Isn’t Pizza just awesome?
I mean, you can put anything on it and it always tastes perfect. Chicken, Peppers, Chorizo, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Pesto, Spinach, Beef, Sweetcorn, Pinenuts, Ham, Goat’s Cheese, Potato, Onion, Rocket, Tomatoes, Chillies anything really. I have even seen recipes involving Bananas! As long as there’s plenty of cheese, some meat and some veg I’m satisfied. Just never serve me up a pizza with Tuna on it…that’s just wrong!
In my opinion though, the best pizza is when as much as possible is made from scratch. So that means your own dough and base sauce. The dough can take a while but the results are well worth it. You can flavour to your exact taste and make it as thin or thick as you like.
This pizza dough recipe is one that I’ve used for a good few years and though it’s never let me down (apart from one time when I forgot to add the yeast! :S), I decided it needed a little improving in the method. My trick is to knead it more than once. It may seem like a faff at first but compare this to a once kneaded recipe and you’ll see the difference.
This pizza serves 4 with a side salad or chips etc., or it serves 2 greedy people. i.e me and my boyfriend.
Basic Pizza Sauce
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp mixed herbs or Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp dried garlic
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
Heat tomatoes over a medium low heat.
Add herbs and garlic
Allow the mixture to bubble moderately, stirring all the time.
As the mixture cooks down you’ll be able to squash the tomatoes, making the sauce more puréed.
Taste the sauce. If you don’t like your sauce to be too sharp and tangy you can add the sugar now.
Once you have reached the desired consistency you can add this to your pizza base.
Basic Pizza Base Dough
220g/8 oz strong plain flour (you can make this slightly wholemeal by substituting 30g of white flour with 30g wholemeal flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp quick-acting dried yeast
1/2 tsp of herbs (optional)
150ml pint of warm water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and stir in the yeast and herbs.
Make sure the water is at the right temperature, too cold and the yeast won’t react, too hot and you’ll kill it. I usually test this by making sure I can keep my finger in the water for at least 5 seconds or so.
Mix the oil into the water.
Make a well in the centre of the flour. Pretty sure this is to help it all mix better. 🙂
Give the oil and water a good stir and pour almost all of it into the well. If it’s a humid day you may want to keep about 15mls back in case the flour doesn’t absorb much.
Mix well with a fork until almost combined to a dough. There should be a few dry bits round about. Cover with cling film and leave for 2 minutes so the flour can absorb the water.
Now it’s time to get your hands dirty. Bring the dough together to form a dough. If it is still very dry add an extra splash of warm water.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for ten minutes.
I tend to use a push away and roll back on itself kind of technique but there’s loads of ways to knead. The BBC has a pretty good tutorial on it. http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/techniques/kneading
Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
After an hour take out dough and knead again for a minute or two. Then cover and allow to rise for another hour. This will allow the yeast to carry on doing its job.
Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to desired shape and thickness. Mine doesn’t exactly look uniform but hey, I know it’ll taste good.
Prick all over with a fork leaving the edge untouched for a crust. Allow to rise for 15 minutes (I promise this is the last time).
Once it’s all risen you can add the sauce and toppings straight on but I tend to bake the base a little bit first to stop it going soggy. 3-5 minutes at 200C should do the trick.
Once your toppings are all added, stick it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 200C. The finished product should look similar to this. I apologise, for in my haste to eat I compromised on the quality of this picture. I’m sure your pizza will look infinitely better.
Et voila! Perfect pizza, homemade and delicious. Let me know what you think 🙂