Pizza for two with quick & easy homemade Challah dough



Growing up in a small town in India, pizza was a special treat enjoyed when we visited the city. This was before Dominoes and Pizza hut opened stores in every neighborhood there with guaranteed 30 mins delivery. Mom would sometimes make pizza as an after school treat, but sadly from store bought crusts that were really bad. We would just pick up and eat the toppings which were always delicious covered with amul cheese  and leave that soggy weak crust alone. Sometimes she would use bread instead which was only slightly better. If only she knew how easy it was to make the crust from scratch! 


Thankfully I have found out how easy and fun it is to turn my kitchen into my own pizzeria. There was a lot of outrage about Pizza being considered a vegetable  on school lunches but I kinda get what they mean! Pizza is the perfect vehicle for whatever you want to get your family to eat. Whether it is loads of yummy roasted veggies or whatever you can find in your fridge. Sausages, left over chicken roast...the possibilities are endless. You will feel an immense sense of power when you see that nobody says no to grilled eggplant if its on a pizza! 



This recipe is from the book that got me baking bread- Artisan Bread in Five.  I make a big batch of Zoe and Jeff's lovey Challah dough several times a month and put it in the fridge to make rolls, sweet breads like this cinnamon caramel bubble bread, and this apple braided bread.. It is my favourite dough because its so easy to make and tastes great in both savoury and sweet breads.  Zoe and Jeff  have come out with a whole book on Pizzas and flat bread with many different types of dough and fantabulous toppings.




I like rolling the dough out thin like New York style pizza, on a large half sheet baking tray for parties since the dough can be made upto 5 days ahead and actually tastes better after a day. When I am making it for just the two of us I use my cast iron skillet. Making it in a cast iron skillet makes the crust lovely and crispy but you can really make this in anything that's oven proof with very simple ingredients. 
I think making a heart shape pizza would be corny but cute for valentine's day and I may just do it but for now here is the recipe so that you can make pizza at home too!

Update: For an eggless, vegan pizza dough that is equally good, use the no knead vegan dough here

For the Challah dough 
Recipe Source: From Artisan Bread in Five as posted earlier here
( You can halve the recipe to make two medium sized pizzas. remaining dough can be refrigerated or frozen to later make rolls, breadsticks etc. ) 

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets -any kind of yeast is ok)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup honey ( I used 1/2 cup sugar instead) 
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (or neutral-tasting vegetable oil such as canola- I used oil), plus more for greasing the cookie sheet
  • 7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • You can also add some herbs or garlic powder to the dough if you like
Method
1.Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter (or oil) and the herbs ( if using) with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (no airtight) food container.
2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon.You may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
3. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
4. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond 5 days, freeze in 1-pound portions in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. Defrost frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator before using. Then allow the usual rest and rise time.

While the dough is rising, make the Pizza topping:
Go crazy an put whatever you want! Just remember not to go overboard else the crust may not get cooked if you overload it, it will be messy and difficult to eat too. Also make sure you have your toppings chopped up and ready before rolling out the dough. 
You can make your pizza cheeseless too although I generally use a mix of cheese. 
I use some mozzerella because it melts well with some more flavourful cheeses like Asiago, cheddar etc. We love Cow Girl Creamery cheese which is made with our favourite organic Straus Family Creamery Milk. You can even use the preshredded supermarket cheese but its extra delicious when you use the good stuff. 
If you are using fresh mozzerella ( which comes floating in liquid) make sure to drain and squeeze out the water else your pizza will be soggy. This is not necessary for regular mozzerella.

This is what I used: 
  • 1 small yellow onion cut into cubes
  • 1 bell pepper (the orange or yellow ones are milder and sweeter) cut into cubes
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce ( I just use a can of fire roasted or plain diced tomatoes and mash it up with a fork. You could also cook down some tomatoes into a thickish sauce with your favourite herbs)  
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic minced ( Do not use garlic paste here-yuck) 
  • Pepperoni sliced thin
Cheese a mix of :
  • Mozzarella ( since it melts well)
  • Asiago, Gruyere or Cowgirl Creamery's Wagon Wheel cheese  or my current fav Quadrello Di Buffala ( Buffalo milk cheese) 
  • If you want to try goat cheese, we loved Humboldt Fog 
How to form & bake the Pizza crust:
First go watch this video then read this post
Take a quarter of the dough by scooping it out or cutting it out with kitchen shears. Dust it well with flour and form a ball shape.
Stretch it using your knuckles moving it around gently to stretch out the dough careful not to tear it.
You can also roll the dough into a circle using a rolling pin.
Place it in a lightly oiled cast iron/ oven proof skillet/ cake pan or even on a rimmed baking sheet and stretch out the dough with your fingers to reach the edges of the pan
It's ok even if it tears a little just patch it up with your fingers.
Let it sit for about 20 mins if you want a fluffy, chewy bready crust. If you want a more crunchy crust no need to let it rise.

Layering the topping:
The important thing to know is that toppings that will burn easily like thin slices of pepperoni and herbs go under the rest of the topping. 
This is what I do:
  • Preheat the oven to 475 F for about 10 mins. If you are using a pizza stone you need to preheat for atleast 30 mins. I don't use a stone. 
  • Sprinkle the minced garlic evenly over the dough and brush all over with olive oil 
  • Spread a layer of tomato sauce on the dough in the skillet 
  • Sprinkle herbs like oregano, rosemary, thinly sliced garlic and anything else that might burn easily if its on the top. 
  • Put the pepperoni slices, onions and capsicum over the pizza spreading it out evenly
  • Lastly sprinkle the shredded cheese and slabs of mozze$rella here and there
Place in the preheated oven for about 20 -30 mins until the cheese has melted and a toothpick inserted into the crust comes out clean.

Note: If you are piling on a lot of toppings to make a deep dish type pizza, you might have to pre-bake the crust alone for about 5 mins before putting on the toppings as else the crust may sit undercooked under too much topping. 

Leave to cool down and enjoy!

19 comments:

  1. Pizza is worth a try...:)) Loved the presentation..
    Reva

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  2. Looks lovely dear... We are all pizza fans here... and often have pizza parties at home with close family! Ive never tried challah dough for the base... will give it a try next time :)

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  3. I never tried making Pizza in India and out here so far , I made it only once :) Never made challah dough .. should try this sometime for sure.

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  4. That looks awesome rose:-)
    I am soo going to try the challah dough

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  5. Thanks girls! This dough is really fantastic. I make it several times a month. Let me know when you try it!

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  6. I got so much tempted by looking at this pizza, yummy!

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  7. The pizza looks fab. perfect crust and very tempring. Rose, I love the background of your pics. How do you get that perfect color and tone??

    My event- Valentines Day Special

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  8. Thank you! I am lazy and shoot most of my pics on my dark dining table Anzz :) I don't even bother diffusing the light because I like the weird shadows and highlights. I'm so glad you do too!

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  9. Wow Rose!! Pizza with challah dough! Sounds incredible!!

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  10. A great idea! That pizza must be delicious. I really love the crust.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  11. Thanks Ambika and Rosa! I love your blogs :) Thanks for visiting me

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  12. I never tried with challah dough. mmmm...this looks amazingly delicious.

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  13. I have made challah several times ,but never thought of using it to make pizzas. This is so cool ! and yes, I ate pizza for the first time while I was doing my BSc in Mangalore :-)

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  14. This looks delicious and I love that you use challah. The cast iron skillet makes the pizza look so rustic!

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  15. Hi!I have just received the versatile blogger award and as per the rules i am supposed to pass it on to 15 fellow bloggers I liked. I have been a frequent visitor of your blog and really enjoy reading it.I would like to nominate your blog for "The Versatile Blogger Award" for its great content and versatility. You can find me at http://bake-a-mania.blogspot.com

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  16. Wow! I've never thought of making pizza with Challah dough. What a great idea!

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