I love pizza:
1. I love to eat Angelo’s pizza. He is a real pizzaiolo from Naples that was so generous to move up north and bake his wonders in our neighborhood;
2. I love pizza in Naples. That is the one and only place for real Pizza. You will kindly watch out your belongings at all times hoping to bring some of them back with you, but the experience is just so worth it;
3. I love my Aunt’s pizza. She runs a small restaurant nearby and she bakes this lovely pizza with pumpkin, gorgonzola, bacon, parmesan and cherry tomatoes that is my all times favorite.
Yet, you cannot always go out to eat pizza, because it is expensive and the little man of the house mysteriously enjoys more to run around than to sit still for a couple of hours.
So I share with you my basic pizza recipe. As usual, it is just an idea. I mean: I am the kind of so-so cook that never follows a recipe, although I own many cookbooks, magazines and I save in paper and digitally a gazillions recipes.
What you need:
Time and patience. A lot of time and some patience. The quickest you can get pizza from scratch on your table with a regular store bought yeast is one and a half hour. There are shortcuts, but I would estimate at the very least this time. Hands on time is about the half of that.
25 g/1 ounce cake fresh yeast (you can reduce this if you let the dough rise more time. This amount is to have a leavened dough roughly in 1 hour). If you’re organized, reduce the amount of yeast and let the dough sit longer, the taste will definitely improve and result less “yeastly”. I have no idea about dry yeast. I just bought a vase and I am contemplating it, a bit afraid of opening it yet.
500g/2 full cups of all purpose flour (if you wish, you can substitute whole wheat, gluten-free, spelt…)
1 glass of cold milk (yes, it can be substituted with water or beer if you like. The dough will be softer with milk, crunchier with water or beer. I do not recommend vegetable milk. I tried soy and it was awful)
1 glass of warm water
How much is 1 glass? I guess it depends upon the glass, so I have no idea. Definitely it is less than a cup, probably it is a scant 2/3 cup.
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Flour for dusting
How to do it:
Wash your hands darling and wash a workable surface to knead the sticky thing later.
I usually mix the water and the milk in a big bowl. Take a drop and pour it on your wrist: it should feel nice and tepid (too warm: warning! You are going to exterminate those tiny microbes that leaven up the whole thing; too cold: the lazy microbes are going to have a hard time waking up and starting to eat, so it may take more than an hour for the dough to rise properly).
Then I dissolve the yeast in the bowl with a whisk. You can always use your precious hands. I’d rather keep mine dry at this stage.
Add a little flour at time, whisking like mad to avoid any clumps. After you have added something like half a cup, add the salt and oil. Mix and keep adding flour. When the dough starts to thicken so much that your whisk is horribly stuck, get it out, and yes it is real hands on time now.
I pour some more flour on top, some flour on the surface, take the sticky thing out of the bowl and knead it adding more flour little by little up to the end of the two cups. To me pizza dough should be soft and a bit sticky. So try to use about two cups of flour or very little more.
Put the dough in a bowl (wood would be lovely, so your beloved microbes will feel nice and cozy), cover it with a clean cloth and let it rise for about 1 hour or until doubled.
Now the dough is ready to be rolled, decorated and baked.
More on toppings in another post to come.