Thin Crust Classic Margherita – 100% whole wheat!!

An impromptu picnic at the very beautiful Kanheri Caves(Mumbai), relentless rain, a homely sweet birthday party, hot steaming cups of chai, some sweet succulent corn on the cobs and a very runny nose – the weekend just zooms away. Before it fully whooshed past, I grabbed the chance to make some very healthy crisp thin-crust Margherita!

Divine Bite

Divine Bite

A confession – I have never been a fan of pizza – don’t worry, I’m real.
When we were growin up, pizza hut made its presence felt loud and clear. I still remember my first bite, the when and the where… a brand new sleek looking pizza shop on Cunningham Road. An afternoon out with friends. We- a bunch of teens, eager to try the enticing cheesy gooey triangle, with barely 100 bucks in our tiny pockets. All smiles and chatty till I have my first bite! And oh! how I disliked the doughy mass gulped with gallons of coke. I was so upset – (more with the fact that I just wasted my precious money on something so highly distasteful!).

Tempting triangles

Tempting triangles

Seven years back, a tiny quaint little pizzeria in Times Square of NYC transformed my charred taste buds. Super thin crust – fresh simple ingredients, incredible flavors and the fact that I could eat with my fingers… (pick,fold and bite!) was a revelation to me. That one huge slice satiated and more than made up for all the years that I had given it all up for. Since then I have been eating this ultimate deliciousness but of course on my terms and conditions 🙂

Fresh Basil to garnish

Fresh Basil to garnish

This(Blogging) wonderful medium has introduced me to new people, new cuisines, awesome photography and of course stupendous new recipes! I stumbled upon this very enticing formula to make whole wheat pizza sans the refinery, using very little ingredients and emphasizing the simplicity of the procedure. I had to bookmark it. With ingredients readily available in your pantry, a classic thin crust margherita can be created, all you need is – Time.

So simple

So simple

The Recipe:

Ingredients

For the pizza dough:

  • 2 and 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • salt according to taste
  • luke warm water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the Assembly:

  • 6-8 tbsp of pizza sauce
  • 8-9 tbsp of grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • chopped sweet basil to garnish

Method

For the Dough:
Proof the yeast according to instructions on the pack. I have given a small tip at the end of the post. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, salt and 1 tsp sugar. Make a well in the center, add olive oil, proofed yeast and luke warm water to bind. Get all of it together. Knead for at least 5-6 minutes. Then in a well oiled bowl, place the kneaded dough and cover with a plastic film. Let the dough rise to double the volume. This takes approximately 2 hours.

For the Assembly:
Once done, preheat your oven to 250 degree C for 5-6 mins.
Remove the cling film, punch the dough and grab a handful of it, and using extra flour roll it out or spread with your fingers to form a pizza base. Carefully pick the base and lay on a pre oiled parchment paper. Brush little olive oil on the base. Spread your desired quantity of pizza sauce and loads of grated mozzarella.

Carefully pick the parchment paper, place in the pre heated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes at 200 degree C till the edges brown and cheese melted.

Once done, remove. Stay for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chopped basil.

Serve with seasoning n tabasco.

Scrumptious Slice

Scrumptious Slice

Proofing the yeast: I dissolved 1/2 tsp sugar in 1/2 cup luke warm water. Then added 2 and 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast. Mixed it vigorously, till a pasty structure was formed. Covered and kept it aside for 10 minutes. After the said time, the yeast was all frothy and bubbled up. Ready to be used. Sorry I forgot to click it, I was way too excited to get going with the dough.

Classic Easy Peasy Pizza Sauce: Heat olive oil, saute garlic(5-6 pods), 1 chopped onion, 3-4 dry red chilies, and 5-6 round fat ripe red tomatoes(skin peeled), along with 1/4 tsp sugar and salt to taste. Simmer for at least 30 minutes till the oil leaves the sides. Cool. Coarsely grind. Add oregano and 1 tbsp chopped basil. Ready to use!

No cook super simple Pizza sauce: 1 cup tomato ketch up, 1 tbsp butter, 3 minced garlic, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp red chili flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Combine all together, microwave for a minute or two. Mix well. Use!! Its good.. seriously. When you don’t have time to make the original, this works like a dream.

Link to the original: http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2013/05/100-whole-wheat-pizza-dough.html

Simple comfort food

Simple comfort food

Advertisements

Herb Cheese Pull Apart Bread

Mixed herb Cheese Pull Apart Bread

Mixed herb Cheese Pull Apart Bread

I have been toying with the idea of baking some bread from a very very long time. But attempting to bake bread is intimidating. The very thought of all the possibilities that could go wrong loom large in front of my eyes. Yet, that fateful day, I decided to take the plunge. And I usually take risks when someone is coming over for dinner. Silly? Hmm..Thats me.
I experiment most when I have guests over. Feeling all the while for those poor little guinea pigs aches my heart, but still I go ahead with my bold ventures. You know, how it is when something comes to your mind and you want to do it then and there, at that time only.. yea… it happens a lot to me. I know, no justification for my mindless endeavors.

Crisp Crust

Crisp Crust

I was particularly going through a very busy day. The husband had crazy conference calls from dawn till dusk(he works from home), Milee was being annoyingly demanding, a doctor’s appointment, one absent maid and my favorite brother in law over for dinner. My best half suggested we go out, but I was attacked by that untimely, unpropitious bug of creating something new! So, ignoring his proposal, I go all out and BIZARRE! He shook his head, knowing very well the intensity of the bug bite.

Well Baked and Well Risen

Well Baked and Well Risen

I greatly admire Aparna’s My diverse Kitchen. Adapting and recreating the magic with her dishes is a huge learning experience for me. Having bookmarked innumerable recipes from her site, I dug this one out, and set about making it among the chaos reigning large in my house and in my head. Hoping that cheese, herbs and some fabulous warm bread might soothe out my wrinkely nerves.

Since its my maiden attempt to bake something that looks so formidable… I have stuck to refined all purpose flour(not healthy)but my later attempts(after I become a little better at baking) would be to eliminate the refined flours and adopt the whole grains. But as of now, bear with me.

Tea Time Treats

Tea Time Treats

While making this bread, I filled the entire bread pan with the dough, and the leftover dough was rolled into small tiny bite sized rolls. Now, while baking, these bite sized bits turn out exceptionally well.. better than the original bread baking in the pan. They are light, crisp and golden. So, hence forth I’ve decided to make these rolls with the dough instead of the pull bread. Its easier and they bake uniformly. So, you could try a bit of both to see what works for you.

Small rolls bake perfectly

Small rolls bake perfectly

The Recipe:
For step by step pictorial refer here:

Ingredients

For the Dough:

  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2¾ to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 25gm butter, soft at room temperature
  • ¾ to 1 tsp garlic paste
  • ¾ cup milk (+ a couple of tbsp to brush over the bread)

For the Filling:

  • 15 gm melted butter
  • 2 tsp dried Provencal or mixed herbs*
  • 1 tsp crushed cumin seeds
  • Crushed pepper/ red chilli flakes to taste
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • (or any kind of herbs you like)

Method

1. Dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the ½ cup of warm milk. Keep aside for about 5 minutes till the yeast mixture bubbles up. (If you use instant yeast, the waiting time is not necessary as it wont bubble up)
2. Put the flour, salt, softened butter, and garlic paste in a large bowl
3. Mix well with your hand or do it in a food processor.
4. Then add the yeast mixture and the remaining milk.
5. Start kneading. Keep mixing until it all comes together. You could do this in an electric mixer or food processor too. Knead for 10-15 minutes until you get a smooth, elastic dough. If the dough is too sticky, you can add a couple spoons of flour.
6. Place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it completely with oil
7. Cover and let it rise for about 1 to 1½ hours or until almost double in volume.
8. Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Deflate the dough & place it in the work counter Shape it into a rough square with the help of your hands
9. Roll the dough out into a larger square. (roll it our as thinly as possible, maintaining the shape)
10. Brush the surface of the square with the melted butter. Evenly sprinkle the herbs, pepper/ chilli flakes and the cumin seeds and then the grated cheese. Use a rolling pin to very lightly press the topping into the dough to ensure the topping doesn’t fall off when you are stacking the strips.
11. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips – they do not have to be perfect.
12. Lay each strip on top of the next, with the topping facing upwards, until you have a stack of the strips. You can put the 2 strips cut from the sides in the middle of the stack so it looks neater.
13. Cut straight down through the stack dividing it into equal pieces (6-8 square stacks). First cut the strip in half. Then cut each part in half & quarter & so on. If the is any excess dough, cut it off.
14. Grease and lightly flour a 9” by 4” (or 5”) loaf tin. Butter and lightly flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Layer the square slices, cut sides down into the loaf tin
15. If you have excess dough, roll it out long; sprinkle with herbs & cheese.
16. Roll it into a log & cut into swirly rolls.
17. Once the pieces are stacked, cover the loaf tin with a damp cloth. Let it rise for an hour or so.
18. Preheat the oven at 180 C (if you’re baking in OTG) or 160 C (if its a convection oven). Bake for 30 -40 minutes until it is done and the top is golden brown.
19. Serve warm.

A gift which won't be refused - for sure

A gift which won’t be refused – for sure

Note: I took exactly half the measurements of the above ingredients as it was my very first. I was mad enough to attempt it on a
harrowing day but not mental enough to waste food if it turned out to be a dud. 😉

Note: Reduce the garlic paste or eliminate altogether from the dough, tastes better. I forgot to add it to the flour, and mine
tasted good as the mixed herbs had enough garlic in them.

Crisp and cheesy

Crisp and cheesy

Milee had to be picked from a near by building where she had gone for a class. It was already evening, the sun was about to set soon. And I was eager to take pictures before it turned dark. I also wanted a new setting. I grabbed the bread, camera and all, reached 15 minutes before the kid’s class got over. To my luck there was a fabulous well scratched rough looking painter’s stool/table lying desolately in the car parking area of the building. My joy knew no bounds. What a steal!! I make the settings and holler to a very sweet friend who stays just above the magical podium. She thought I was a nut to go bonkers on a rough dilapidated looking stool. She changed her mind ofcourse. 😉

If you have noticed(mostly you would have), the color on the bread is not very golden, it needed a little more baking time. But I had to do the pictures before it got dark. After the shoot, the bread was back in the oven for a good 10 more minutes, and the result rocked completely.

Picture Perfect?

Picture Perfect?

And no, I could not steal the stool. It was too big to be sneaked out. But the good old friend of mine has assured that it will always be there and I am welcome anytime to come and shoot away. 🙂 lucky me!

Note: For those dear friends and readers who saw the Lasagna making pictures on my FB page, here is the party pooper: I clicked away the step by step assembling of the lasagna, but it was a pot luck dish, and I took it over to a cousin’s place, where in the get together, I forgot to click the final outcome and the serves. So sorry, the dish will not be featuring any time now. But soon, I will make it again and post the fabulous vegan egg free Lasagna. So, till then, make bread!