Homemade Pizza and the end of summer

>> Friday, March 4, 2011

Before I have the chance to put on my summer dress, summer is bidding its farewell.

Like an old friend visiting from afar. But leaving before we have a chance to catch up properly.

Who knows where I'll be the next time we meet?

That's not to say that I didn't have a good summer.

Oh I did, friends.

I recall there were plenty of pizza dough, tan lines, new friendships and the relief of letting go of broken promise made 3 years ago... and of expectations.

But I did much more than these.

...I read under trees during lunch breaks

...I witnessed new beginnings

...I was inspired to colour my hair in many different shades

...I window-shopped to all my heart's desires

...I indulged in so much food with great companies

...I rested (or rather, I learnt to rest and be still)

...I saw things from the other side

...I praised the Painter of the sky

...I reflected and skipped by the seaside

...I drank (a lot of) coffee skillfully

...I ate strawberries to last me the year

...I got to know every streets and alleys of Melbourne like the back of my hands

...I went to cafes and scribbled in my notepad

And back to pizza dough...

Like everyone says, making your own pizza dough is not difficult and so worth it.

I scoured everywhere for the 'perfec't pizza dough recipe. After all, a good base makes a good pizza but you can't have a good pizza with bad base.

A few things I've learnt:

1. It is better to have a pizza stone, but it's not essential to have it to make a crispy base (although you get better results.) If you don't have the stone, pre-heat your baking sheet in the oven first so you place uncooked pizza on the hot sheet. 

2. Turn on your oven as far up as it goes and roll your dough as thin as possible for a crispy crust.

3. It is important to rest your dough in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Overnight is even better. Sometimes I make it early in the morning to have for dinner.

I made two different pizzas with the dough:

Zucchini with Sausage
Rosemary potato with Caramelised Onion

After you roll out the chilled dough, all you need to do is...

Add your favourite toppings!

And more!

Don't forget to top it with grated cheese..

With the potato pizza, brush the base with garlic infused olive oil

Pizza is ready for the oven now!

Pizza Dough 
Makes two pizzas
Adapted from WildYeastBlog and Eats Well with Others
  • 312 grams flour (around 2 1/3 C flour)
  • 3.3 grams (1 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • 4.5 grams (3/4 teaspoon) salt
  • 200 grams water
  • 14 grams (1 tablespoon) olive oil
Topping Ingredients for Potato and Caramelised Onion Pizza
  • one medium potato
  • garlic infused olive oil (2 large cloves garlic, chopped and soaked in a drizzle of olive oil)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • a few whole rosemary leaves
  • a few thin slices of brie or other cheese of your choice
  • a pinch of Kosher salt 
Topping Ingredients for Zucchini and Sausage Pizza
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 sausage, case removed
  • garlic infused olive oil (2 large cloves garlic, chopped and soaked in a drizzle of olive oil)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 figs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • coarse sea salt and pepper to taste
1. In the bowl of a food processor with metal blade, combine the flour, yeast, and salt.

2. Combine the water and olive oil in a liquid measuring cup. With the processor running, add the liquid in a thin stream.

3. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 90 seconds. Then knead the dough by hand for a few turns.

4. Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl and ferment at room temperature for about 1.5 hours, until doubled in bulk.

5. Divide the dough into two pieces of about 260 grams each. Shape each piece into a ball and place onto a lightly-floured, parchment-lined baking sheet.

6. Slip the sheet into a large plastic bag and refrigerate for 4 – 12 hours.

7. About 35 minutes before you will assemble the pizza, slice the potato and zucchini very thinly. A mandoline is very helpful in getting the slices thin and uniform.

8. Lay the slices on a kitchen towel, sprinkle them with salt, and roll the towel into a cylinder to enclose the potato. Let rest for 30 minutes. The potato and zucchini slices should be wilted but not brown. (I skipped this step)

9. 30 minutes before assembling the pizza, preheat the countertop oven, with baking stone if you have one, to its maximum temperature.

10. Generously dust your countertop with a mixture of flour and semolina. Roll out one ball of dough to a diameter of 10 or 12 inches. If the dough resists stretching, take it as far as you can, let it rest for a few minutes to relax, and continue rolling.

11. If using pizza stone, dust your peel (or piece of corrugated cardboard) with the same flour/semolina mixture and place the crust on it. Otherwise, dust a baking (parchment) paper on the baking sheet.

To make the potato and caramelised onion pizza

12. Add the sliced onion to a pan over medium heat until soft then brown. Add the balsamic vinegar and honey.

13. Brush one crust with garlic infused olive oil and top with potato slices (you may not use the whole potato), chopped garlic, sliced shallots, caramelised onion and rosemary leaves. Top with the brie (or other cheese), sprinkle with Kosher salt, and drizzle the remaining olive oil over all.

To make the zucchini and sausage pizza

14. Heat a small nonstick pan and saute the sausage, breaking it into small crumbles with your spatula until it is cooked through.

15. Brush the crust with garlic infused olive oil and top with zucchini slices, chopped garlic,  cut figs and sausage pieces. Top with parmesan (or other cheese), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle the remaining olive oil over all.

16. Slide the pizza onto the hot baking stone. Bake for about 14 minutes each (if your oven is at 450F), or until the crust is brown and crisp and the cheese is bubbly.


Von March 4, 2011 at 9:53 PM  

Wow....I love your photos! :) Summer's perfect for making things with yeast because it takes so little time for the dough to rise...haha And your pizzas look so good too! Those little birdies are so cute!

Jeannie March 5, 2011 at 2:03 AM  

Oh yummy looking pizzas, I love the zuchinni with figs topping best...great photos!

Erika Beth, the Messy Chef March 5, 2011 at 3:49 AM  

I loved seeing your pictures of summer. I can't wait for it to arrive here! First we need to see Spring though. Oh, and I love figs on pizza. Now I'm hungry. Time for lunch (we're having pizza!)

La Bella Cooks March 5, 2011 at 7:33 AM  

The pizza looks incredible especially with those gorgeous figs on there! I enjoyed all of your photos.

Sasa March 5, 2011 at 7:40 AM  

I've been making pizza over here in Europe too though sadly without any sun to eat it in, beautiful pictures, the pink of the figs is gorgeous.

Jessica's Dinner Party March 5, 2011 at 8:51 AM  

Those pizzas look amazing! Summer may be coming to an end over there, but for us it's still winter! Looking forward to sunnier days.

Cooking Gallery March 5, 2011 at 9:32 AM  

The pizza looks beautiful...! I am glad spring is on its way here in Europe :).

KayB March 5, 2011 at 10:24 AM  

ohh these look divine! Particularly the potato pizza, my fav topping for pizza ever!

kirbie March 5, 2011 at 11:00 AM  

Your post is beautiful. And the pizza..looks so delicious! I've been wanting to try making my own pizza.

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart March 5, 2011 at 11:06 AM  

Lovely photos and memories of your past days. We are heading into spring then hot and humid summer.

The pizza's look fantastic! I just finished dinner and yet wouldn't mind a slice or two :)

Wishing you a happy weekend!

Kindly, Lorraine

Aisha Jameel March 5, 2011 at 3:21 PM  

wow ! lovely blog and well presented :) will definitely try this !
you can stop by my blog at http://kitchensojourn.blogspot.com ... will be really happy if you follow it :D

Brownieville Girl March 5, 2011 at 9:39 PM  

Love all those pizzas - they lood so appetizing.

Very impressed with that skillfull coffee drinking!!

Umm Mymoonah March 6, 2011 at 1:48 AM  

Gorgeous looking pizza, loved the base and the crust.

Cookin' Canuck March 7, 2011 at 4:54 AM  

What a lovely pizza and a wonderful look back on your summer.

Anonymous,  March 7, 2011 at 10:12 AM  

Looks yum Viv!

Hey do you still want Dexter?


Juliana March 8, 2011 at 12:07 PM  

Oh! I love homemade pizza, and yours look absolutely delicious, love the idea of caramelized onions. Enjoyed very much the pictures...thank you so much for sharing. I hope you have a great week ahead Vivienne :-)

Joyti March 8, 2011 at 6:44 PM  

End of summer...:(
Its almost spring here, almost summer...and I'm bookmarking your gorgeous pizza...its perhaps one of the prettiest pizzas I've seen!

OohLookBel March 9, 2011 at 10:56 AM  

Really nice summer memories! And the pizzas look delicious; I love fig on pizza =D

Anonymous,  March 9, 2011 at 1:14 PM  

I loved this post! Pizza is one of my favorite foods and the potato one looks delicious. I also loved the picture story. Keep taking amazing pictures and posting!

Anonymous,  March 10, 2011 at 9:41 AM  

Your photographs are stunning. I am going to miss summer. It came and went so quickly. Love pizza with fig topping. Yours look gorgeous!!

Lisa@ Tarte du Jour March 10, 2011 at 10:35 AM  

Your summer sounds delightful! Your photos inspire me. I want a bite of fig pizza please!!

jenius March 11, 2011 at 11:31 AM  

Such a beautiful post filled with the joys of summer. Love it :)

sugarpuffi March 11, 2011 at 1:00 PM  

how the hell did u manage to drink all that coffee without destroying the top?!

susan March 17, 2011 at 11:43 AM  

I love the photo of the coffee, very skillful! The pizza looks delicious. I really need to make dough soon, I have such an aversion to things that require a lot of proofing time. How long do you reckon you can leave the proofed dough in the fridge before you use it?

Forager @ The Gourmet Forager March 21, 2011 at 1:10 PM  

Love this post - and those adorable ducklings! I tried making (yet another) pizza recently and (yet again) was disappointed by the dough. Will have to give yours a shot!

joanh March 29, 2011 at 5:41 AM  

ok, i gotta stop reading. figs on pizza?? delish! your gorgeous photos are making me too hungry.

Carolyn Jung April 9, 2011 at 1:42 PM  

OK, is it just me or does everyone want one of those bright yellow kangaroos for their backyards? LOL Hopefully, he comes bearing a couple of your pizzas, too. ;)

Kelsey, from Happyolks April 9, 2011 at 2:40 PM  

Wow. This entire post was so thoughtful, thank you for sharing. This pizza looks absolutely phenomenal. I can't wait for fresh figs in these parts! So glad I found you on Tastespotting!

Best Pizza in Melbourne October 15, 2012 at 9:20 PM  

You are very skilled in making the best pizza in Melbourne and also expert in explaining about all the procedure.

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