2½cupsorganic all-purpose flour(300 grams) or (1 cup all-purpose flour & 1½ cup wheat flour)
1teaspoondry active yeast or instant yeast (3 grams) (or ⅓ tsp for slow rise)
½cupwarm water+2 tbsp. (or as needed)
1½tablespoonolive oil(or any oil)
⅓ teaspoonsalt(use as needed)
1teaspoonorganic sugar(or 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup)
1tablespooncornmeal(or fine semolina)
For pizza sauce
400gramstomatoes(fine chopped or pureed)
2garlic (cloves chopped finely)
1 teaspoonred chili flakes
1teaspoonItalian herbs(or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, adjust to taste)
¼teaspoonsalt (adjust to taste)
½teaspoonblack pepper(coarse crushed or powder)
1 ½tablespoonoil(preferably olive oil)
1teaspoonorganic sugar(or as needed)
For pizza toppings
200gramsMozzarella cheese(use as needed)
1½cupsMix vegetablessliced or cubed (capsicum, onions, olives, tomatoes, mushrooms)
½ teaspoonItalian herbs( or oregano as desired)
¼teaspoonred chili flakes(adjust to taste, optional)
How to make the recipe
Make pizza dough
Pour ½ cup luke warm water to a large mixing bowl. If your mixing bowl is cold, first warm it up a bit by swirling some hot water in it. Discard the hot water and then pour luke warm water. An ideal temperature of warm water is 40 to 43 C or 105 to 110 F.
Dip your finger and ensure the water is warm and not hot. Then add yeast and sugar. Stir and set aside undisturbed for 10 to 12 minutes.
After 15 mins the yeast mixture should become bubbly or frothy indicating it is active and alive. If it doesn’t turn frothy by then, the yeast is inactive and cannot be used for the dough. In this case discard and start afresh with luke warm water, sugar and yeast.
When the water turns frothy, add flour, salt and oil. Next mix and make a soft dough adding more water if needed.
Knead the dough very well until soft & elastic for about 5 to 6 mins.
To check if it is done, poke it with your finger. It should dent easily and bounce back slowly. This is an indication of the dough being ready.
Apply a thin layer of oil to the bowl and the dough as well. Keep covered with a moist cloth or a lid.
Proofing pizza dough
Let it rise at room temperature until it doubles or triples. An ideal temperature for rising dough is 26C (80 F) to 32C (90 F). Depending on the temperature it will take any where from 1 to 4 hours to rise.
High temperatures will kill the yeast so be cautious. Let it rise slowly for longer so it develops a good flavor. During winters, you may proof it in your instant pot on the yogurt settings (LOW).
Prepare pizza sauce
Puree or chop tomatoes finely. To make sauce, heat oil in a pan and saute garlic until it smells good. Then add red chili flakes & mix.
Add tomatoes, salt and sugar. Stir and continue to cook covering partially as it splatters a lot.
Cook until the sauce thickens and is of spreading consistency (but not runny). Add herbs and crushed pepper.
Mix and taste the sauce. You may add more salt, herbs and pepper to suit your taste buds. Set this aside to cool.
Bring your choice of veggies to room temperature. Avoid using cold veggies from the refrigerator as they let out moisture on the pizza making it soggy.
Rinse and slice or cube the veggies. Separate the layers of onions. Avoid chopping them too small or too large.
If using bottled olives drain them to a small strainer. Grate or cube the cheese and set aside.
How to make pizza (thin crust)
When the dough rises well, punch it a few times to deflate and remove air bubbles.
Transfer the dough to the work area. Divide to 2 to 3 portions depending on the size you prefer.
Knead it a bit and gently shape it to round balls. If the dough is too sticky then sprinkle some flour & knead. After this step you may make the pizza or cover the bowl with a cling wrap and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.
When you are ready to make the pizza, preheat the oven to the highest temperature, 220 to 240 C or 470F for at least 25 to 30 mins. Place a baking tray or a cast iron pan in the middle rack and heat it as well in the oven.
Sprinkle some cornmeal over the pizza tray. Place the pizza dough over the tray and flatten it slightly.
Add few drops of oil on the dough. Begin to spread and stretch the dough on the tray with your fingers. Flatten to a 9 inch thin even base. Keep the edges slightly thicker than the center. (with this recipe you can make three 9 inch thin crust pizzas or one 14 inch thin crust.)
Spread the pizza sauce as desired, leaving about ¼ inch on the edges. Layer the grated cheese and then the veggies. Lastly sprinkle Italian herbs and red chili flakes. To finish off top with more cheese if desired avoiding over the veggies.
Place the pizza tray right over the hot baking tray or cast iron pan in your oven. Bake for 10 to 12 mins or until the pizza base becomes crisp, golden and cheese turns slightly golden.
If your cheese doesn’t turn golden, you can move it to the top rack and bake for another 1 to 2 mins. Slice and serve pizza hot or warm.
To make thick crust
To make a thick crust pizza, spread the dough to a slightly thicker base (⅛ inch) with your hands so the sides are thicker than the middle.
Prick the base with a fork 8 to 9 times randomly so the base doesn't puff like bread.
If making a thick base & you own a small oven, then put the base in the oven without the sauce and toppings. Bake it for 5 to 7 mins. Later top with sauce, cheese, veggies and herbs.