one round baking pan and the other is square so we always have two shapes of Pizza that we don't mind about at all as long as the Pizza is yummy! :D

Let's get some Pizza love Unleashed today! :D 


Homemade Pizza

Ingredients:

Dough

(for one large Pizza)

All-Purpose Flour: 2 1/2 cups.
Wholewheat Flour: 1 cup
Salt: 1 tsp.
Yeast: 1 pack (yields 2 1/4 tsp, active dry yeast or instant)
Sugar: 1 tbsp.
Olive Oil: 4 tbsp.
Lukewarm Water: as much as required to knead the dough.
Fine Semolina: 3 tbsp.

Marinara Sauce/Pizza Sauce:

Ripe Tomatoes: 500 gm/1.10 lbs (cut into small cubes)
Onion: 1 medium sized (chopped)
Fresh Garlic: 5,6 pods (finely chopped)
Olive Oil: 1 tbsp.
Salt: 1/2 tsp.
Brown Sugar: 1
Dried Oregano Leaves: 1/2 tsp.

Toppings:

Chicken: 1 cup (cooked and shredded or cubed, however you like it)
Bell Pepper/Capsicum1 large (sliced)
Onion: 1 large (sliced)
Canned Mushrooms: 5,6 (sliced)
Olives: 1/4 cup (sliced)
Mozzarella Cheese: 1 cup (grated)
Cheddar Cheese: 1 cup (grated)
Dried Oregano Leave: 1 tsp.
Red Chilli Flakes: 1/2 tsp (optional)



Method:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients for the dough together in a large mixing bowl expect for the semolina.
  2. If using the dry active yeast, then activate it according to the package instructions.
  3. Make a well in the middle of the mixed dry ingredients and pour the liquids in to it. 
  4. Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. 
  5. Keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. 
  6. Knead until you have a smooth, springy dough. Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. 
  7. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth/tea towel and place it at a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. 
  8. While the dough proofs or doubles in size, prepare the Marinara sauce.
  9. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, pour the olive oil and let it heat over medium flame.
  10. Now add the chopped onion and the garlic. Add the salt, mix and let everything sweat away for a bit.
  11. Once the onions and garlic softens, add the chopped tomatoes to them along with the brown sugar.
  12. Mix everything together well and cover the pot with the lid.
  13. Let this simmer over slow flame for 10-15 minutes.
  14. Uncover and you will see that lots of juices has been released from all the ingredients mixed together and the tomatoes have turned mushy.
  15. With a help of a hand-held blender, blend everything to the smooth sauce.
  16. Return this sauce over to the flame and cook for a few more minutes. Be careful while cooking the sauce. It will be bubbling over the flame and their is a possibility of the hot sauce getting on to your hand therefore, keep it covered and stir it carefully every now and then.
  17. Once the sauce thickens a fair bit, turn off the flame and let it cool down completely before using. You can store it in an airtight jar and keep it refrigerated and it can stay well for up to 1 week.
  18. Once the dough doubles in size, remove it to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands - this is called punching down the dough. 
  19. You can either use it immediately, or keep it, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the fridge (or freezer) until required. 
  20. If using straightaway, sprinkle semolina over your greased pizza pan. Roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick and gently transfer it to your pan.
  21. Leave it resting for 15-20 mins while you prepare your toppings. 
  22. Preheat the oven over 200C/400F/Gas-Mark 6.
  23. Spread the sauce over the rolled out pizza dough and sprinkle a little of both the cheeses over it.
  24. Now put all the toppings over it and let the pizza bake into the preheated oven on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes or till everything is cooked through.
  25. Take out the pizza when its done and top this cooked pizza with the remaining cheeses, sprinkle the dried oregano leaves and the chilli flakes over the top.
  26. Place the pizza back into the oven and turn on the top grill. Let it stay under the grill till the cheeses melt and obtain golden color.
  27. Turn off the grill and take it out of the oven. Let it stand for a few minutes before serving.
  28. Serve hot with the salad and drinks of your choice. Enjoy.
Makes one 16 inches Pizza



Notes: 
  1. Dough can be kneaded with the help of a stand mixer and a hook attachment if you do not wish to use the classic way of making it.
  2. Sauce can be made with the canned tomatoes too instead of using the fresh one. 
  3. If you wish to make the sauce spicy, just add a little bit of red chilli powder to it while its cooking. 
  4. The leftover sauce can be stored in an airtight jar and keeps well refrigerated for up to a week. This sauce can also be used in pasta, lasagna or any other dish that requires the use of a Marinara sauce. 
  5. You can use any topping of your choice

That's all Pizza Fans! :) Baking time can always be adjusted according to the type of your ovens. I hope you enjoy ,making and eating it. Until next time, keep sharing the goodness of this greatest blessing, that has been bestowed in abundance upon us the lucky ones, with the less fortunate ones.
Thank you and please remember in your Du'as/prayers! :)


*Not be duplicated, rewritten or published without permission- Thank you! 















37 comments:

  1. Always In Sha Allah:) well written and a lovely pizza bake well done :)

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    1. Jazak'Allah Khair, Asum! Your comment and appreciation always means a lot! :)

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  2. Replies
    1. It indeed is :) Thanks so much for liking! :)

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  3. Now I'm craving for some pizza!! There's nothing better than homemade pizza! I'l have to make it happen this week. Your marinara sauce and toppings looks delicious!!

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    1. Agreed upon totally, Dini! Nothing beats a well made pizza at home and another bonus point, you can just put anything over your crust according to your own liking! :D
      Thanks so much for liking! And guess what, we've already planned to make pizza over the weekend at my household too :D
      Have a great weekend!

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  4. Madhia,
    I am drooling- love the tip your mom taught you. Great recipe!

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    1. Thanks so much, Sandhya! I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this post!
      I'll let my mom know that her tip has been appreciated :D
      Have a good day!

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  5. I'm a New Yorker, and we're picky about our pizza - and that looks good!

    I do like the idea of adding the cheese at the end... Pizza places don't, but a proper pizza oven is much hotter than a home oven, so the crust and toppings cook much faster. At home, it's always been hard to cook the crust before the cheese runs all over the place!

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    1. I can totally understand that since I have a first hand experience of eating Pizza in different cities of the U.S while I was living there :) I really loved Chicago's deep dish pizza though.
      Really appreciate your comment and understanding of the pizza making so well :)
      Thanks very much for liking!
      Have a great day!

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  6. Home made is the best .. always !
    Lovely looking and perfect pizza ..

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    1. Thanks so much, Shoba Jee! Really means a lot! :)
      Hope you're having a wonderful day! :)

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  7. This looks delicious. I like your tip of adding cheese to the bottom part as well as on top. I make mine with half wholemeal flour too - a definite improvement ;-)

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  8. Gotta try this homemade pizza! Love the seasoning and the ingredients! Thanks for sharing this. :)

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    1. Glad you liked, Levan :) Do let me know how you liked it if you give it a try :)
      Thanks very much! :)

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  9. Homemade pizza is so much superior to the shop bought stuff... and your delicious looking pizza is making me extremely hungry now.

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    1. Jazak'Allah Khair! Really means a lot! :)

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  10. Homemade pizza is the best. We have a great time doing it. Everyone gets to pick their favourite toppings!!

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    1. That sure does sound like a lot of fun, Gloria :)
      Thanks so much for liking!

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  11. I love all pizza, especially homemade pizza! Delish!

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  12. Homemade pizza is the best!! Your recipe looks fantastic. I will use your tricks next time.

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    1. Thanks so much, Oriana! Please so and let me know how you liked :)

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  13. You are very smart! Placing cheese on the sauce layer first before adding toppings, is a technique I learned when I was about 18 or 19 years old. I used to work in a pizza shop; actually, that's how I paid for college. I was there for 4 years and we were told from the first day to place the cheese on the bottom, put the toppings on, bake for a few minutes, add more cheese and bake again. Looks like you figured this one out already. :) I'm the pizza maker in our home too. But, can I be completely honest? There is nothing I hate more than making pizza dough, so I always buy it pre-maid. Now, I'm hungry for pizza even though we had pizza for dinner last night. :) Great recipe, looks delicious, you picked a wonderful combination of toppings. YUM!

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    1. That's amazing, Byron! I'm so glad to hear that we already figured out something which is practiced at the pizza outlets :) Thanks so much for sharing your experience :)
      Guess what? We had pizza for dinner just a few minutes ago and I do not like the dough making process too; mom made it today and I did the rest :D I use machine for dough making though and mom does it the classic way i.e by using her hands :)
      Thanks so much for liking!

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  14. I love that your marinara sauce calls for fresh tomatoes and not the canned stuff like all the other recipes do.

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    1. Thanks so much, Noor! And it really tastes better than the sauce made with the canned ones :)

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  15. This is making me so hungry and its past midnight here ;) Delicious looking pizza and great tip too.

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  16. This looks amazing!! You can never go wrong with homemade pizza.. great recipe!!

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