If you’re daunted by homemade pizza, don’t be. It takes about 15 min to prepare the dough, an hour to rise while you do something else and another 15 min to cook. If you are home by 6, you can eat by 7:30. It’s cheap and you didn’t have to go anywhere.
Not having a pizza stone or a brick oven fireplace, this is my favorite pizza dough recipe (from Delia Smith’s ‘How to Cook Book One’):
makes 2 pizzas
350g plain or bread flour
8 fl oz of hot water (boil the kettle and mix with cold purified water to get the right temp)
2 tsp dried active yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
Quick garlicky tomato sauce
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 tin of plum tomatoes or 1/2 a large tin
fresh or dried basil
salt and pepper
1 tsp sugar
dash rice vinegar (optional)
1) Mix dry ingredients together. Drizzle the olive oil and mix again.
2) Add the water and mix with a wooden spoon till roughly combined.
3) Dump on a clean work surface and knead for a few minutes until the dough becomes a soft squishy ball. It’s ok if at first it isn’t all sticking together. You shouldn’t need to add any extra flour to your work surface.
4) Place in an oiled bowl and cover tightly. If the covering is loose, the dough will develop a ‘skin’. Keep in a warm place for an hour until about doubled in size. An option is to warm the oven slightly, then turn off the heat and put the dough in there.
– While it is rising, make a quick sauce or use a homemade sauce you made earlier.
– Heat up olive oil in a sauce pot and gently fry the garlic for a few seconds.
– Add in the tomatoes and seasoning. Use a potato masher to break up the tomatoes.
– Cover with a lid and simmer on a medium heat for about 15-20 minutes.
– Blitz with a handheld blender.
– Taste and adjust seasoning.
5) Check on the dough after an hour. If it has risen nicely, Punch down, then gently knead again and cut in two.
6) Flour the work surface and then roll the dough out into the shape of your pan (circle or rectangle).
7) The best technique is to roll the pizza dough into a small circle shape and then a) pick up the small circle of dough, hanging on to the very edge so that the weight of the dough stretches itself. b) Move along all the outer edge with your fingers, letting the dough stretch out all sides. This is easier than flipping it up into the air! c) Place the dough back onto the work surface and roll out as big as you like. The dough should now be smooth and pliant. I recommend rolling out quite thin for a thin crispy pizza. Repeat with the other half of dough.
8) Sprinkle baking trays with corn meal to keep the pizza from sticking during baking. No need to use oil.
9) Bake on a high heat (400F) on the upper racks for about 10-15 minutes.
The kids had a split tomato-cheese with ricotta-cheese pizza and we had green chard, ricotta and kalamata olive