Homemade Pizza: Thai Style and Basil Pesto

November 23, 2011 in Main Course, Recipes by shilpamshinde

Pizza from scratch, dough and toppings

Pizza is a staple diet for us, we eat it for lunch pretty often, but I never have made it at home. Well one of the reasons for that is the dough, I have always been wary of making dough from scratch. What if it does not work? But then the daring bakers happened and I am no more afraid of making bread. Even before I joined the daring bakers, they had a month where they made pizza dough. Since I trust the daring bakers, I decided to try the daring bakers recipe for the pizza dough. The recipe is online on a number of websites. For the toppings I decided to go with two different types of toppings; 1) Thai Style and 2) Basil Pesto.

The dough is good for three 9″ pizzas.  The original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart. I referred to this recipe at the following site: http://pinchmysalt.com/2008/10/29/im-a-daring-pizza-baker/

Ingredients:

For dough
  1. 2 1/4 Cups Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled
  2. 1/2 Tsp Salt
  3. 1/2 Tsp Instant yeast
  4. 1/8 Cup Olive oil or vegetable oil
  5. 7 ounces Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
  6. 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  7. Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting
For Thai Style Pizza
  1. Shredded carrots
  2. Bean sprouts
  3. Peanuts
  4. Cilantro
  5. Green onions
  6. Spicy Peanut Sauce
For Spicy Peanut Sauce
  1. 1 teaspoon oil
  2. 1 tbsp thai red curry paste
  3. 2 tsp light soy sauce
  4. 1 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
  5. 2 tsp sweet chili sauce
  6. 1 tsp brown sugar
  7. 1 tsp paprika
  8. 1 tsp sesame oil
  9. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  10. 1/4 cup vegetable broth
For Basil Pesto Pizza
  1. Red Onions (sliced)
  2. Green pepper (sliced 1″ strips)
  3. artichoke hearts
  4. cashews
  5. 1/4 – 1/2 cup basil pesto
  6. shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

For Spicy Peanut Sauce:
  • Heat the oil and add the red curry paste to it and fry it for a couple of minutes.
  • Next add the coconut milk and vegetable broth.
  • Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer for a couple of minutes till the sauce thickens.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and set it aside for use later.
For the Dough:

~ Day One ~

  • Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).
  • Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) 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 homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

  • Flour a work surface or counter.  Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.
  • With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 3 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

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

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

  • Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray 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 thee 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 tablespooons 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.

~ Day Two ~

  • On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 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 disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm 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 the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

  • Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 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 by 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 would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully, then try again. You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

  • When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter – for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.
  • Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

  • Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

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

We loved the pizza. They turned out to be thin and the crust was crisp and well done. We loved it and this is definitely going to be made a number of times at my place. I am sure you would love it too. Daring bakers did it again. The dough was really good and gives me the courage to try out other kinds of pizza dough, maybe some whole wheat dough, a healthier version…

Shilpa