Pizza is one of those funny things.
We all know it in its simplest form. Dominoes, deep pan, enough oil to call for George W Bush to send in the Marines. You never know, pizza might have WMDs. It’s totally possible. Right..? Guys..?
Nothing fancy, right?
Pizza, when done well, is nothing like this.
Luckily for us, we live among pizza genius. Some might say that it’s a slight overstatement, but to them, I say, to hell with it.
Haaaaaave you met
Theo Kalogeracos owns a place called Little Caesar’s, you may have heard of it (is it weird that one of the reasons I moved to Leederville is to be closer to pizza? Wait, don’t answer that.). He’s also the 2010 World Pizza Champion. Not bad for a Perth boy, huh?
When it comes to making pizza in our house, his book is our bible. Everything from making your own dough and sauces, to the toppings featured in his own businesses is featured. You’ll quickly discover that pizza’s range can be extended from simple ham and cheese, to an entire meal.
Making your own dough is a fairly simple, fun-for-the-whole-family affair. Because, let’s be honest, if I can do it, anyone can.
Basic Pizza Dough
From Theo & Co
1kg of “00” flour (you can pick it up in supermarkets)
20g dry yeast or 40g of fresh yeast
660ml cold water (really important that it’s cold)
Start by mixing all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Gradually incorporate wet and dry ingredients by slowly pouring in cold water, gently moving the water into flour mix.
It may take a couple of minutes for the dough to come together. You may not require all the water, and it’s always better to add more water, than to have it too sticky (though you can rectify this by adding more flour).
The kneading process involved consistent movement of the palms and heels of the hands, pressing down and away from the body, and turning clockwise after every pass.
If 1kg is too much, cut it in half and do it in batches. We’re aiming for a smooth ball of dough. It should be able to stretched quite thinly.
A roughly 200g ball of dough will can be made into a 25cm pizza .
Shape the dough into a round shape, and cover with a tea towel to keep from drying out. Leave to rest for 10 minutes or so (magical food science is happening to help it keep its shape), if it doesn’t take this time to rest, the dough with shrink once rolled out.
To get it round, dust your bench top and a rolling-pin with plain flour to prevent sticking.
Ooooor, you also get to practice Everyone’s favourite pizza dream. Throwing. God speed.
Yeah... Pizza making means you get to do this
After that, comes the fun part. Because just about anything can be put on a pizza (Theo’s famous for his lasagna pizza), and experimentation is how we learn, right?
So, wanting to get our vegetables, we made a Greek style pizza, consisting of kalamata olives, onion, roasted capsicum and bocconcini.
We also made pizza Bianca (with additional potato), which is thinly sliced potatoes with rosemary, and once it has come out of the oven, sprinkled with salt. For the sauce, we used some carbonara pasta sauce.
To finish it off, we had a chorizo, cherry tomato, onion and bocconcini laden delight.
Chorizo & Tomato
If you make pizza with any kind of frequency, do yourself a favour, and buy a pizza stone. It gets the base all crispy and awesome like nothing else. Otherwise, cooking on a wire rack is fine. If you’re going to use a stone/baking tray, sprinkle a bit of semolina on it first to stop the pizza from sticking.
Heat your oven to 250*c, and pizzas should probably only take between 5 and 10 minutes to cook, so keep an eye on them!
Then, came my time to throw one together.
After a trip to the Fremantle Markets over the weekend, where I couldn’t pass up the rows of fragrant, ripe berries, I knew dessert pizza was their destiny.
We just used the same base, however, you could sweeten the dough with some honey.
Melting a block of dark chocolate, I spread it thickly across the base of the pizza (nutella would also work well), and simply scattered the finely chopped strawberries and whole blue berries across the chocolate.
Once it came out of the oven, the pizza was dusted with a little bit of icing sugar, or could be drizzled with honey/more chocolate in you prefer.
How easy is that?
I shouldn’t need to warn you that it comes out of the oven piping hot. However, when you consider how quickly it got snatched up, and the cries of “Ow. Ow. Owowowowowowowow. That’s bloody hot” that followed, apparently, I do.
CHECK YA TEMPS.
It’s a problem, guys. A tasty, delicious problem.
Having capsicum fall off said pizza onto oven elements? This happens.
Bad, with a side of smoke inhalation. And hilarity.