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Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Mamma Mia - Its Pizza & Toppings for The Daring Bakers!

This month’s Daring Bakers is being hosted by the lovely Rosa @ Rosa’s Yummy-yums. However, there is a sense of deep sadness amongst us at Daring Bakers because this month was supposedly to be co-hosted by Sherry @ What Did You Eat and Glenna @ A fridge Full of Food. Sherry tragically passed away July ’08 and prior to her death only 9 days before; she shared with Rosa her recipe idea for this challenge. Rosa felt that it was her sense of duty to respect Sherry’s choice and submitted Sherry’s recipe for this month’s challenge. Glenna a close friend of Sherry’s decided she needed time and could not take part in hosting this challenge.

I would therefore like to dedicate this Daring Bakers Challenge to a much cherished blogger, D.B. member, skilled baker and cook –Sherry Cermak.

This month we have focused on learning how to make real pizza dough and Rosa challenged us D.B’s to use the traditional method of tossing dough! It was fun, laughs and giggles all the way with my family watching me trying to toss the dough and it was well worth making pizzas just for this! I made a homemade crushed tomato sauce for the base and applied various topping to suit the requests of family members.

It has been an extremely fun challenge with gorgeous fresh pizzas! There’s no stopping me now folks as I continue making my own pizzas! Pizza outlets you’d better watch out for Mamma Mia here in the kitchen making pizzaiolos *giggle*.

The recipe source for the pizza dough was chosen from, “The Bread Makers Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread” by Peter Reinhart.

Basic Pizza Dough

Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9 – 12 inches/23-30cm in diameter). This recipe yields a tasty, thin, crisp yet chewy pizza crust/

4½ cups unbleached bread flour
1¾ tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
¼ cup Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional but its better with)
1¾ cups water, ice cold (40°F/4.5°C)
1 tbsp sugar
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting


Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a large 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 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’s too wet, add a little flour (not too much though) and if too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

*Note* if 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°F-55°F/10°C-13°C.

Flour a work surface. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

With the help of a metal scrapper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. *Note* To avoid the dough from sticking to the scrapper; dip the scrapper 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 flour sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

Dough into 6 equal pieces

Transfer the dough balls onto the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into a plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap. Put the pan into the fridge 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 a little oil (2 tbsp) 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 fridge.

On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the fridge. 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 ½ inch/ 1/3cm thick and 5 inches/12.7cm 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 you hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scrapper. 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 in the air. *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 surface and re-flour 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.

Carefully stretching the dough

Place tomato sauce and toppings on (see recipe below for crushed tomato sauce).

Slide the garnished pizza on to the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pan to a lower shelf before the next pizza. If the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelises, then you need to raise the stone or jelly pan.

Sliced fresh tomato, mozzarella, fresh basil leaves and pepperoni pizza

The whole works pizza unbaked

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.

Sliced fresh tomato, mozzarella, fresh basil leaves and pepperoni pizza

The whole works pizza

Crushed Tomato Sauce

I halved this recipe as I only made three pizzas. . Some canned tomatoes can be very salted so you will need to adjust the amount to your requirements.


1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp granulated garlic powder
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt or to taste

In a bowl, stir together all the ingredients, starting with ½ tsp salt and adding more to taste. Some canned tomatoes can be very salted so you will need to adjust the amount to your requirements.

For the other toppings I used different mixes on pizzas to family requirements of cooked ham, grated cheddar cheese, pepperoni, sliced fresh tomato, slices thin red onion, mozzarella and fresh basil leaves.

The other Daring Bakers have been busy with Pizzas and Toppings so please do call by and view their creations.


Arundathi said...

Rosie, the pizza looks gorgeous!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

That looks like quite a pizza, Rosie!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What gorgeous looking pizzas! Really tempting! You did a great job here!



Margaret said...

I've never been a successful pizza maker. Perhaps this is the ultimate recipe. They really should watch out now at the local pizza shop!

Coby said...

Good for you for doing a bit of genuine old fashioned 'hands on' work Rosie:) It certainly was worth it judging by your delicious looking results:)

Cakelaw said...

Great looking pizza Rosie!

I have given you an award here:

dabrah said...

I just have to try this. It looks and sounds totally delicious.

Lisa said...

Looks delicious!

Bellini Valli said...

Thank you so much for hosting this months DB challenge Rosa and for dedicating this months challenge to Sheri. Great job:D

Oh my! Apple pie! said...

Rosie your pizza looks great, this months challenge was fun wasn't it.

Ivy said...

Making your own pizza dough is quite impressive!!! And your sauce and toppings look delicious! :)

The Blonde Duck said...

I want pizza so bad now!

Uma said...

Pizza looks so fabulous Rosie dear! So nice of you to dedicate this to dear Sherri.

Passionate About Baking said...

I'm comin' over looks GREAT indeed! XOXOXO

Maria said...

All of this pizza is making me hungry! Yours looks fabulous!

Deborah said...

that is a gorgeous pizza! Great job!

Bridgett said...

The finished product has me drooling this morning! Such a fantastic tribute to your friend who passed. Brilliant job, Rosie, once again!

Rosie said...

Thank you for all your kind comments my'dear' friends.

This month's D.B. challenge was such fun and you can envisage my family giggling away as I tried to toss pizza dough. I think I ended up wearing dough and flour heehee...

Best wishes Rosie x

Katie said...

Your pizza looks delicious.

Rosie said...

Thank you Katie and lovely to *see* you :)

best wishes Rosie x

Lynn said...

Is there anything better than a tomato, basil & mozzarella pizza? Yours look fabulous. Great job!

Divya Vikram said...

The whole works pizza looks just delicious..

Anonymous said...

Hey there, wifey made your gingerbread bone cookies and I wanted to stop by and visit your site. Saw your pizza recipe (we used to own a pizzaria, but sold it when we started a family) that recipe is right, spot on. If one wants to make the perfect pizza, yours is the way! warmest

*Priscilla* said...

this looks so yummy! all these db pizzas are turning out fantastic!

Emily Rose said...

your pizzas look fabulous! I love fresh basil on pizza!

Prudy said...

OH, Rosie! I so wish I could have some of that tonight. It looks wonderful!

Big Boys Oven said...

your pizza looks fantastic! incredible!

Rachel said...

Mama that pizza is decadent!!!

natalia said...

Ciao Rosie ! I love your pizza wasn't it fun ? Maybe I should start preparing some more for tomorrow.....

Julie said...

Goodness, your pizzas turned out beautifully. I'm sure that they smelled and tasted fantastic too! Great job on the challenge--it was a fun one, wasn't it?

tartasacher said...

Hello Rosie:
Great pizza for challenge Darings Bakers. Thank your for your comments in my blog.
Best and whises

Rosie said...

Hi Lynn, Divya, Priscilla, Emily Rose, Prudy, Big Boys Oven, Rachel, thank you all SO very much for your lovely comments!

Best wishes Rosie x

Rosie said...

Hi natalia, Julie & tartasacher, it was fun and a very enjoyable outcome of delicious pizzas for all us D.B’s :D

Best wishes to you Rosie x

n33ma said...

Fabulous....I just had dinner but wouldn't mind taking a bite..

Aparna said...

Beautiful pizza, Rosie. This one was fun wasn't it?
Btw, I'm not sure I'll ever make a coffin cake, but yours is a work of art.

Glenna said...

Your pizzas look divine!

Maria said...

Mmmmmmm pizza, yummy!


Rosie said...

Thank you ladies for your very kind comments :)

Rosie x


WOW!!! IT LOOKS ABSOLUTELY D-LISH!!! I think i might try to make it....NOW YOU"VE MADE ME HUNGRY!!!!