Homemade pizza has to be the best (except of course the pizza you get in a real Italian restaurant!) I love a thin base, it has to be really crispy and my favourite toppings are goats cheese with red onion marmalade, Parma ham and black olives. Once baked then top with a handful of rocket. It’s so delicious. And yes, top marks to those of you who’ve noticed that the pizza in the photo is not the one I’ve described :O)
Well fortunately I do like a variety of other toppings, it’s important to experiment.
The most time consuming part of pizza is making the dough however, when I was on my cookery course in the Dublin Cookery School we were given a really easy pizza dough recipe. If, like me you like thin crusted pizzas, you will get enough for four pizzas out of this quantity. Also, if possible buy a pizza stone, they are about twenty euro and give that lovely crispness to the crust. Of course a well floured baking sheet/tray will do the job too. This dough also freezes really well, so it’s really handy to have a few portions squirreled away for when you feel like having an easy night with a glass of wine and a slice of pizza.
- 450g/1lb strong white flour
- 1 tsp salt
- half tsp sugar
- 7g sachet of instant yeast or 1 tbsp of quick yeast (Dove’s Farm do a great one)
- 2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for proofing stage
- 300 ml/10 fl oz warm water
Pre heat the oven to 230c/450f/gas 8 about 20 minutes before you are ready to cook the pizza. The great thing about this method is that most of the work in done in a food processor.
So sift the flour and together with the salt, sugar and yeast put into the food processor. Turn on and through the feeder tube add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and half of the warm water. This will form a bread-crumb consistency. Gradually add the rest of the water until the dough forms a sticky ball. However, don’t worry if you add too much water, just add a little extra flour.
Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 5 – 10 minutes. The dough is ready when it springs back when pressed by your thumb. Brush a large mixing bowl with some olive oil, place the dough into the bowl and also brush with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to double in size. This will take at least one hour.
So when the dough has more than doubled in size, knock back , punching the dough and knead for about 2 to 3 minutes. Divide into four piece, covering any additional dough pieces until you are ready to use. On a well floured surface roll out your pizza base. This dough is really stretchy so you may have to use your fingers as well as your rolling pin to get it into the shape you want. You could go Italian style and toss it into the air! ;O)
Place your dough on a floured baking sheet and cover with your preferred toppings. Place the baking sheet on the highest shelve in the oven. The pizza is cooked when the crust has turned golden brown and the cheese in bubbling.
However, if you are using a pizza stone you will need to place the stone on the highest shelve in the over at the point when you turn the oven on to pre-heat. The stone cannot be placed in a hot oven as it will crack.
Place the pizza base on a well floured paddle or light wooden breadboard. Place your toppings on the pizza base and transfer the pizza onto the stone in the oven. You will need to kind of shunt the pizza onto the stone, use a palette knife if you are having problems moving the pizza but if the paddle/wooden board is well floured it should move easily onto the stone. The pizza will cook in about 7 to 8 minutes.
Choose a mix of any of the following topping suggestions: Salami, Parma ham, onion marmalade, black olives, grated mozzarella, slices of buffalo mozzarella, goats cheese, bacon pieces (my husband puts a raw egg on his just before it goes into the oven!!!) Each to their own.