I got the most amazing opportunity to be a part of the Pizza 101- guide to everything pizza class as Insta Pizza on the weekend. A lot of you might not know this about me but I am as passionate about cooking as I am about eating. I do try my hand at creating desserts and baked delights. I have often given pizza making a go at home and no matter what the outcome (read as: unsuccessful attempts), it has always tasted brilliant. They do say that things taste sweeter with hard work, so I got my apron on and got ready for the masterclass.
What’s not to love in a pizza?! It’s delicious, it’s quick to eat, you get a variety of toppings to choose from and of course there’s cheeeeeeese. And come on, each and everyone of us has faced cravings at odd hours when you are looking for something cheesy to satiate yourself. Pizza’s have become a part of our family meals where everyone from my parents to little siblings love this creation. It always leaves you in a cheerful mood 🙂
So the basics of the pizza is the base..if you got that right, it’s smooth sailing from there on. My main trouble has always been getting that pizza dough right. It either gets too sticky to roll out, or doesn’t rise enough or the sides get crispy but the center gets soggy on baking and so on. It breaks my heart every time I don’t achieve perfection and watched a lot of videos to get it right. However, watching videos isn’t the same as getting a one-on-one demo. I learnt quite a few things that I would love to share with you guys to get your pizza making game on point! Also I got the chance to try out some of their cheesy creations as well and it was the best way to spend my weekend! I was really excited as we donned our white aprons and hair nets to step into their kitchen and give pizza making a go!
Get Set Cook On:
~ Pizza dough – So I did not get the chance to make the pizza dough there itself as it requires time to kneed and rest. However, they did walk us though the process and shared a detailed recipe for it (if you need the recipe, leave a comment below or send me a mail and I shall share the same with you). So what I learnt essentially was that the crust is the soul of the pizza. Be patient with this and give it the time it needs. Once this is ready, the rest is easy!
~ Dough rolling – So this is the tricky but yet the fun bit. The dough is slightly sticky and I managed to crumple it up as I lifted it off. Immediately the chef came in and discarded that dough ball and I had to go in for the next one. He carefully pulled it out with a dough knife. Our working area was dusted with a lot of flour and he pressed the dough gently on it. Next step is to use the tips of your fingers and press into it lightly to define the edges. Once done you simply need to use a press and stretch motion with both your hands to stretch the base out. We then dusted the wooden base with some flour and placed our pizza base on it. It is essential to dust off the excess flour on both sides of the rolled dough with a brush.
~ Toppings – They had a variety of toppings to choose from neatly laid out in containers having veg on one side and non veg on the other. We grabbed our pizza on the wooden base and began with the veg section. The first thing was to get our sauce on top. The idea is to take one big ladle-ful and spoon it on in the same motion as that of preparing a dosa making sure you leave the corners out so that they puff up to give you that crispy crust. Next is to put the cheese…yes, cheese comes on the base too and then on the top. This layer at the bottom helps hold all the toppings in place. The cheese was not shredded or in cubes but finely diced and was a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar. So generally the idea is to have a light hand with your toppings and choose a few so that each ingredient stands out. However another line of thought is to go crazy and that was how I was feeling at the moment :-D. From the selection of veggies I topped some mushrooms, red chillies, green bell peppers, jalapenos, onions, olives and sweet corn. Finally we sprinkled loads of cheese on top and the pizza was ready to go into the oven. My friends and me also made a collective non veg pizza that we loaded with pepperoni, smoked chicken and chorizo…even the chef agreed we were onto a winning combination!
~ Baking and end result – So the pizza gets slid into the oven and off the wooden base. The timer is set for about 3 minutes and 20 seconds for the thin crust one (the oven was on about 285 deg). We happily waited for our efforts to come to fruition and the result was glorious! I could not believe that I had managed to achieve such a beautiful outcome. Topped with some fresh basil the pizza had a good balance as all the flavours came together. I definitely have all the makings of becoming a Masterchef 😛
Pizza making is indeed fun and the satisfaction of preparing it yourself is immense. The idea here is to get creative and prepare a combination of toppings that suit your palette. Keep a light hand on the dough but don’t be afraid to muck it up a few times coz that’s the way you learn.
Get Set Gobble:
They have five types of pizza bases in their arsenal – Cracker thin (which I loved), thick, Raagi (if you are a health freak), New York and deep dish (this is insanely good).
They do have 6 types of dips which are tandoori, chilli garlic, southwest chipotle, barbecue, honey mustard and cheesy jalapeno. Give them a try and see what combinations you love. I just blindly dipped into 2-3 bowls at a time and ate it as a combo 😛
~ Garlic twists – The pizza dough is rolled and baked with a filling of mozzarella cheese and creamy garlic butter to produce these little wonders. We tried it with the non vegetarian stuffing and they tasted great. Use the dips provided generously as they make for great flavour combinations.
~ Deep dish – The deep dish pizza is popularly known as the Chicago style pizza. It can be called a pizza pie as there is about one inch of stuffing in it. The deep dish pizza has two layers of crust, one at the bottom and other on the top. They generally have about a kilo of stuffing inside the smaller pizza and kilo and a half in the bigger one. Heads up guys…this takes about half an hour to cook in the oven so don’t blabber on about the service being slow…it’s the baking time needed. As they say, good things take time 🙂 We had the non vegetarian one with pepperoni on top..delicious! A slice of the deep dish pizza is like a meal in itself. It is loaded with cheese and vegetarian or non vegetarian delights. This is definitely something you should try once if you are proud of calling yourself a pizza lover. MUST ORDER
~ Galleria special – This was a thin crust vegetarian pizza and is highly recommended not only by me but the chef as well. The combination of the spicy jalapenos and sun-dried tomatoes is a winner. There is also fresh garlic that helps enhance the flavours. MUST ORDER
~ Downtown chicken & broccoli – This was also a thin crust pizza with toppings of tandoori chicken, smoked chicken, fresh broccoli, crispy garlic chips, jalapenos, fresh basil and cracked black pepper. There is generous amounts of cheese on all pizzas. However, I am surprised but the vegetarian option would have to be my favourite between the two (those of you who know me, know that I love eating non veg all day and any day).