I’ve actually had a great craving for pizza recently. It is seriously such an easy thing to make. The first time I made it was of course an experiment which of course had to go right because I had decided to invite a friend over for dinner. Since that success (yes, it was a big success) I have made this time and time again.
All cooking (and baking) requires patience. If you can master patience, staring at your onions softening, waiting for the timer to go off, not opening the oven door to ‘see how your delicious whatever it is is doing’. No. Just don’t. Just watch it, let it cook, let the food do it’s own glorious natural thing and you end up with a beautiful thing.
Right, so pizza. You need to let the dough rise. The longer the better. You end up with a wonderful elastic dough that will make you never want to order in pizza ever again. And the best part is you can freeze the dough, even break it up into smaller batches for when you’re home alone wanting a small-sized pizza for yourself (or you know, you don’t have to do that if you want a bigger pizza). You can leave it to thaw in your fridge during the day if you’re busy or at work. Then knead it when you get home, let it rise for a further 20 minutes, then place your toppings on and within like 30 minutes you have a fresh, delicious, personal pizza.
Homemade Pizza (recipe originally from ‘How to Cook Everything Vegetarian’ by Mark Bittman)
You will need:
- 3 cups plain flour (or bread flour)
- 2 teaspoons of instant yeast (I use one whole packet)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup of water
- In a large bowl*, combine the flour, yeast and salt. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and start to bring the dough together with your hands. Then slowly add the water, a tablespoon at a time.
- Work the mixture in your hands until everything is combined and forms a dough. If you need to add more water then do so, again, a tablespoon at a time.
- Turn out your dough onto a clean floured surface and knead by hand for a minute or two until the dough is smooth. Form into a ball. Place the remaining olive oil in another large bowl and place the dough into that bowl. Cover with cling film and let the dough rise for 1-2 hours.
- If you are making this in the morning you can also let the dough rise in the fridge for 6-8 hours.
- If you want to freeze your dough then you will need to do so after it has risen for your required amount of time.
- When the dough is ready remove from the bowl (you can then divide it into two sections) and place on a floured surface. Roll into a round ball and cover with cling film once again. Let this rise for a further 20 minutes.
- In this time, I like to prepare my toppings. You can add anything you like. For this recipe I used red onions, yellow peppers, goats cheese, mozzarella plus herbs/spices. I recommend cooking/boiling any vegetables/ingredients first, such as I have done with the onions and peppers. I let them saute in a pan on a low heat for about 10-15 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 260C
- Once the dough has puffed up roll out into a circular form, with your hands or with a rolling pin. You can also roll out the dough on a pizza stone (like this one) if you have one. I like to make a twisty pattern for the crusts.
- Now, this is where I changed the recipe from the original. I covered my pizza with baking paper and baking beads/rice and blind-baked them for 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure the edges do not burn. You can also put your base on the stone/tray without the baking paper but it will puff up.
- Take your pizza out of the oven. Top with olive oil, tomato sauce/passata, cheese, your toppings, sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper (if desired) and then bake again for a further 8-12 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the cheese is fully melted. Let it rest for a further 5 minutes.
- Slice up your pizza and enjoy!
* You can also make the dough in a food processor if you prefer.