Professional thin crust pizza base and Do your own pizza bar


Homemade thin crust pizzas with meat and vegetables

Unsurprisingly pizza is one of husband's boys favourite foods. Show me a teenager who doesn't love pizza and I - well I don't know what I'll do - burst into song maybe or at least be very surprised.

For some reason I haven't done pizza that often, and we never order takeaway pizza. I am not a fan of fast food or takeaways for many reasons, but mainly because I'd rather cook myself. So kids only get takeaway at ours when I'm away and they are alone with their dad. So I bet they are already looking forward to my next trip to Finland which will leave husband defenceless to their pleas for a takeaway dinner.

Although come breakfast they will miss me as I always do a big hot Sunday breakfast which poor husband just can't match. And who will bake them biscuits when I'm not here. NO ONE!

I made them gooey chocolate chip ones this time.

I don't want the kids to think this is some kind of crazy health farm (gooey chocolate chip cookies seem to help), but I want to give them a good example for life like I got from my parents; a lifestyle of moderation (and moderation in moderation), appreciation of homemade food, occasional treats, respect for food and eating together as a family.

And I also want them to be active and not spend their days on the sofa with their headphones on playing on their smartphones. So this weekend I took them and husband hiking in Epping Forest (any Finn must get into a forest every once in awhile). I was so happy surrounded by the trees and the quiet and the smell of the forest. I exclaimed to the kids making slightly insane sweeping gestures with my arms "with this, who needs Xbox?!" Their faces seemed to imply they still saw a need for the Xbox. But they enjoyed it, had a bit of a sprinting competition and even climbed a few trees, all of them, husband included.

This homemade pizza is a happy medium which in future we will definitely do more often. It's fun when everyone can top their own with what they like. They are so tasty, much better than any takeaway pizza and you know exactly what goes in them so even if not exactly health food, they're ok.

I made a bit of a buffet of toppings that everyone could choose from. I roasted some red onion and orange and red peppers fully realising that these would be for just husband and me. And I made a tasty tomato sauce with fresh herbs, the rest of which I will use for a pasta dish during the week.

Make your own pizza toppings barThese were the fillings in our pizza bar
  • ham
  • grilled chicken 
  • pepperoni
  • roast red onion, red and orange pepper with fresh rosemary
  • black and green olives
  • jalopenos
  • anchovies
  • blue cheese
  • mix of grated mozzarella, cheddar, edam and monterey jack
  • tomato slices
  • fresh basil
And some rocket leaves to sprinkle over them once out of the oven. All for me, it turned out.

Homemade thin crust pizzaHusband is the pizza pro but he was busy with the kids so I was left in charge of the dough making this time. I did the base according to his instructions though as best I could.

Recipe: Professional Thin crust pizza (makes four 12 inch / 30 cm round pizzas)

800 g all purpose flour (or white bread flour)
250 ml lukewarm water
100 ml lukewarm milk
1 sachet dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Mix all ingredients together, I use a wooden spoon at this stage because the dough will stick everywhere like there's no tomorrow. Once it starts forming a sort of a ball tip the dough onto a well floured work surface. Start kneading adding more flour as necessary until the dough forms a smooth and elastic ball. I found myself adding quite a bit of flour in the process.

Divide into four equal sized pieces and form into balls. The balls should feel quite tight and springy, I am not going to use husbands metaphor of 18 year old's boobs here. Oops. Wrap each pert ball individually into cling film tightly and refrigerate until needed.

When ready to assemble your pizzas heat oven to 250C.  On a floured surface open the each dough ball into a flat round using your fingers. If you want you can use a rolling pin, but professionals do it all by hand. Keep pushing the dough out until you are happy with the size and thinness. Move onto a pizza pan and pound slightly with a meat tenderiser. This will stop the base from bubbling.

Spread a generous layer of tomato sauce on top leaving about half an inch of the rim of the crust uncovered. Then add on your toppings and finish with grated cheese and fresh tomato slices. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbling and crust is looking light brown and crispy.

Thin crust pizza with homemade tomato sauce with fresh herbs

Recipe: Homemade tomato sauce with fresh herbs 

(makes quite a lot so rest can be used for a pasta dish or frozen for later)

1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves
500ml passata (or canned tomatoes, if using fresh you will need about 650g tomatoes)
2 tbsp tomato paste
sprinkling of sugar
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
(or 2 + 2 of dried)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (optional)
3 tbsp grated pecorino romano (or parmesan)

Heat oil in a lidded sauce pan. Saute the chopped onions for a few minutes. Add the minced garlic and continue sauteing for another couple of minutes. Add the tomato passata and paste, salt and pepper, a sprinkling of sugar and the herbs. Cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes. If you want it very smooth you can blitz with a hand blender.

Cook uncovered to concentrate it a little until you are happy with the thickness of the sauce, add the vinegar if using. Check the taste and add salt or pepper if needed.

Pizza with ham, salami in corn

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