Monday, March 26, 2012

Chocolate Coffee Cookies - SRC Time Again!


Softish chocolate cookies with a mild coffee kick. Actually sort of brownies masquerading as cookies. Low fat and easy. Well, if you look at it, when it comes to baking a lot of things like chocolate cookies or even brownies, though simliar ingredient wise, they invariably find their way into the baking list again and again, thanks to the lure of different textures and techniques or varying flavors. Gooey centers, whole grain, soft, flaky, low fat, super easy, just cocoa, loads of dark chocolate and barely there flour, eggless - too much temptation and just another reason to bake - again!! This time around, I had another reason to add, the Secret Recipe Club! A yummy new blog, lots more yummy recipes, tick-tac-toe, tick-tac-toe  which one which one do I choose? Jocelyn at Bru Crew Life sounds just like  me when she says that her sweet tooth always manages to get the better of her! Well, Jocelyn, I have my weight-woes (wail!!!), can somehow keep up with a bit of exercise, but starving the sweet-tooth, IMHO is cruel ;-) and nearly impossible! Its a constant battle between my sweet-tooth, weight issues and the compulsive desire to bake all the time, sigh!


Low fat cookies with my two of my favorite ingredients - chocolate and coffee, seemed to be just the thing to bake when I wanted to humor my sweet-tooth, with the problem of shrinking clothes on my mind. What better than baking to drive away the blues? :)). To minimize the danger of over-eating and to feel slightly virtuous about using only 2 tablespoons of butter, I made half the recipe on Jocelyn's blog.

The recipe calls for espresso and since I have not come across a good brand of instant espresso powder, I have used instant coffee. Good, soft brown sugar (not demerara sugar, which for me is good as a crunchy topping, but surely not for use in cake batter or cookie dough as it just doesn't dissolve!) is expensive. I had once got some brown sugar from Hypercity, a brand called Waitrose if I remember right, but it was quite expensive, I do remember that! Soft, moist, quick-dissolving fine grained sugar, which can be packed into the measuring cup. How I wish molasses was available for sale here. Otherwise, making brown sugar at home is as simple as stirring together molasses and fine grained sugar! The amount of molasses could be varied to make it either light or dark brown sugar. I have used a brand called Trust which is not as soft or moist or as fine grained but works.


 
Chocolate Coffee Cookies ( By the name Chocolate Espresso Smores on Jocelyn's blog  )

Ingredients (to make 20 small cookies)

Semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped - 112 grams / 4 oz
Unsalted butter - 2 tablespoons / 30 grams
Brown sugar - 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (74 grams approx, read note)
Egg - 1, large
All-purpose flour - 3/4 cup / 98 grams
Instant coffee powder - 1 tablespoon
Baking powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt - a tiny pinch
Semisweet chocolate chips - 1/4 cup

Procedure: Mise en place. Sift the flour, baking powder, instant coffee powder and salt. Next time I bake these, I will stir in the coffee into the warm chocolate for a more intense coffee flavor. Keep aside. Place chopped chocolate and butter in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until almost melted in spurts of 30 seconds on HIGH power. Make sure you melt the chocolate smooth and liquid or the cookie texture may differ. Set aside to cool slightly.
Beat brown sugar and chocolate on high speed of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. The sugar will not dissolve completely and remain a bit gritty. Add the egg, beat for about 30 seconds on low speed till it is well combined.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to chocolate mixture. Beat until smooth, this will take about 30 seconds. Stir in chocolate chips. The dough will be soft and sticky, but will firm up as it stands. Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate about 4 hours. The dough will now be very firm.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C /350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Pinch out (about 20 balls) and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place two inches apart on baking sheets, they will not spread a lot. Bake 12-13 minutes (recipe says 9-10 minutes) or until browned around the edges (but this is tough to make out!). Do not over-bake or the cookies will be dry. Cool cookies on wire racks. The cookies will puff up and feel soft in the center when pressed lightly when they come out of the oven. But they will harden as they cool. So please do bake a test batch, allow the cookie to cool completely before you taste and decide the baking time for the rest of the cookies.


Please note: As with most cookies, these taste best warm. I liked them most, texture and taste-wise when I baked the cookies after 4 hours of refrigeration. The batter left in the fridge over-night gave me cookies which were great out of the oven, but slightly dry later. The cookies do not taste too sweet warm, but they did taste a bit sweet later. May be more coffee or less sugar next time?  I would not store these for more than a day though. But you could try microwaving any let over cookies.

If you are looking for buttery tasting cookies, these may not be the cookies for you. Very chocolate, warm cookies with less fat - yes!! If you love chocolate and coffee both, you must give these a try!



Monday, March 19, 2012

Quick Cinnamon Apple Buns (No Yeast) - A Guest Post By Deeba Rajpal


Quick Apple Cinnamon Buns {no yeast}

 Passionate About Baking and Deeba Rajpal - India's best baking blog and the very passionate baker behind the blog - who has remained immune to their charms?? Exploring food blogs, when I first came across PAB I was spellbound! This lady baking all this in India and how!! That was the beginning of her being a constant source of awe and inspiration to me, the sea of her delightful recipes, the slightest nudge a baker (obsessive or reluctant!) needs to turn on the oven. Apart from being a very talented baker, food stylist and superb photographer, she is one of the sweetest and most generous people I have known. Not to mention a very-down-to-earth and humble person for all her celebrity status. Be it in the way she admits to the odd baking disaster in her kitchen or in the way she effusively thanks her readers for the smallest of gestures. Am sure you will agree, every blogger in India aspires to achieve at least a tiny fraction of the adulation and name Deeba has achieved. As food bloggers, we are indeed fortunate to have PAB to look up to, the blog which has put Indian home-baking on the international map!

I had a short while ago requested Deeba for a guest post and she instantly agreed! Am touched by her words, my heartfelt thanks to my favorite blogger for guest-posting for me! Its truly an honor to have her gorgeous and delectable Quick Apple Cinnamon Buns on my blog. I can smell the cinnamon and the butter, oh! yumm!!  Now over to Deeba...

 Quick Apple Cinnamon Buns {no yeast} 

Thank you Suma for asking me to guest post for you. These Quick Cinnamon Buns are for your yummy blog, a constant reminder of how sweet a food blogger can be. I am fortunate to have crossed paths with yours! I have endlessly bothered this poor girl for baking stuff like vital gluten from Bangalore that I cannot find in Gurgaon/Delhi, and she obliges happily each time. Inching forward, my list hesitatingly began with gluten went on to dark cocoa {from Nilgiris} ...and then I stole a mile when she offered an inch! Now I regularly get parchment paper, instant active yeast, piping bags from this lovely lady.

Quick Apple Cinnamon Buns {no yeast} 

She hesitatingly asked me a short while ago if I would do a guest post for her, and I was amazed! After all I have pestered her to do, it's her right to ask and my duty to oblige! So here I am, with a' quick bread' which works great for breakfast or a snack, yet doubles up as a rustic dessert.

 Quick Apple Cinnamon Buns {no yeast} 

Quick Apple Cinnamon Buns {no yeast}, a quick bread I discovered while looking for recipe ideas for last months Daring Baker challenge. {I made Double Chocolate Dessert Popovers then...}. I made changes, as thats something inherently characteristic of me. I subbed a little plain flour for wholewheat, and added some apples and walnuts to the filling. Also a dash of cinnamon to the topping!

Quick Apple Cinnamon Buns {no yeast} 

Great for breakfast, wonderful with that indulgent cup of filtered coffee, and charmingly rustic for a warm dessert. How nice to have it baking while dinner is served and then dig into warm apple walnut cinnamon buns bursting with flavor. Oh, did I tell you the whole house smelt so good?

 Quick Apple Cinnamon Buns {no yeast} 

So if you are wary of the yeast monster, these are quick buns for you. And, if you aren't afraid of the yeast factor, yet want some fast track yumminess, these are worth every bite.

[print_this]Recipe: Quick Cinnamon Buns with Cinnamon Icing your picture
Summary: Quick no yeast apple, cinnamon and walnuts buns which bake in a jiffy {no yeast} and make for a nice rustic dessert {or quick snack}. Adapted minimally from Cook's Illustrated
Yield: 8-10 buns
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • Filling
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large firm apple, peeled, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Dough
  • 2 cups plain flour {plus additional for work area}
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • Icing
  • 2 tbsp low fat cream {or cream cheese}
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 225 C. Pour 1 tbsp melted butter in 9-inch nonstick cake pan; brush to coat pan {I lined the bottom with parchment}.
  2. Filling:
  3. Combine sugars, spices and salt in medium bowl. Add 1 tbsp melted butter to start and stir with a whisk or fork till it resembles wet sand.
  4. Dough:
  5. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk and 2 Tbsp melted butter in measuring cup. Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until liquid is absorbed and the dough starts coming together in a shaggy ball { I needed to add about 1/4 cup extra flour but I think that was because I used the Thermomix which wasn't necessary}. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead until just smooth and no longer shaggy{ about 1 minute}
  6. Pat and roll dough into 12x9 -inch rectangle. Brush dough with 2 tbsp melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with filling, leaving 1/2 inch border of plain dough around edges. Press filling firmly into dough, and sprinkle over chopped apple and walnuts.
  7. Starting on long side, roll dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log. Pinch seam to seal. Roll log seam-side down and cut evenly into eight pieces. With hand, slightly flatten each piece of dough to seal open edges and keep filling in place. Place one roll in center of prepared pan , then place remaining seven rolls around perimeter of pan. Brush with remaining 2 tbsp melted butter. {Don't worry if there are gaps. They will fill up during baking}
  8. Bake until edges are golden brown, 23-25 minutes. Use offset spatula to loosen buns from pan without separating. Place a large plate carefully over top of pan and using potholders invert pan onto plate. Using a second large plate and potholders, carefully invert rolls again to be face-up. Cool about 5 minutes before icing.
  9. While buns are cooling, whisk together cream, buttermilk and cinnamon with the powdered sugar until thick and smooth. {Add more sugar/buttermilk as required to get a thick consistency}.
  10. Drizzle over buns, or serve on the side if you wish.
  11. Serve immediately.
[/print_this]

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gasgase Payasa - Poppy Seeds Pudding


There are some dishes I cook as I have grown up eating and watching my mother cook them, and a few others which I have eaten a few times, but learnt making them from my mother-in-law. My mother doesn't make them you see. My mother-in-law lived in Mysore for quite some time, my mother has her roots in Rayalseema (a part of Karnataka which is the border between Karnataka and Andhra). So they have different styles of cooking and their own specialties. Some dishes which my mother makes, mother-in-law doesn't and vice versa. Mother-in-law makes excellent kodubale, chakli, kobbari mithayi, menthya bele huli, kayi-sasuve chitranna etc. Gasagase payasa or poppy seeds pudding is another dessert she makes really well . Apart from other occasions, she makes this for Ganesha Chaturthi as a family tradition (I have no complaints eating dessert for breakfast, will make sure this tradition is carried forward dutifully!). The pooja in the morning is quite elaborate and by the time we eat breakfast, its around 12!!  Breakfast  comprising of soft idlis, coconut chutney and gasagase payasa will thankfully be ready by then and waiting, so nobody (read me) actually faints of starvation. The gourmet breakfast is substantial enough to keep us full till the late elaborate lunch of kadabu, chitranna, ambode, majjige huli etc ...burrp!


 The payasa itself was not very common to me, the combination even uncommon. Dunking some idlis in the chutney and some in the payasa - a nice combination if you have a sweet-tooth. This pudding (for the medicinal value of poppy seeds) is supposed to be a remedy for mouth ulcer (don't you love such delicious medicines!) Again, there are different ways of making this pudding. Commonly made by grinding soaked poppy seeds (sometimes roasted), dry fruit like almonds or cashew, rice and fresh coconut, simmered with jaggery and water. A splash of milk and the customary ground cardamom is added in the end . I prefer and like a predominant taste of jaggery and less milk and a slightly thicker consistency. You could add more of milk and less of water and also thin the consistency if you prefer.

Ingredients

Poppy seeds - 1/4 cup
Almonds - 10-12
Rice (uncooked) - 1 tablespoon
Fresh grated coconut - 1 3/4 cups
Crushed jaggery - 1 cup (alter t suit your taste)
Crushed green cardamom - 5-6 pods
Water - 2 cups, divided use (or as needed)
Milk - 2-3 tablespoons
10-12 broken cashew nuts fried golden in a teaspoon of ghee for garnish

Procedure: Soak the poppy seeds, almonds and rice in enough water for at least 3-4 hours. ( I soak overnight in the fridge if I need to make this early in the day). Drain and the water (using a fine meshed sieve preferably, makes it easier with the tiny seeds) Pour more water through the sieve to rinse. Using as little water as possible, grind the poppy seeds, coconut, rice and almonds to a fine paste. The smallest jar of your mixer will be the best for this.

In heavy bottomed pan, take the jaggery and 1/2 cup water, heat to dissolve it. (Strain the liquid if there are any impurities and return the jaggery water to the heat. Mix the ground paste with 1/2 cup water to thin it to the consistency of dosa batter. Add it to the water and jaggery. Mix well. Add 1 cup water (approximately) to get the desired consistency. Go easy with the water (or milk), you can always add more later to thin it. Cook on low heat till it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of milk if desired. Mix in the crushed cardamom and the fried cashew nuts. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Please note: Alter the amount of jaggery (this also depends on the variety) and milk / water to suit your taste. When you add the jaggery, do remember that the pudding will taste sweeter and will also thicken slightly once it cools. The color of the pudding depends on the color of the jaggery and the amount of milk used. The pudding in the above pictures has a little more milk than I prefer adding, hence the lighter color. You could use milk from a tetra-pack instead of the coconut, but the coconut really helps grinding the poppy seeds to a smooth paste, so I prefer using fresh coconut.

The above proportions will make enough to serve 4-5 people.

The pudding goes to Raven's  Cook Eat Delicious Desserts event hosted by Sadhana Of Sensible Veg, the theme is  Wholesome Desserts With No Refined Flours Or Refined Sugars. The vent comes with a giveaway of a delicious book

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Homemade Pizza / Pasta Sauce


Its summer and I know it has arrived in more ways than one! For one, its a little less difficult to drag myself out of bed at 5.30. Later during the day I feel less guilty pulling the kids out of bed, a little less envious about hubby sleeping luxuriously - till I threaten to turn on the sprinkler system over the bed (fantasy of course, which I would love to bring alive sometime!). The exams around the corner has me 'mentally preparing' my son (from morning) to study in the evening. I try in vain to tell my attention-demanding daughter how important it is for Amma to sit with Anna for the practice sessions. I am preparing myself mentally to put in more hours of work (while I live in a virtual madhouse, no less, with my kids), which means I will have to let blogging and baking take a temporary backseat (I am used to the luxury of working part time). While I worry about my son's exams and finding a good life-saving summer-camp, I also worry about making sure I have a few posts in my drafts (lest you forget me by the time we see the end of summer). Need to get the battery of the UPS replaced to help me run my system non-stop from morning till evening during the power-cuts. And hey! how about a power generator for my oven? Aah! Another fantasy!



As the mercury levels soar and my bread dough rises faster than usual, I think about giving making dosa-idli batter another try. Oddly and embarrassingly, I have constantly had this problem with fermenting my batter. I earlier would not believe in some 'hands' being able to do this better than others, but now I am forced to believe it. I finally (and conveniently) gave up on making batter at home, I don't have a wet grinder, no space (I see your shocked face!). As my baking buddy's hubby remarks, we belong to the very strange category of people who go to great lengths  trying things at home which normally people buy (like breads, cakes, puffs, ice creams) and buy things like idli-dosa batter which people normally make at home. I do cook fresh food everyday, but if given a choice, I would love to let someone take over the routine cooking and I would only bake. Goodness! I really must stop fantasizing!  Kudos to many of you who manage to bake a lot and also cook everyday food with equal enthusiasm and passion. I remembered that I am probably kind of  'abnormal' in this respect (am not proud of this, trust me)  when I wrote the  pizza post and mentioned that I used home-made pizza sauce.

This sauce is one you could use for making pasta too of course. Very easy and quick, this makes fresh and simple sauce in very little time. Few ingredients here, but again, please do make sure that they are fresh and the herbs aromatic.


Adapted again from Champa, who has made it from Heidi's 101 Cookbooks . The recipe uses canned crushed tomatoes, I have used fresh ones. I have blanched them to remove the skin and then pureed it in the mixer till quite smooth (my kids do not like chunks) you could leave it chunky if you wish.  Please do alter the ingredient proportions to suit your taste.

The below recipe makes about a cup of sauce, enough to make 3-4  9'' round pizzas depending on how much sauce you would want on your pizza. Double the recipe if you wish, as this keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Ingredients:
Fresh, ripe, but firm tomatoes - 400 grams (I have used plum tomatoes)
Extra virgin olive oil - 2 tablespoons
Grated fresh garlic - 1 teaspoon
Dried thyme - 1/2 teaspoon
Oregano - 1/2 teaspoon ( I use the seasoning which comes with pizza)
Red Chilli powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Crushed black pepper - to taste
Sugar- 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
Salt to taste

Procedure: Wash the tomatoes. Blanch them in very hot water for a couple of minutes. Cool, drain and peel the skim. Roughly chop into largish chunks and puree as you wish. (chunky, less chunky or almost smooth) I made mine quite smooth. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add the grated garlic.(Heidi says, combine the olive oil, salt and garlic in a cold saucepan, then heat, I missed on this) On medium heat, saute for a minute or so, do not let the garlic turn brown. Add the pureed tomatoes, herbs, red chilli powder, salt, crushed black pepper and the sugar. Simmer on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cool. Use as needed.


Isn't this really simple? Thanks to Champa and Heidi, this will be a recipe I shall be using very often!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Peter Reinhart's Napoletana Pizza Dough



You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six..Yogi Berra


While I do enjoy eating pizza from a pizzeria, I must admit, I have relished the pizza more for the taste of the cheese and the toppings. The crust is not really the thing I have remembered a pizza eating experience by. I have probably 'made' pizza at home ages ago with the thick pizza base we get at our local super-markets. Needless to say, it was never remembered for its taste or made again. Since I am now friends with yeast, a pizza from scratch is an idea which appeals immensely.

When it comes to baking a pizza crust at home, Peter Reinhart's Napoletana pizza crust is undoubtedly one of the most raved about ones. If you haven't read about him yet, he is an acclaimed master bread baker and author. While you could find a number of recipes for pizza dough, Peter Reinhart's Napoletana dough is special as it is made with ice-cold water and allowed to ferment in the fridge. This of course is not a quick recipe which can give you pizza in a couple of hours as the recipe calls for overnight fermentation of the dough in the fridge. The slow fermentation helps get more flavor in the crust. This particular recipe calls for chilled flour and water and if you are like me you are unlikely to have either on hand at all times.(Then there is also his Neo-Napoletana dough which uses flour and water, both at room temperature, both ways give great pizza says Peter Reinhart, I shall be trying this soon)


The crust is simple - chilled flour, salt, instant yeast, oil and cold water, mixed in a stand mixer or by hand. Easier and simpler when you have a stand mixer. If making by hand, a bit of elbow grease help from your (forced-to-be) chivalrous better-half. On mixing, the divided dough portions can be refrigerated (if you plan to use it within 3 days) or frozen up to 3 months. You could make your own sauce or use ready pizza sauce (Pompous as it may sound, I think a home made crust pizza with bottled sauce is fine, but not home-made sauce and store-bought crust!).

The dough was quite easy sounding, but I was unsure about the baking temperature and time.( I had of course not noticed the maximum temperature till I tried baking breads which needed this). Pizzas are supposed to be baked at a very high temperature of about 287 degrees C / 550 F for a short period of time. But since the maximum temperature in our microwaves and ovens (no idea about gas ovens though) is 250 degree C / 500 degrees F, I had to settle for a longer baking time and a very special, slightly browned cheese topping. But don't let that deter you, it was still very tasty.


With inputs from Champa, she has adapted it from Heidi's 101 Cookbooks . Here is how you go about. You could halve the recipe as I did, but I plan to make the entire recipe next time and freeze half of it for future use.

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups (20.25 ounces) / 567 grams/ unbleached high-gluten, bread, or all-purpose flour, chilled ( I used APF)
1 3/4 (.44 ounce) teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon (.11 ounce) instant yeast (Can't interchange with Active Dried yeast)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) olive oil (optional)
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) water, ice cold (40°F)

Semolina flour OR cornmeal for dusting

Procedure: Line a baking tray or a flat box with a lid with baking parchment, grease lightly. You will be keeping portions of dough on this later.

1.Stir together the flour, salt, yeast, mix well with a metal spoon to distribute all the ingredients evenly (I sieve). Stir in the oil and the cold water, mix till all the flour is absorbed. With a strong wooden spoon, beat the dough for about 5-7 minutes ( I did for 6) or till the dough is smooth and sticky. I would not recommend using a hand mixer with dough hooks as my experience has not pleasant with this. (The recipe says you need to work the dough vigorously into a smooth mass while rotating the bowl in a circular motion with the other hand, reverse the circular motion a few times to develop the gluten further. This would be difficult, so I did not do it)The dough should clear the sides of the bowl, but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn't come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour (little by little) just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. (The above quantities worked fine for me and I did not have to add flour or water). The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50 to 55F.(If you are like me, just so that you don't lose  sleep over this - mine was 65F and this was not disastrous) Champa says, the temperature is to make sure the stirring has induced heat enough for the yeast to grow.

2. Dust your work area with flour, transfer the dough onto it. Using a dough scraper or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (for the recipe proportions above). The size of the pieces would depend on how thin and large you would need your pizza to be. Cutting the dough into 6 equal portions will give you 9'' pizzas with a medium thick crust. If the dough sticks to the scraper, dip it in cold water in between. Make sure your hands are dry, sprinkle flour over the dough. Lift each piece and gently round it into a ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, dip your hands into the flour again. Transfer the dough balls to the prepared pan, mist the dough generously with spray oil and slip the pan into a food-grade plastic bag. The dough did not seem to rise or expand much at all in the fridge, so you don't need to space them so much apart.

(Note: At this point, right after dividing the dough, if you want to save some of the dough for future baking, you can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag. Dip each dough ball into a bowl that has a few tablespoons of oil in it, rolling the dough in the oil, and then put each ball into a separate bag. You can place the bags into the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer them to the refrigerator the day before you plan to make pizza.) Put the pan into the refrigerator overnight to rest the dough, or keep for up to 3 days.



On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before making the pizza. I have greased the back of my 9'' round tin very generously with oil ( hoping and praying for a crisp crust), placed a ball of dough on it, pressed the dough into flat disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5'' inches in diameter. Yes, multiple pizzas, multiple tins, the dough will be too sticky to lift and transfer later, I would not do this. If you want to flip to shape the pizza like a pro - you need to dust your counter very generously with flour and place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Mist the dough with oil, place a much larger and tall dish on the tin so that it does not touch the edges of the pan. If you have good plastic wrap, cover with it. Now let rest for 2 hours. At the end of 2 hours, the dough will have some bubbles, and would have expanded to some extent.

5. Towards the end of 2 hours, pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees C (sigh!) . For lucky people with gas ovens and baking stones - at least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone either on the floor of the oven (for gas ovens), or on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven as hot as possible, up to 800F (most home ovens will go only to 500 to 550F, but some will go higher). If you do not have a baking stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan, but do not preheat the pan.

After 2 hours, if you have placed the dough directly on the baking tin, just push the dough around gently with your fingertips to cover the pan. Spread the sauce and the toppings and cheese. Pizza comes with - less is more philosophy, 3 or 4 toppings including the sauce and cheese is the best, more is said to make the crust more difficult to cook. Ooops, I seem to have forgotten this bit!

I baked for about 17 minutes when the crust was golden brown. I did not want to reduce the baking time as I did not want to risk an undercooked crust. But the flip part- the cheese gets a bit over-cooked and brown, but still soft and not chewy as I had feared. The next time, I shall try baking the crust with sauce and toppings for about 12 minutes, then add the cheese and bake for the remaining time. The white cheese you see around the edges in the picture was put the last few minutes.

(If flipping the pizza and baking using a stone and pizza peel read this part otherwise skip - Generously dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal. Make the pizzas one at a time. Dip your hands, including the backs of your hands and knuckles, in flour and lift I piece of dough by getting under it with a pastry scraper. Very gently lay the dough across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing the dough in a circular motion on your hands, carefully giving it a little stretch with each bounce. If it begins to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and re-flour your hands, then continue shaping it. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss as shown on page 208. If you have trouble tossing the dough, or if the dough keeps springing back, let it rest for 5 to 20 minutes so the gluten can relax, and try again. You can also resort to using a rolling pin, though this isn't as effective as the toss method.

When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction ,about 9 to 12 inches in diameter for a 6-ounce piece of dough, lay it on the peel or pan, making sure there is enough semolina flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide. Put the toppings.

Slide the topped pizza onto the stone (or bake directly on the sheet pan) and close the door. Wait 2 minutes, then take a peek. If it needs to be rotated 180 degrees for even baking, do so. The pizza should take about 5 to 8 minutes to bake. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone to a lower self before the next round. if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone for subsequent bakes.)

9. Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Wait 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Not quite the Domino's ad pizza, but may I try to distract your attention with a picture of the crust..


The pizza was very tasty and quite crisp (though not very much so, which is fine by me), the pizza fresh-fresh tasting with the home-made sauce! Am happy with my pizza, shall be making it again. Guess making good pizza is also a matter of practice, but will try not to complain too much! More updates as I repeat my attempts.

The pizza is Yeast-spotted.