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"Italian pizza crust," my late aunt Peggy criticised in her thick-bound notebook, "is that it becomes tough when cold. Pizza crust is not meant to become cold, but eaten scorchingly hot straight from the oven when pizza is at its absolute best." And then she wrote this lovely authentic recipe for pizza dough and a delicious tomato sauce to accompany it. Plus many more recipes.
When feeling better and having spare time I will be posting a lot of her pizza recipes and hope these could become useful to you guys who enjoy cooking. Pizza is incredibly easy to make. It's nutritious, far cheaper than shop bought or takeaway ordered. Making it takes hardly any time at all. While the pizza dough is rising you can busy els.where.
To make standard pizza dough
10.5 oz / 3 cups / 300g unbleached strong white flour
1 heaped teaspoon salt
half teaspoon of active dried yeast granules, or, half-oz / 15 g fresh compressed fresh yeast
half teaspoon sugar
6 fl oz / 3⁄4cup / 175 ml hand-hot water
generous tablespoon fruity olive oil (I guess she meant extra-virgin olive oil)
Mix all the ingredients together though you may need a little more or a little less water depending on the absobancy of the flour. When the dough comes together, it shouldn't be sticky so add a little sprinkling more of flour. Finally coming to a ball, leaving the sides of the bowl clean, take the dough out and knead it on a lightly floured work surface.
The dough needs to take on a lithe and silky texture. Do this by pushing at the dough with the heels of your hands, turning it over and around rhythmically, pressing the dough like a cat kneading a cusion. Gradually the texture will change under your hands to become soft and elastic. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a clean bowl to rise in a warm draught-free place. Place a linen cloth over and wait.
Once the dough has expanded to become double in size, knock back the puffy ball of dough by gently punching the air out of it with your fist, then draw the dough together with your hands and knead it for a few more minutes. If you want to make 2 round pizze, break the ball of dough in half and flatten it into a disc with your hands, then roll it out with a rolling pin or press the dough with your fingers to the required shape. The thickness of the dough should be about one-eigth of an inch thick, thickening a little towards the edges. If you want to make pizzette, little individual pizze, divide the dough into twelve balls and flatten them out the same way.
Lay it on an oiled tin tray or an oblong tin tray, let the dough rise a little for the second time while the oven heats.
Baking with instant powdered yeast. If you wish to use this, simply mix half a teaspoon of it into the dry flour and salt, then proceed to add the olive oil and water and continue to follow the recipe as given above.
Dressing the pizza. The crust and the seasoning on a pizza shoulld fuse together in the heat of the oven making a juicy whole, so the seasoning should be nicely balanced in quantity neither meagre or overwhelming. The texture and flavour of the diverse ingredients must complement and enhance each other. A pizza is a complete dish in itself so the eater must not become bored by too bland a seasoning or overwhelmed from too spicy and rich. Above all a pizza is not a convenient dumping ground for all manner of odds and ends lurking at the back of the fridge. Excellent fresh ingredients chosen and used with discretion make a very good pizza.