Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pizza with fresh Mozzarella and Hand Made Crust

Not often I started making dinner yesterday but I bought a gallon of milk speculating that I could make a batch of mozzarella cheese. When I got home and looked up the instructions, it was quite doable.

Mozzarella Cheese

4 litres milk
1 1/2 tsp citric acid - my pharmacist had this stuff, vinegar might work too
1/2 enzyme tablet
1/2 cup water
salt - probably 1/2 tsp but not sure yet 

Warm the water to 35C and put the enzyme tablet in it to dissolve for 10 or 15 minutes. Warm the milk to 35C and add citric acid and the water with the enzyme in it. My instructions didn't mention salt but it needs it. I don't know yet if it can be added at this time. Anyway, that's it. The tablet instructions say wait 5 minutes but I found 10 to 15 is better or even longer. I think once the enzyme is used up it stops and nothing else happens so it shouldn't over work itself even if you leave it an hour.

Once it's set the whey will be clear and the milk solids will be gelled. Cut the curd into one inch squares, put the pot back on the stove and slowly heat to 40C stirring gently. Remove from heat and continue stirring gently for 2 to 5 minutes. Gently lift the curds out with a slotted spoon into a bowl. Periodically empty water from the bowl that weeps from the curds. Gather all the curds you can with the spoon but do not strain the remainder. What is left is soggy, not gelled, doesn't taste good and doesn't have a nice texture. Pour it out. If needed heat the curds up in the microwave till almost too hot to handle and start stretching it. Pull it out, fold and stretch again. This smooths out the texture in the cheese. You can tell when it's done, it's nice and smooth.  That's it, mozzarella!

Pizza Crust - turn oven light on, it warms oven perfectly for rising bread and making yogurt

1/2 cup water
1 tsp yeast
2 tsp honey
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

Warm liquid to 41-46 degrees C. Add yeast, let stand 5 minutes. If using stand mixer put water, yeast and honey in bottom, then flour and salt on top. Start and stop the mixer until all the flour is taken up then let it run on medium speed to kneed the dough. Or you can kneed by hand for 5-10 minutes until the dough is soft and supple. I usually use the machine then finish by hand for best results. It will be soft and run like molasses when it's ready. Put it the oven to rise till doubled, about an hour. Punch down twice and start stretching to shape on parchment paper. I assemble the pizza on my pizza paddle which happens to be the same size as my pizza stone. Put it back in the warm oven to finish rising. 

Pizza Sauce

1 12-14oz can tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic - crushed
1 onion diced
fresh or dried basil 

Caramelize onion, add garlic, basil and tomato. Bring tomato sauce to simmer and reduce volume by half. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 425F 
Grate the whole chunk of mozzarella.

Brush olive oil all over the inside of the pizza crust. Spread tomato sauce over it evenly. Lay thinly sliced ham around. Sprinkle pineapple tidbits around, don't use too many or the crust will get soggy. I sliced a green pepper thinly and put rings around the pizza. Finally spread the cheese evenly over all. I slide paper and all onto the stone to cook. Bake for 20 minutes or till the cheese and crust are browned.

I noticed how much I've mixed up metric and imperial units. When I was in high school the Liberals made Canada metric. That would have been great if it had been left that way, but the Conservatives came to power and changed the law so both systems could be used. 45 years later we are still doing the same thing. It's insane.

The pizza was insanely good however.

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