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Francesco making pizza at Milpara

Crafting perfect pizza dough, one knead at a time

Did someone say pizza? In fact, it was World Pizza Day on Thursday 9 February.

What better way to celebrate than with an authentic Italian pizza?

The star of the pizza day at Milpara Residential Care Home was Francesco.

Francesco, a Milpara resident, used to own pizza bars around Adelaide, in places such as Stepney and Golden Grove.

Francesco also previously volunteered to make pizzas for his local Italian club.

Francesco making pizza at Casa Cafe at Milpara
Francesco rolling out the dough on a floured surface to the desired thickness and shape.

We asked Francesco to share his tips for a delicious pizza…

  • Resting the dough after kneading and before stretching will allow it to rise and develop flavour, resulting in a lighter and more flavourful crust.
  • Use good quality olive oil to prevent sticking. It will also make it easier to stretch the pizza on the baking tray. In some Italian families, semolina is sprinkled on the surface or baking tray to achieve a similar result.
  • Preheat the oven properly to ensure the crust cooks evenly and becomes crispy.
  • Don’t go too heavy with pizza toppings if you don’t want your pizza becoming heavy and soggy. Use good quality pizza sauce and fresh ingredients for authentic flavours.
  • Have fun and get your whole family involved.

And if you’re wondering about the ultimate ‘pineapple on pizza – yes or no’ question, Francesco said it wouldn’t be his preferred option, adding: “I just love Margherita and putting anything else on a pizza is a waste of time.”

Looking to try to make pizza at home? Why not give this recipe a go…

  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast
  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt and sugar
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 jar of pizza sauce (homemade if possible) with crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, sliced mozzarella
  • Additional toppings
  1. In a large bowl, combine the warm water and yeast. Stir well and let sit for about 5 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy.
  2. In another bowl, mix the flour, salt and sugar together. Then, add the olive oil and mix until the mixture becomes crumbly.
  3. Gradually add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture, stirring well with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
  4. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead it for about 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  5. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
  6. Cut dough into 4 equal portions and rolls into balls. Cover with plastic and a tea towel and rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to the desired thickness and shape.
  8. Spread the pizza sauce evenly over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the sauce, and add the toppings of your choice.
  9. Bake the pizza in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
  10. Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
Team work makes the perfect pizza at Milpara, Francesco and volunteer Rita making pizza
Francesco and Rita choosing the perfect pizza toppings

Francesco’s skills in shaping the pizza dough were just next level and we all loved a slice of his amazing Margherita.

Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who got involved to make the pizza day a success and thank you, Francesco, for sharing your craft with us. 

Learn more about Milpara Residential Care Home at Rostrevor.

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