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Homemade Pizza and Using a Pizza Cutter

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Everybody loves homemade pizza. And there is only one thing that can make the pizza experience even better – a pizza cutter or pizza wheel.

Who wants to try to cut delicious slices with the knife?

We have just got two new styles of pizza cutter in stock that won’t hurt your pocket and will be a great addition to holiday food service.

There is no two ways about it; pizza is probably one of the most favourite foods in the world, especially among kids. And this makes it a perfect easy to prepare weekend meal for the family.

You can do all your prep before the time and just assemble the pizzas when you’re ready to eat.

You can either make the pizza dough yourself or buy readymade pizza bases at the supermarket.

It is much more fun to make the dough yourself. There are many recipes available, but most consist of these six ingredients

Ingredients for Homemade Pizza Dough:

  • Yeast
  • Sugar (Honey)
  • Water
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Flour (bread flour or all-purpose flour work great)

Working with Yeast

So remember, this homemade pizza dough is yeasted dough which requires active dry yeast.

Don’t be afraid of working with yeast, just make sure it is fresh otherwise it won’t activate.

You need to first proof (activate) the yeast – mix together with warm water and sugar until it becomes foamy. Mix the yeast, warm water and sugar well. After about five minutes, the yeast should begin to foam or bloom, indicating that the yeast is still active and alive. (Make sure the water isn’t too hot because it will kill the yeast and it won’t become active.

Once the yeast is proofed add olive oil, about ¾ of the flour and salt and stir to combine.

You can use all-purpose flour instead of the bread flour that is called for in the recipe, but bread flour is higher in gluten than all-purpose flour and will make a crispier crust for your pizza. If you want to do this gluten free, use your favourite gluten free flour.

As the dough forms a sticky ball, add more flour, and then, on a floured surface knead the dough for about five minutes until a smooth ball forms.

(If you have a mixer or a bread bread machine, you will follow their instructions.)

Making the Pizza Dough

Spread a thin layer of olive oil over the inside of a large bowl. Place the pizza dough in the bowl and turn it around so that it gets coated with the oil. For a quick rise, place the dough in a warm place. Cover the dough with plastic wrap.

Best option is to let the dough rise for about 30 minutes until it has doubled in size, but you don’t need to let it rise.  If you do let the dough rise, your pizza crust will have a lighter texture.

By this time the dough should be smooth and stretchy and you can roll and smooth it into the shape you prefer.  Some experts don’t like the idea of using a rolling pin on pizza dough, they use their hands to shape and stretch it.

For a family, rectangular pizzas are easier to cut, but round ones work just fine.

If you want to be a true Italian pizza artist, check out this tutorial on how to stretch your pizza dough

Baking the Pizza

At this point it is ready, seat, go. Don’t wait for the dough to rise. Bake it as quickly as you can.

As few of us have a pizza oven or even a pizza stone to use for baking, it is a good idea to pre-bake the pizza crust for about five minutes before putting the toppings on.

That way you will avoid a beautifully grilled cheese top layer and a soggy bottom.

Depending on the thickness of your dough, your toppings and your oven, bake at 250° for 25-30 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.

Best Baked Pizza Dough Tips

  • Bake the pizza on the lowest rack of your oven to ensure that the crust is closer to the heating element than the cheese.
  • If you notice pockets of air forming in the dough, prick them with a fork.
  • Before pre-baking my pizza crust, I heat the oven with a pizza stone inside. If you don’t have a pizza stone you could use a baking tray (like a cookie sheet), turned upside down.
  • You can also make the pizza dough the night before and let it rise in the fridge, in an airtight container, overnight, to save time.
  • While you are pre-baking your pizza, get the sauce and toppings ready and then bake for 15 – 25 minutes till the cheese is bubbly and just going brown and the crust is firm and golden brown.

Pizza Sauce and Toppings

Besides the pizza base, one of the critical elements of your pizza is the tomato sauce that you spread as a first layer.

I’ve tried many recipes but have settled on some variations of this Thick Rich Pizza Sauce because it is a perfect multi-purpose red sauce that can be used for pasta dishes, Mexican Salsas or other sauces.  This recipe is also very convenient because you can make the red sauce in bulk and freeze it.

For those who like a bit of heat on their pizza, you can either add some extra chillies or red pepper into the sauce or put chillies or jalapenos as a topping.

What I love most about making homemade pizzas, is that I can create my own topping paradise, which for me being vegetarian is probably mushroom, olives, artichokes and then slices avocado just before serving – with plenty of raw, chopped chillies in oil.

The beauty of this is you can cater to individual sometimes fussy tastes of friends and family by creating a spread of toppings and asking everybody to “build” their own pizza.

Best Cheese for Pizza

Mozzarella Cheese is the most commonly used cheese for pizzas due to its light and creamy texture.  Most other cheeses are great as a second cheese with sprinkled parmesan way ahead of the pack. Other cheeses like gorgonzola, blue cheese and Gouda are also popular. Cheddar isn’t great as a main cheese for a pizza because the cheese doesn’t tolerate a sustained heat as well as other cheeses like Romano and ricotta.

In order to really enjoy your homemade pizzas you need a pizza wheel for cutting the pizza. Also a good garlic press will make your life easier as most folk like garlic on their pizzas. Take a look at the new Cookstyle Range at Household Plastic.  Besides a pizza wheel and a garlic press, we also have egg whisks, peelers, ice cream scoops and a whole range of essential kitchen requirements.

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