Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Some of you may know about my love for pizza. Its a small okay, its a huge obsession. And my one soft spot. Give me perfect pizza and ask for the impossible, you'll have it.

So when the Daring Bakers (of whom I'm not a member), baked beautiful pizzas, which were flying all over the blogosphere, I simply had to try it.

My other current obsession is with all things related to baking bread and Peter Reinhart. I've tried numerous recipes of his and every single one of them has been a success. I've gone ahead and ordered my own copy of his book (not an easy thing to acquire in India, let me say!).

I followed the recipe exactly as given by Rosa for the Daring Bakers challenge. This is a lovely thin crust pizza and we, at home, are thin crust people. Ahem...not that I would say no to a gorgeous slice of Chicago deep dish!

Basic Pizza Dough
(from Rosa at Rosa's Yummy Yums, and originally from Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice")

Makes 6 crusts (about 10 inches in diameter)

4 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour, chilled
1 3/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Instant Yeast
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 3/4 cups Ice Cold Water
1 tbsp Sugar
Semolina/ Durum Flour or Cornmeal for dusting

Day One

Mix together the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are distributed. The finished dough should be springy, elastic and sticky, not just tacky.

Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/ parchment. Lightly oil the paper. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.

Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to three days. Note: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil (a few tablespoons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator. I left one in the refrigerator and five in the freezer.

Day Two

On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly two hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disk about 1/2" thick and 5" in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

At least 45 minutes before making pizza, place a baking stone (I got some unglazed tiles at a local crafts shop here and started using those as pizza stones!) on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (260 deg C).

Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take one piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

Note: Make only one pizza at a time.

During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping. In case you have trouble tossing or the dough doesn't expand, let it rest for 5-20 minutes and try again.

When the dough has the shape you want (about 10" in diameter), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

Top it with sweet or savory toppings. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone or bake directly on the jelly pan for 5-8 minutes. After 2 minutes, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180 deg.

Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or a plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing and serving.

I made one with a pesto base with capers, roasted garlic and mozzarella, and the second one with a tomato base and jalapeno and chicken sausage as toppings. The crust was thin and chewy and flavorful. I'm glad I still have 4 in the freezer! :-) Here's the lovely upshot - see how thin it is - almost transparent!

Check out what my fellow bloggers have been up to:
DK, Siri, Srivalli, Ranji, PJ, Curry Leaf, Medha, Priya, Bhawna, Raaji, Ruchii, Kamala, Roopa, Divya Kudua, Rekha, Divya, Lakshmi, Raaga, Lakshmi, Sripriya, Viji, Kamalika, Pavani, Karuna and Roochi.


lemonade said...

Hey! i love your blog..i follow it through a reader, so i dont think i've ever left a comment before..sorry..

I find it amazing that you post something almost everyday, which is hard for people who dont even have to cook and take photos, let alone write the actual post! :)

The pizza looks delish by the way! I was wondering, the jalapenos that you put on the pizza, are they the regular pickled jalapenos in a jar or is there somewhere i can find fresh jalapenos in madras?

Ranjani said...

You are an inspiration!!
I am soooo going to make pizza tonight...or perhaps order:))

All your food looks absolutely divine and I have to tune in everyday to check the fabulousness that you've cooked up! Sigh....your fam must be a bunch of happy campers:)

Priya said...

Woww lovely thin pizza crust...makes me hunger...prefectly prepared n looks scrumptious...would love to have them rite now...

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Wow Nice Pizza I was planning one for the weekend...

Curry Leaf said...

Lovely and fantastic.I too love pizzas -not pizza hut ones though.I make dough sometimes or use an instant crust mix.Lovely and lovely :P

natalia said...

Ciao ! Your pizza looks just great ! I enjoied the recipe too but you were great with the toppings !

Medhaa said...

Glad you tried this, even we loved it at home and now if we want pizza its homemade. The jalepenos one must hev been real spicy. Looks great

Uma said...

Tell me who isn't obsessed with a pizza? It's such a delicious treat one could have! Your pizza looks so delicious and lovely. Yummy!

raaji said...

Anu the pizza piece in the last pic was so much similar to a paper transparent......i love the idea of making the crust at home.......actually i have almost been searching for pizza crust dough in stores...but coulnt find them...proably this would solve my problem..

Bharti said...

Bootiful pizza! We're thin people too...Chicago style I like but I'll eat it like once in six months, only at the original Uno's though. It's just not the same at the franchises.

Bhawana said...

wow pizza looks yummy, crunchy and topping are very tempting. I am sure it wud have tasted very good.

Sunshinemom said...

Anu!! This is stupendous!! Haven't used that one yet - I am running out of new adjectives:) The topping looks so delightful!

Vibaas said...

Love your recipes. You give very clear instructions :) Love your chennai blog too. It'll be so useful for me if and when i return to chennai for good..Till then i'll just keep dreaming about it..and stay in touch with the changes thro' your blog :)

sowmya said...

has come out really good..looks yumm

Madhu said...

This is my fav kind, thin crust, spicy ,less cheese. Looks delish.

Divya Kudua said...

Sheer many pics and even more tempting descriptions..;-)not the way you've taken the last pic..yummy!!

rekhas kitchen said...

nice and very very intresting recipe looks yummy too

divya said...

girl- of all the posts that u ever blogged..I had to come exactly to see this post! I already gave u
the i need to say more ;)


Raaga said...

I'm spending an entire day with you... if you'll bake all this for me.

Roochi said...

Lovely... guess what I too made pizza at home yest.. its right on my blog. :)

Srivalli said...

Anu..that looks so it like the ones we eat during our lunch outing?

Happy cook said...

Wow your pizza looks so delicious. I lve piza if they are having thin crust and this looks really thin aznd yumm the way i love them.
Is it chillies i see on the topping and if it is i am drooling here

anudivya said...

Love how thin it is... nice work. Pics are just too good.

kamala said...

Wow so thin..Tempting with your pics Anu..

karuna said...

this is the kind of pizza my hubby loved. thin crust. ooo and those jalepenos just made my mouth water.
keep up the good work

Arundathi said...


@ Lemonade - Thanks for stopping by. Yes the jalapenos are the pickled kind from a bottle - I haven't come across fresh jalapenos in madras. Will let you know if I do.

Ranjani - I hope you made it and didn't order in! My fam says "enough pizza already!"!

Raaji - I hope you tried it!

Vibaas - Thanks for visiting the other blog too!

Raaga - spend a week!

Roochi - am off to check yours out!

Valli - hmm... do you mean at cedar's? yes kinda like that.

Happy Cook - they're jalapenos actually - my favorite pizza topping!

Sig said...

oh wow a pizza from scratch, hats off to you... I am trying to decide between the roasted garlic and mozzarella one and the jalapeno and sausage one... okay, give me one with all those together :)

Siri said...

Jalapenos are my fav too Anu and the thin crust pizza loks diviiiiinnneeeeeee..:D

love the variety you have been posting for RM..:)


Arundathi said...

Sig - Half and half comin' right up!

Siri - Thanks babe!

Aparna said...

That pizza challenge was a good one. Seeing how good yours is, you should consider joining the DBs.

Arundathi said...

Aparna - thanks - thats a huge compliment!

Priya said...

Inspired by your posts on pizza, I made some thin crust pizza for myself this weekend Arundathi. I usually make the thick ones, but this time it was thin crust and I think that's how its going to be from now on :)

Arundathi said...

Priya - thats great! thin crust is really the way to go!

bee said...

i've been making this reinhart base too - from heidi swanson's blog. love it. i've started using the pizza screen on top of the stone or instead of the stone depending on my mood - crisper base and i don't burn myself trying to wrest it out of the stone.

the screen is a fraction of the price, comes in various sizes, and is perfect of roasting veggies too. wonder if you get them in india. sadly, here' most stores don't have unglazed stone i must try using unsealed granite, maybe.

Arundathi said...

bee - nope havent seen a screen anywhere around but there's unglazed tiles lying around everywhere. i got two lying around on the side of the road! - terracotta tiles. its not great, but does the job.
granite would work very well.