Cheddar Melt Pizza

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What do you do when you’re confined to the warm comfort of your home on a gloomy, rainy day and the nearby pizza outlets aren’t taking orders for home-delivery? You make your own pizza, of course!

Another reason why I prefer making pizza at home is because I’m not a fan of cooked, stringy, chewy mozzarella. Before you make that “are-you-serious?” face, let me tell you that I actually know quite a few people who share this view about cooked mozzarella. However, I LOVE the idea of a freshly made wood-fired-oven pizza. So in times of clashes like these, out comes faithful Cheddar to the rescue!

Gooey, melt-in-the-mouth, silky, golden Cheddar. What more could you possibly want from cheese?

The pizza dough in this recipe is made with whole-wheat flour and does not contain yeast.  Apart from being deliciously crispy, it also automatically turns healthy (for whoever thinks pizza is junk food). The dough stretching also involves spinning it in the air so be prepared to feel awesome.

Cheddar fans, this one is a ‘must-try’; we all know why.

Mozzarella fans, this one is a ‘must-try’; to surprise yourselves!

I. For the base:

  • All purpose flour – 1 cup
  • Whole wheat flour – 2 cups
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp.
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Milk – ½ cup
  • Olive Oil – 3 tbsps.

Mix everything together in a bowl. Knead the dough for around 10 minutes till you stretch the gluten and form a soft dough-ball and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Dust work surface with flour, use a rolling pin and roll out a small circle. Then, flatten the circle using your hands to work the dough till it is approximately 15 inches in diameter. Finally, (if you are up for a little fun) toss the base in the air using only your fingertips to spin it and your knuckles to catch it. Practice a few times and you shall spin like a pro. This also helps in stretching the dough but if you feel safer without food flying up in the air, by all means, use a rolling pin. Use a fork to pierce the dough and blind bake in a preheated oven at 200 C (400 F) for 8 minutes.

II. For the sauce:

  • Tomatoes – 4 small or 3 large
  • Onion – Half
  • Garlic – 6-7 cloves
  • Red bell pepper – 1 (deseeded)
  • Mustard powder – 1tsp.
  • Vinegar – 1tsp.
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Paprika or red chilli powder – 1 tsp (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • Salt and pepper – 1 tsp. each
  • Assorted herbs

Heat oil in a pan and allow it to reach smoking point. Then flash-fry the peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes till they turn smoky and have burnt edges. Allow the vegetables to cool and then peel off the tomato skins. Blitz in a mixer till you have a thick, sauce-like consistency. Pour it into a pot and put it on the heat. Add seasoning, herbs and the remaining ingredients. Cook till the oil starts separating and the sauce has taken on a rich red colour.

III. To assemble:

Spread the sauce over the pizza base, add toppings of your choice; I usually use tomatoes, mushrooms and basil. Simple but they go brilliantly well together. Sprinkle more dry herbs and layer cheddar slices (even grated cheese works fine). Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes at 180 C.

Give yourself a pat on the back when your kitchen fills with the aroma like that of an Italian pizzeria!

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