Pizza and Other Doughs

How to make Pizza dough

Ingredients for 4 large pizzas (1 per person):

800 gms – 1.75 pounds – 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tsp of salt
450 ml – 15 oz. of water
1 sachet of dry yeast (7 gms – 1/4 oz.)
1 tbsp of sugar

Put the yeast and the sugar in 450 ml – 15 oz. of lukewarm water and set aside in a container at least twice that size so the yeast can activate.  In the meantime put the flour, salt and extra virgin olive oil in a mixer with a dough hook.

When the yeast mixture is frothy (refer to the picture), pour it into the mixer.

NOTE: This picture was taken for half the dose of this recipe

Knead for a couple of minutes, till the dough looks smooth.  It must feel soft and elastic when you touch it.  If you do not have a mixer, you can knead all the ingredients by hand for 5 to 10 minutes.  Make a ball with the kneaded dough, dust it with flour and set it aside in a large bowl covered with a dry cloth to rise for at least 2 hours or until it doubles in volume.

Pizza dough before it doubles in volume

Pizza dough ready to be rolled

Pizza toppings – the do’s and don’ts

The first time I went to eat pizza outside of Italy and I read the menu I was shocked.  There are so many weird (or beyond weird) topping combinations that it makes my skin crawl.  Now, everyone is free to eat their pizza as he/she pleases… only in many cases it is not something an Italian would call a pizza.  I am not going to detail all the strange toppings I have seen in my travels as that would take hours… I am just going to clear up a few basic misconceptions.

Let’s start from the sauce.  There is only one pizza sauce: tomato sauce.  You can add some salt, extra virgin olive oil and oregano to the tomato purée or leave it plain if you like, but anything other than that is not what Italians use on their pizza.  I have recently seen a plethora of places making pizza with ketchup or barbecue sauce (!!!)

Now, let’s move on to the cheese.  The basic cheese is always mozzarella.  Many places though do not use real or good quality mozzarella.  It is easy to spot the difference.  When cooked, real mozzarella melts but it is still soft and stretchy and it still tastes somewhat milky, unlike the “other” cheese that gets chewy, oily, plasticky and is much heavier.  When I make my pizza at home, I prefer to use bocconcini or mozzarella fior di latte… not the shredded “mozzarella” (?) that I find at the shops.

As for the remaining toppings… there are so many combinations that I will not be able to list all of them here.  I will just write a list of “classic” Italian toppings with the original name and list of ingredients.  But before I get into it, a quick note: Italian piazza does not come overflowing with toppings.  The “real” Italian pizza has “just enough” toppings to balance the flavours.  And there’s no “half and half”!

DO’s/Authentic toppings (all the cured meats are sliced, not cubed and are added AFTER the pizza is cooked with the exception of salami and ham):

MARGHERITA – Tomato sauce, Italian mozzarella, basil
MARINARA – Tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, extra virgin olive oil
CAPRICCIOSA – Tomato sauce, Italian mozzarella, ham, olives, mushrooms, artichokes, and/or whatever the chef desires
QUATTRO STAGIONI –Tomato Sauce, Italian mozzarella, ham, olives, mushrooms, artichokes, the last four of which are put in each ¼ of the pizza to symbolise the 4 seasons.
PROSCIUTTO CRUDO – Tomato sauce, Italian mozzarella, prosciutto
PROSCIUTTO COTTO – Tomato sauce, Italian mozzarella, ham
BRESAOLA/PROSCIUTTO, RUCOLA e GRANA – Tomato sauce, bresaola/prosciutto, rocket, shaved Grana Padano
DIAVOLA – Tomato sauce, Italian mozzarella, hot salami
FUNGHI – Tomato sauce, Italian mozzarella, fresh mushrooms
QUATTRO FORMAGGI – Tomato sauce, Italian mozzarella, Grana Padano, gorgonzola, ricotta/taleggio/fontina/provolone
SALSICCIA – Tomato sauce, Italian mozzarella, Italian sausage
TONNO e CIPOLLA – Tomato sauce, Italian mozzarella, tuna and onion
GORGONZOLA e SPECK/PROSCIUTTO – Tomato sauce, Italian mozzarella, speck/prosciutto, gorgonzola

In general, you can put almost any kind of vegetable, cured meat and cheese.

DON’Ts/Not Authentic toppings:

HAWAIIAN – ham and pineapple
SUPREME – pepperoni, bacon, capsicum, ground beef, Italian sausage, mushroom, pineapple and oregano
MEATLOVERS – bacon, pepperoni, ham, beef, Italian sausage and mozzarella on BBQ sauce
GOURMET PIZZA’s – in general… none of them are authentic.

In general Italians will NEVER put the following on a pizza:

Pineapple, chicken, ground meat, any meat unless cured (the only exception being sausage), bacon, salmon, satay or tandoori chicken, ketchup, BBQ sauce…

So, if you want to eat or make authentic pizza, you know what toppings to go for!  Happy pizza!

How to make Panzerotti dough

Dough (makes 4 to 5 panzerotti)
350 gms – 1 1/2 cup flour
35 gms – 2 heaped tbsp butter at room temperature
200 ml (¾ cup) lukewarm water
5 gms – 0.18 oz. dry yeast
¾ tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar

Put the yeast and the sugar in 200 ml – 6.75 oz. of lukewarm water and set aside in a container at least twice that size so the yeast can activate.

In the meantime put the flour, salt and butter in a mixer with a dough hook.

When the yeast mixture is frothy, pour it into the mixer.

Knead for a couple of minutes, till the dough looks smooth. It must feel soft and elastic when you touch it. If you do not have a mixer, you can knead all the ingredients by hand for 5 to 10 minutes. Make a ball with the kneaded dough, dust it with flour and set it aside in a large bowl covered with a dry cloth to rise for at least 2 hours or until it doubles in volume.

How to make Pâte brisée

I love this pastry dough as it is very versatile. The dough is neither sweet nor salty, so it can be used to make both sweets and savoury dishes. Besides, it is so easy to make and the result is great: flaky and delicious.

Recipe adapted from Giallo Zafferano

Ingredients (for a 24 cm – 9.5 inches springform pan):
200 gms – 7 oz. flour
100 gms – 3.5 oz.  cold butter, chopped
70 ml – 2.4 oz. cold water
1 pinch salt

Put the flour, chopped cold butter, salt and water in a mixer with a paddle attachment and knead until you get an elastic dough.

Make a ball, wrap it in cling paper and put it in the fridge for at least 40 minutes before rolling it out.

Then take it out of the fridge, roll it out and use for either sweet or savoury pies.

Share

Get More Updates!

Sign up to get exclusive updates & tips!

Genesis Framework for WordPress

Comments

  1. Lyla Crighton says

    Quick question, which might sound odd -if you are not from Canada.

    Our wheat is different that that in the US. Our raises more and requires less yeast (difference between hard and soft wheat).

    Could you tell me what flour is actually used for this recipe?

    Thank you,

    Lyla

    • says

      Hi Lyla! I always use all purpose flour (I live in Australia), though for pizza, focaccia etc. hard wheat would be best! I just cannot find it here… :-)

      • Boaz says

        Hi Manu,
        Yesterday evening we had 29 teenagers + 4 teachers (half from a students exchange from Germany and half from our son’s high school).
        I made 2.4Kilo of your great Pizza dough and about 1.5Kilo of the Suco (is that the name of the marvelous tomato puree).
        This was NOT meant to be the main course, but my appetizer was so good that it came up to be the center of the evening.
        Thanks again,
        Boaz
        p.s. I know you are keen of having pictures of you followers success, so please let me how can I send you one :-)

  2. Ivanhoe says

    Hi, congratulation for your pages! do you use butter in the dough instead of olive oil since it’s easier to found in Australia, or since you think it’s a better ingredient?

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>