Your Six Step Guide To Making The Perfect Pizza
Pizza is hugely popular with all ages, particularly children, but traditionally eating it comes down to three possibilities; you either buy a readymade one from the supermarket, go to a restaurant, or get it delivered to your doorstep. This is all great fun but this variety can be unhealthy; high in fat, salt , flavourings, sugar, and nutrition free ingredients. This is not only bad for your health but it is also a below par eating experience. A simple solution to this is often overlooked – you can make pizza quite easily! It is not only a fun experience but it is an educational one, as well as being an opportunity for creativity. If you want to gift your kids with some real, fun cooking experience then follow this simple guide to transform your kitchen into an amateur pizzeria.
1. Dough Ingredients
You’ll need these ingredients to make an excellent pizza dough, and a selection of any toppings which take your fancy. However, use these basics so you can make the perfect dough:
550g/1lb 3½oz (around THREE regular cups worth) of Plain/Wholemeal flour,
Active dried yeast,
250-350ml/8¾-12¾fl (about ½ a pint) of lukewarm water,
½ tablespoon of salt,
Black pepper (optional),
2. Kitchen Equipment And Basic Foods
You will need these basic items to help your preparation:
A pizza tray: Most supermarkets will stock these. They are cheap and very durable.
A mixing bowl,
A rolling pin.
For food ingredients you’ll certainly want a selection of vegetables (such as asparagus, tomato puree, tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, pepper), and grated cheese (low fat). You may also want to add anchovies, tuna or salami as a meat topping.
3. Preparation – Making The Dough
The important thing is to enjoy the whole creation of pizza dough. If you make mistakes have another try and don’t get disheartened. The more you practise the better you will become!
Firstly you will need to sieve the flour into your mixing bowl. Once you have done this use a tablespoon to make a hollow in the middle of the flour, and then add in two to three spoonfuls of active dried yeast. At this stage, if you wish, you can add lots of black pepper and some wheatgerm for added taste and nutrition.
Add the salt and three tablespoons of olive oil. Now it is time to as much of the lukewarm water. You can go on feel with this as your hands will be getting messy no matter what you do! Use a spoon to begin with; mix the ingredients together and then as it begins to come together use your hands to knead everything into one. Add additional flour if the mix is too sticky, or more water if it is too dry. You can actually punch the dough, if you wish, which will remove air pockets out of the mix.
After a few minutes your dough should begin to resemble a ball shape. Leave it in the bowl and cover with a damp towel for an hour.
4. Rolling It Out
Your pizza dough will have expanded after an hour. Now it’s time to roll it out! Spread some flour on a work surface, pull a handful off your dough mix and round it with your hands into a ball. Place this onto the flour and use a rolling pin (or your hands) to roll it into a familiar pizza shape. Once you are done transfer your pizza base to your pizza tray.
To help you on your way here are some useful toppings for your future pizza making. There really isn’t anything stopping your creativity here – experiment and enjoy! The basic idea is to add tomato puree and spread it out over your pizza base. Add the toppings decoratively before finishing off with spreading grated cheese over the top.
Asparagus, peppers and anchovy: Place the asparagus and pepper neatly circulating the pizza base. Add some chopped onion and layer on as much cheese as you want. Place the anchovies on top and you are ready to go.
Mushroom and Thyme: No need for puree with this! Add the thyme leafs and mushrooms to your pizza base along with chopped onions. Layer on the cheese and you will have a fabulous pizza ready and waiting to cook.
6. Into The Oven!
You should pre-heat your oven to around 190C. This is the easy bit – place your pizza tray into the centre of the oven and allow the pizza to cook for around 15 minutes, or until you consider it done.
Remove and, once cooled, slice away. Congratulations, you are officially on the right path to becoming a pizza expert! Check online for further recipes, and teach your kids how to perfect this popular meal.