Pizza must be the world’s favourite food. I’m not sure I know a single person who doesn’t love pizza. It can be eaten at home, in a restaurant or on the go. The choice of toppings are endless and are the source or cause of many arguments or debates. I’m firmly in the “no pineapple on pizza” camp and also a big believer in “less is more” when it comes to toppings – one or two at most.
So many people order takeaway pizza each week and spend quite a bit of money doing so. Making your own pizza at home is much cheaper and healthy in that you get to control the ingredients used.
I use a Kenwood Chef with the dough hook attached to make my pizza dough but you can easily make it by hand. Whichever method you use to make your dough, leaving it to prove is essential. Proving allows the dough to rise and is the rest period in the fermentation process. It is best to put the dough into a bowl and cover with a tea-towel and leave it in a warm place for 30-60 minutes.
Once your dough has risen and is ready you can then divide it into individual portions for each pizza. I usually use about 220g dough for each pizza.
Normally I make dough in the morning and divide it into indididual balls. I then store in the fridge under cling film for a number of hours. I take it out about 2 hours before I am going to assemble and bake my pizza.
Roll out your dough to your desired thickness. I like an Italian style thin crust. I stretch my dough by hand to the right size and shape but you can use a rolling pin too if you want.
You can either use a pizza tray, a pizza stone or a pizza steel to bake your pizza. If you are using a pizza stone or steel you need to heat it in the oven for at least 30 minutes in advance of using it. You will also need a pizza paddle to transfer the pizza to the stone in the oven. If you use a pizza tray then one with holes is best as it helps to bake the base more evenly.
I use my tomato sauce recipe and cook the sauce while the dough is proving.
You can use any toppings you like but some examples include pepperoni, salami, bacon, sausage, ham, nduja, courgette, sauteed mushrooms, roasted garlic, olives, roasted peppers, mozzarella. Remember “less is more” when it comes to pizza toppings. Too many toppings make the slice too heavy but also means you can’t taste any one topping.
Neither of my sons like cheese on their pizza and my oldest son loves a “marinara” pizza – tomato sauce only.
In Italy marinara pizza is on most menus but here in Ireland and France it is not common and in fact we have gotten free pizza for him in both countries as each time the restaurant couldn’t imagine a pizza without cheese and so couldn’t bring themselves to charge for it!
Lots of dinner plates have a lip on the edge so don’t really work for pizza. I bought some pizza specific plates and I love them. You can see them in the main photo.
Another pizza that many people don’t think about is “sweet” pizza. By that I mean pizza with sweet toppings like nutella and fruits.I will do another post on how to make sweet pizza. You have to try it sometime – it is really delicious.
- 530 g strong white flour
- 330 ml lukewarm water
- 5 g yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbls olive oil
- 1 tomato sauce (from my tomato sauce recipe)
- If you are using a bread maker combine the flour, water, yeast. sugar, salt and olive oil in your machine and turn to the pizza cycle. Skip ahead to step 7
- If using a dough hook and food mixer then combine the flour, water, yeast. sugar, salt and olive oil in your mixer and mix for 5 minutes. Skip ahead to step 7
- If making by hand, sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the yeast, sugar and salt
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the olive oil and lukewarm water
- Bring together by hand or with a wooden spoon until you have a soft dough
- Kneed for 5-10 minutes until smooth and springy
- Leave to prove for 30-45 minutes
- Divide the dough into individual pieces for each pizza
- You can then store the pizza balls in your fridge for up to 24 hours, making sure to remove from the fridge at least 2 hours before using.
- Preheat the oven to 240 C
- On a well floured surface, shape the dough. You can use your hands to stretch the dough to the right size and shape. If you don't feel comfortable using your hands then feel free to use a rolling pin.
- To assemble your pizza, place the dough pizza base on your baking tray and add the tomato sauce and toppings
- If using a pizza stone or steel, assemble the pizza on your worktop and then use your pizza paddle to transfer to the stone. Or assemble on a well floured paddle or peel if it is large enough.
- Bake for 5-7 minutes until the crust looks baked and the cheese is melted
- You can also bake the pizza on your pizza stone or steel on your bbq.
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