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Simple Homemade Pizza Dough

Why go through the ordeals (if one may say so) of making a pizza at home when piping hot pizza will be on its way home after a few minutes of placing an order over a telephone?

Simply because it is quite easy, gratifying and thrilling to make your own pizza! These are my reasons for making my own. People [1] who make their own stuff will vouch for it. Apart from the looks of appreciation and delight you receive from your folks, which in my humble opinion should be reason enough to make a pizza at home, a pizza made at home from scratch scores on many fronts.

As much as I enjoy a piping hot pizza that arrives within half an hour of me disconnecting the phone, I’m always skeptical if not uncomfortable about the ingredients used. It is definitely not something that I would dare to eat often.

But when I make a pizza at home, I’m in total control of what goes into its making. The organic wheat flour, healthy vegetables and fresh cheese that I use ensure a fret-free bite.

I made my first pizza from the book Great Vegetarian Dishes [2].I arrived at the recipe given below after testing many yeast-flour combinations.

My cousin’s visit [3]was followed by another visit from her younger sister who happens to be another huge fan of my 6 ½ month old. Raksha spoke about Harivansh and his antics to her younger sister Vedika for an entire day. When Vedika’s study holidays were announced no one could stop her from visiting to see her nephew, in her own words.

Vedika is a huge fan of pizza and I had to make some for her. I used a topping of sliced red and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, olives and mozzarella cheese with a sprinkling of some dried oregano and pepper, ingredients that were available on hand. Vedika enjoyed every bite of her pizza, as much as I enjoyed making it for her.

Simple Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe

This is a versatile pizza dough and you can use any combination of fresh vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, etc. The crust is crisp and on the thinner side. For the Pizza pictured above I have used a combination of sliced red and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, olives and mozzarella cheese with a sprinkling of some dried oregano and pepper. You can also make mini pizzas out of this dough and serve them as starters.

Ingredients:

210 gm (1 ½ cups) plain flour

Or

¾ cup whole wheat flour and ¾ cup plain flour

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

125 ml(1/2 cup) lukewarm water

¾ tsp sugar

1 ¼ tsp active dried yeast

Method:

In a bowl, add the sugar, yeast and water and allow to stand for 10 minutes or until frothy.

Sift the flour (or flours if using a combination of whole wheat flour and plain flour) and the salt in a large bowl, make a well in the centre, add the yeast mixture and the oil and mix into a firm dough. Knead briefly until the dough is smooth and elastic, about a minute or two. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for an hour or two hours, until it is double in size.

Punch the dough until it is reduced in size, knead into a small ball. Preheat your oven at its maximum temperature, about 250 degree centigrade(475 degree F or gas mark 9) and on a lightly floured surface, roll into an approximately 10” base.

Carefully transfer the rolled pizza dough to a lightly oiled/greased baking sheet or pizza stone. Spread with a tomato sauce if desired and sprinkle the toppings of your choice over the pizza, leaving a 1/4″ border around the edges. Toss in some good cheese for added measure. :-)

Bake it for about 10 minutes, until the edges are nicely browned and the pizza looks irresistible.