Sunday, March 11, 2007

The trouble with pizza....

We like pizza a lot but in Japan it is quite difficult to find a restaurant that makes a really good one. And you can forget about home-delivered pizzas. Most of them look like that one on the picture, some kind of "kaleidoscope pizzas". Some of them have really weird toppings (like mayonnaise, to name only one). Believe me when I say I once had a pizza with curried rice on top. That was odd...

Anyway, there are plenty of recipes for pizza on Internet. Some of them come with mouthwatering photos and seem pretty easy to do at home.
This was our second attempt. It was OK but somehow not quite the right thing yet. The secret probably lies in the temperature of the oven, which often cannot reach temperatures as high as those of a wood-fired oven.
Our recipe for the pizza dough seemed alright though, so if anyone has got a trick about the cooking process, you are very welcome to share it.

This will make 2 big pizzas, for 3-4 persons:

-500gr flour
-50ml tepid water
-250ml water (room temperature)
-10gr dry yeast
-1 tbsp sugar
-7gr salt
-20cc olive oil

For the topping
-1 tin peeled tomatoes
-olive oil, salt, pepper, dry basil
-anything you like. We put mushrooms, sausage, fresh basil, mozzarella, Parmesan.

Dilute the yeast and sugar in 50ml tepid water, and let it become bubbly (will take about 10min).
Put the flour onto a work surface and make a big well in the middle. Add the salt and the bubbly yeast. With your fingers, slowly bring in more of the flour until the yeast mixture is soaked up. Gradually add 250ml water, while mixing in the flour. When it starts looking like a dough you can incorporate the olive oil. Work and knead it until it is smooth, for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise for about 1½ hours, until doubled in size.

Pre-heat your oven to its highest temperature (>240degC).
Punch the dough down and divide it into two balls. Take one ball and flatten it on a floured work surface to about 0.5cm thickness.
While the dough relaxes prepare the tomato sauce. Cook the peeled tomatoes in a saucepan with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, dried basil for only a couple of minutes.
Pour half of it on the prepared dough and add fresh basil, mushrooms, sausage, mozzarella, Parmesan. While the first pizza is in the oven you can take care of the second one.
In theory it should be cooked in about 10 minutes but with our oven it takes half an hour for the dough to be golden and crisp. After this time the topping is overcooked, which is a bit annoying. So we'll try again, sometime, and we'll (hopefully) be back with improvements.


h said...

To explore the wonderful world of Japanese pi-za (not pizza) check out the following website.

However, apart from the fact that they are rather pricey, I think they are fine. They are the calfornia rolls of in the pizza genre. This is how cuisine evolves, I guess.

grumpycandycandy said...

Yes, we had one of those last weekend, and it was really pricey.

To continue the weird topping list:
Potato, teriyaki chicken, scrambled eggs, rouille sauce... huuum, yummie!