Welcome to my baking blog Oh Sweetness!, where flour, sugar, egg and butter are the main ingredients. This is my first blog post ever and because of this I thought I would write about something most people have or have had a serious relationship with. And because I think it is something you should bake from scratch. With the right recipe it is simple and a lot of fun. So, here we go!
A lot of different cheese or only mozzarella? Thin crust or thick crust? Vegetarian or meat packing district? Making your own, home made pizza is a perfect opportunity to get it just the way you like it. It is not just easy as a pie, it’s fun and something you can, believe it or not, actually make on a Monday, from scratch – if you just plan a tiny bit.
So, the pizza process as well as any other baking, can be divided into three stages – I tend to see everything as a process – where the first is the dough followed by the sauce which is then topped of with the topping. While writing this, I have to add a forth stage, the cheese. A pizza without cheese is like icing without cake, so it deserves its own stage.
Making dough is something we all aspire, I guess. The pizza kind demands less effort. My pizza dough recipe is adapted from the swedish cook book writer Anna Bergenström and her fantastic book Love, Olives and Thyme (Kärlek, oliver och timjan, 2001, Albert Bonniers Förlag AB). It’s really simple and it’s ok to just let it rise for about 40 minutes, during which time you can prepare the tomato sauce and the topping.
I use organic yeast from Jästbolaget (imported from Germany) and I need to tell you something about this. The color, texture and smell differs vastly from the normal yeast. The smell is strong, but it has a freshness to it that doesn’t come with the regular yeast. Using yeast while baking bread can be considered controversial by bakers devoted to the sour dough. I am very anxious to explore the mystery world of the sour dough. My attempts of growing my own dough have literally gone down the drain every time. So organic yeast it is for now. Note! You don’t need to use the whole package of 50 grams which is the usual amount stated in swedish bread recipies. You can use half of it, and even half that (12g) and get awesome bread. You only have to prolong the rising time.
While we’re at it, let’s reflect over the tomato sauce for a couple of minutes. Tomato sauce can be done the advanced way – according to Jamie Oliver who lets his fresh, pealed tomatoes simmer with organic garlic, onions, a hint of chili and fresh grounded organic herbs for at least an hour – or the Monday way through a can of organic tomatoes. With the onions and garlic, we can reach pretty far up.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to what you put on your pizza, if you feel like going bananas, go right ahead. As the minimalistic person that I am, I prefer one or two ingredients for the topping and right now olives and salami have been two frequent visitors at my pizza parlor lately. But for this particular Monday pizza I went with organic thin sliced ham.
I read somewhere that if you ever try the real deal, that is mozzarella made out of buffalo milk, you’ll never go back to that semi-half-way-intruder branded “mozzarella”. That, my friends, is true and I will say no more. But as heavenly as it tastes I buy the organic plain mozzarella from Zeta until the real deal organic.
# 12 g organic yeast
# 200 ml lukewarm water
# 1 tsp organic honey
# 2 tbsp organic whole milk (3%), at room temperature
# 2 tbsp organic virgin olive oil
# a pinch of salt
# 500 g of plain flour
1. Crumble the yeast in a large bowl and let it dissolve in the water before adding the honey, salt and milk.
2. Add the olive oil and then add the flour. Mix the ingredients to a smooth but a little sticky dough.
3. Sprinkle some flour on top and let the dough rise for 40–60 minutes. It should double in size.
4. Roll out the dough on a parchment covered baking tin (30×40 cm). Dust with some flour if the dough is too sticky.
# 1 organic yellow onion, finely chopped
# 2 cloves of organic garlic, finely chopped
# 400 g organic canned crushed or whole tomatoes
# 3 tbsp of water
# a pinch of organic bouillon powder
# freshly grounded organic black pepper
# 6 slices of organic ham (the sandwhich ham type)
# 200 g organic mozzarella, sliced
# a couple of fresh organic basil leaves
1. Gently fry the onions in some olive oil. Add the garlic and stir for a couple of minutes.
2. Stir in the canned tomatoes, water, the bouillon powder and pepper. Let simmer for 10-12 minutes. The sauce should be thick for not making the pizza soggy. You can add some fresh herbs like oregano or thyme.
3. Evenly spread the tomato sauce onto the crust and then add your choice of topping and cheese.
4. Bake for 12–15 minutes in 250 °C.
5. Sprinkle some basil leaves on top before serving.
6. Enjoy with a fresh salad of the season. E.g locally produced lettuce, tomatoes, organic grapefruit, olive oil, salt and black pepper.