Pan Pizza

I’ve tried thin crust pizzas with Dave. And mum had seen pictures of the process. She suggested that we try pan pizzas. And we did. My dad was out of town on work and we wanted to have the recipe working and approved before we could feed him home-baked pizzas. This was the day. I was starting work on Monday. And Friday, without dad, seemed just right.

The recipe for the dough was gotten from Cooking For Engineers. The toppings and the baking procedure were my own. Or well, just a basic bake-until-done approach.

Originally, when the idea to make pan pizzas had come up, I had looked up the following links at:
Serious Eats and
The Frugal Gal
And they had been saved on my laptop’s browser history. Come Friday morning, and there was no broadband connectivity. And hence no wi-fi. And the only other kind of internet connection I had was a dial up that is hooked up to the computer in my dad’s office. He uses that only when it’s absolutely necessary and on days the wi-fi is giving us trouble. So the recipe from Cooking For Engineers was printed out. And tried. No regrets.

Ingredients:
(makes two 9 inch pizza bases)
1. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2. 3/4 cup warm milk
3. 1/4 cup warm water
4. 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
5. 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
6. 1 1/3 cup wheat flour
7. 2 teaspoons active dried yeast
8. 1/2 teaspoon table salt

Method to make the dough:
1. Mix the yeast and the sugar with the warm water in a bowl and let this stand for about 10 minutes.
2. In a mixing bowl, sift both the flours and the salt.
3. Add the oil, and the water mixture to this and begin mixing. Add milk gradually to form a consistent dough.
4. Knead the dough for 10 minutes or so.
5. Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough in it. Cover it and let it rise in a warm place for 3-4 hours, or until doubled in size.

Here are a couple of important tips when you’re making breads.
(off Cooking For Engineers)
1. Greasing the bowl prevents the dough from sticking to it. If the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, it will somewhat inhibit the rising of the dough and that’s not good.
2. If there’s a seam to your ball of dough, it should be placed on the bottom of the bowl to prevent excess gases from escaping as the dough rises.

Method to make the pizza base:
1. Break the dough into two equal sized portions. Roll them into balls.
2. On a flat surface, sprinkle some flour and roll out dough into a flat round piece, about a fourth of an inch thick and just a little bigger than your 9 inch (round) baking tray.
3. Coat the baking tray with some olive oil and lower the rolled out pizza base into it. Some of the dough will stick above the basic circumference of the pan. The oiled surface will help that to slice downwards, giving the pizza base the thick, pan crust.
4. With a fork, poke a few holes into this base, just before baking. This helps aerate the crust, giving you that added fluffiness.

Seconds before it went into the oven

5. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C. Cook the pizza base for about 10 minutes.

Once the pizza bases have been cooked, you can set them aside. You can even wrap them up in cling wrap or foil and store them in your refrigerator for up to a week.

Seconds before it went into the oven (again)

Method to make the pizza:
1. I’ve use the recipe for the pizza sauce from my post on thin crust pizzas. For the toppings, I used green peppers, salami, onions, olives, jalapenos and cheese.
2. Top your pizza base first with the sauce and then with veggies/meat of your choice.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C. Cook the pizza for about 15 minutes.

The sides of the crust begin to brown. And the cheese is molten and has begun to brown too. That’s when you know your pizza is done.

Friday’s pizza party (just mum and me and a pizza trial) was a success. Dad got home Saturday afternoon. The pizzas were described. My dad was tempted. And a plan was made, again. For Sunday. Sunday morning, my mum commanded me to knead dough for six 9 inch pizzas. Yes, six. I do not own a Kitchen Aid. I trebled measures. And I kneaded for close to twenty five minutes. Non-stop. I should have been paid!! No, really. I should have. It was sheer brutality. I also baked banana crumb muffins that evening.

Dinner was a hit. G dropped in for a bit, to take some muffins home to his family and also taste some of the pizza because I had raved enough about it when I met him with his friends on Saturday night at a club. Apparently, it’s cool to go partying and dancing. I’ve never done it before. This was my first time. I did not enjoy it. But then, that’s just me.

And yes, six 9 inch pizzas were consumed on Sunday evening. Along with a dozen banana crumb muffins. That’s my family!

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