New goal: Conquer pizza dough


That’s what the yeast was when I went to make my pizza dough. To be truthful, it was way past its best-by date by about a year. The last time I used it was the last time I made pizza, which was apparently so long ago that no one actually remembers it.

Boyfriend: “This is the first time you’ve made pizza eh?”

Me: “No, I’ve made it before and you liked it.”

Boyfriend: “Really??”

Mum: “This is the first time you’ve made pizza isn’t it?”

Me: “No, I’ve made it before and you liked it.”

Mum: “No, I don’t remember…”

Despite other people’s lack of memory, I do remember making pizza for the first time and one of the things I remember about it was making the pizza sauce, which I made out of tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, herbs, onions and seasoning, cooked for quite a long time (1-2 hours). It felt like it took forever but it tasted really good as a result.

I was running short of time this time around so I thought I’d cheat and just use ready-made pizza sauce. I got home, opened it up and tasted it – way too sour! So I scooped it out onto a frying pan, cooked it with some oregano, olive oil, salt, pepper, onion, garlic and celery for about an hour. Everyone commented on how delicious the kitchen smelt, reinforcing my stubborn insistence on cooking as many things from scratch as I possibly can.

What has completely evaded me though, both last time and this most recent time, is good pizza dough. I don’t have a pizza oven, or own a pizza stone, or have that special 00 flour that a lot of pizza dough recipes recommend. The first time I made pizza, the base was really crispy and hard, which I didn’t actually mind so much, but it made for some serious jaw work. I also have trouble stretching out the dough because it rips, which indicates to me that it’s perhaps not glutinous enough.

The type of base I’d really love to replicate is the chewy, Neopolitan style base. My expectations are zero though, considering my lack of tools in my pizza-making toolbox. That’s until I at least get a good quality pizza stone and some more pizza-making experience.

This time, I followed some suggestions here and set my oven grill on and placed the pizza right under that. I wasn’t initially going to use the frying pan after the pizza had gone into the oven but the dough was undercooked when the pizza came out so I ended up delicately shoving it onto the skillet anyway.

The result? The base wasn’t the consistency I wanted it to be (it came out more like crackers to me! And yes, I did buy new yeast, which worked fine) but everything else tasted really good according to the boyfriend and parents. Considering the base can make or break the pizza, I have a lot of work to do and mastering a decent Neopolitan-style pizza dough is now one of my definite cooking goals.

I have to say though, I’d still much rather make and eat my own homemade pizza with crappy base than go out and buy one from Pizza Hut, Domino’s or Hell Pizza.

Now, I have two things on my Christmas wish-list: new ballroom shoes and a pizza stone 😉

Photo: Tao Lin

Steak pizza with capsicum, mushrooms and onion. Photo: Tao Lin


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