Many at home like to make their own pizza, but the proper art of
making the ideal pizza can be quite a formidable task especially when
you have to bake it at the right temperature.
Speaking to the Sunday Observer Magazine was Harpo’s Pizza Executive
Chef Saroj Kaluarachchi who gave us some helpful pointers. “When making
a home-made pizza, the ideal temperature should be from 2750 C to 3000 C
or else the pizza could become roasted”, he said. Furthermore, Chef
Saroj said that the home-made pizza dough should be half-cooked before
adding the toppings to make sure the base is strong enough to handle the
weight of the topping.
The chef said: “When a pizza is half-baked, it will be easier to make
the topping ‘stick’ to the pizza dough”. In addition to having a good
base, the pomodoro sauce or tomato sauce base should be light in
consistency. “However, if customers do not want tomato to be used in the
pizza, then a light pesto or green chilli base should be used but tomato
gives the best taste”, he said.
When making a home-made pizza make sure you don’t overdo the toppings
by adding too much ingredients. Chef Saroj said: “you need the right
amount of cheese, especially mozzarella to make a pizza base. Using
fresh ingredients helps and the right length of pizza dough is thin as
possible - only a few millimetres”, he said.
Pre-cooking the toppings should be done in a light way as well. “You
need to make sure the topping is cooked well enough to eat but not
overdone to make it soggy and melted. Once you cook the various toppings
you wish to fill your pizza with, make sure they are done properly as
you don’t want the toppings to make anyone sick”.
“A good home-made pizza needs around 10 to 15 minutes to be baked and
when the pizza begins to rise only, should you take it out of the oven”
said Chef Saroj. In addition to this, it depends on the capacity and the
temperature of your oven to make the best pizza.A good hot pizza is good
for any meal and it also is a good fast food.
“For children and adults on the move or just a housewife who needs a
break, a home-made pizza is easy to make if you have plenty of leftovers
from lunch and in the Sri Lankan case, curries”, said Chef Saroj. In
keeping in tune with traditional Italian cuisine, Chef Saroj says that
Sri Lankans can make pizzas with Sri Lankan ingredients if they like.
“Obviously, the traditional Sri Lankan rotti is similar to the base
where Italians like thin crusts and Americans like thicker ones and so
you can use any toppings that you desire”, said the Chef. Simple pizza
For the pizza dough, mix one and a half cups warm water with two and
a quarter teaspoons of yeast (sprinkled lightly) in a large bowl and
wait for five minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Stir to dissolve
completely if needed at the end of five minutes.
Then mix in two tablespoonfuls of olive oil, three and a half cups of
flour, a pinch of salt and sugar slowly. Knead the dough until it is
smooth and elastic with the hand or mixer. Then place the ball of dough
in a bowl that has been coated lightly with a tablespoonful of olive
Turn the dough around in the bowl so that it gets coated with the
oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Place it in a warm place (75-85F) until it
doubles in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If you don’t have a warm spot
in the house you can heat the oven to 150 degrees, and then turn off the
Place the bowl of dough in this warmed oven to rise. For the topping,
start with a light tomato base and then add cheese, and small
ingredients first before chunky sized ingredients. Bake pizza until the
crust is browned and the cheese is golden for about 10-15 minutes.
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