I know that loads of people make their own pizza and I certainly should have adopted this notion given the amount that goes down in this house, but I waited until I’d been on the planet 52 years before giving it a go! I was somewhat nervous about the whole dough-making process, which flour (00 vs. strong white bread flour) and the use of yeast (and all the different types you can get). Then the advice: James Martin advocated leaving his dough overnight, Jamie Oliver said 15 minutes, Google searches came back with anything from 30 minutes to a couple of hours! So, in the end, I cobbled this recipe together and….it’s great! I’ll be doing it again but will roll out the dough a little thinner next time. This recipe is quick, easy and as ever, homemade knocks shop-bought or even delivered into touch – give it a go!
Makes 6 – 8 medium-sized pizzas
What you need…
800g ‘00’ flour (I think strong white bread flour would work just as well)
1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
2 x 7g sachets fast action dried yeast
1 tablespoon caster sugar
650ml lukewarm water
for the tomato sauce
2 tins Italian chopped tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon dried oregano
for the toppings
Go mad – put whatever you fancy on! Our choices are below
What to do…
Whop all the tomato sauce ingredients into a blender and whizz to mix together. Set aside until ready to top your pizza bases.
If you have a standalone mixer with a dough hook on it, chuck everything else in the bowl and let it do its stuff for about 5 minutes, until you can see the dough coming together. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface.
If you don’t possess one of these lovely machines, heap the flours and salt onto a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Tip the yeast, sugar and water into the well and, using a fork and a circular movement, slowly bring in the flour from the inner edge of the well and mix. Keep doing this – it will go through a ‘stodgy porridge’ stage but will then start coming together as a dough.
Whichever route you took to get to this stage, now knead the dough quite assertively until you have a smooth springy soft dough – this will take about 5 minutes if you used the mixer to start with and maybe 10 minutes if you’ve done it all by hand.
Flour the top of your dough and pop it into a large, roomy bowl (I used the cleaned out mixer bowl), cover with cling film and pop it somewhere warm (I stood mine just under the radiator). Leave for 1 hour.
Dust your work surface with flour and/or semolina and then cut your dough into 6 or 8 pieces depending on whether you want medium or slightly larger pizzas. Squidge each piece into a ball and then roll out into rough circles until they are about ½ cm thick. Tear off a piece of foil slightly larger than the pizza base and spread over a little oil and then dust with flour and/or semolina. Pop the pizza base onto the foil.
Do this for each pizza base, stacking them on top of one another, each separated by an oiled and floured piece of foil. You could now cling film them and pop them in the fridge until you are ready.
When you are ready, pop a heavy baking tray on the lowest shelf of your oven and heat your oven to 250°c / 500°f / gas 9.
Apply your toppings of choice and then put the pizza in, one at a time, still on their foil, on top of the piping hot baking tray. Cook for 7 – 10 minutes until the pizza is golden and crispy (and the inevitable mozzarella is melted and bubbling).
Then, remove the pizza from the oven, leaving the baking tray in there ready to receive the next one. Your pizza will be firm so this won’t be difficult. Slide your pizza off the foil and dig in – the base will be lovely and crispy and the topping will be according to your individual taste!
What we had…
The point is, you can put whatever you fancy on, so I rummaged through the fridge and took out just about anything that I thought might work and that at least one of us liked. The joy of it then was that we built our own. Whilst the first one was cooking, the second one was being created and so on. We each created pizza specifically to appeal to our own tastes – marvellous!
I also made a garlic pizzetta to share so, in my blender I whizzed a couple of cloves of chopped garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a couple of teaspoons of dried rosemary. Then I just brushed the oil over the top and wodged in rosemary sprigs – it was bloody lovely!
Mine: tomato sauce, mozzarella slices, a few baby spinach leaves (I would have used basil, but didn’t have any), a few slices prosciutto and a couple of chopped up sundried tomatoes. Seasoned with salt and pepper. Gorgeous!
John: tomato sauce and then what looked like a fridge-raid: chopped up chicken, prosciutto, loadsa mozzarella slices, pepperoni, chopped up sundried tomatoes.
Connagh: tomato sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan, prosciutto, pepperoni.
Other topping suggestions, chopped ham, chorizo, sliced peppers and red onions, chillies, courgettes, anchovies, thyme…and so it goes on….
James Martin initially, then Jamie Oliver and then, the yeast packet and lastly, the fridge!
Dead easy and great fun!