So Friday night came around very quickly last week and I was in the mood to make some pizza, it became a slightly drawn out affair, but that went well for the dough which rose to the occasion perfectly.
I had picked up some bocconcini at the wholesalers and thought…Yep on pizza that will be lovely. We had some left over eggplant from dinner a few nights before, add some freshly sliced mushrooms & olives, home made tomato sauce, cheese and voila dinner is served.
You will need:
For the dough – this amount will make enough for 3 good sized pizzas
25gm fresh yeast or 1 Tbsp of dried yeast
1 tsp runny honey
500g plain flour (if you have it you can use Tipo 00 flour which is great for pizza bases but it’s not essential.
1Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp sea salt
375ml lukewarm water
Crumble the yeast into a bowl with the honey and water, mix well and set aside in a warm place. Sift the flour and when you can smell the yeast and see bubbles or foam on the top it’s ready to add the flour to along with the salt & olive oil. Mix well until it forms a smooth ball (if you have a dough hook on your mixer you are in luck). You may need to add a little extra water or flour, if the dough is too sticky or dry, you want the dough to be soft & slightly stick, but not dry. Cover & leave the dough to prove for at least 10 minutes or until it’s doubled in size.
If you like your pizza bases thin, knock back the dough and divide into 3 pieces, roll out, place on greased trays that have been sprinkled with a little semolina and proceed with your toppings.
If you like a thicker pizza base, knock back the dough and divide into 3 pieces, roll out, place on greased trays that have been sprinkled with a little semolina and set aside to rise for at least an hour in a warm place. Then proceed to top your pizza’s.
For the toppings:
Really it’s up to your imagination & taste buds, I made a mushroom & olive pizza & eggplant & bocconcini. I had made my own tomato sauce with onions & garlic (I had made a lot for a party we had on) but you can quite easily use tomato paste, an italian herb mix or fresh herbs.
Capsicum, Proscuitto, Cheese, olives, artichokes, salami etc, all the standard toppings work, but generally for a traditional italian pizza limit your toppings to no more than 4 not including cheese & tomatoes.
For something a bit different & very special try Buffalo mozzarella & freshly chopped parsley, basil, oregano & thyme with lemon zest & garlic, mix it all together and sprinkle over the cheese.
You want your oven to be as hot as you can get it to start with and then when you put in the pizzas turn it back to about 220 degrees celsius. Cook them until golden and enjoy!
Tips: Don’t forget to season your pizzas with Salt & Pepper, unless you’re using extra salty things like feta & anchovies. Put the cheese on the bottom and for an extra hit of flavour mix tasty, mozzarella & parmesan or pecorino together. If you have a pizza stone use it or buy a couple of terracotta tiles (as per Gary from Masterchef) and use semolina as your base as this really does help to prevent your pizza’s from sticking to the trays, alternatively if you’re making quite a few you can have them waiting to go into the oven on baking paper which makes it much easier to move around and onto the trays.
Oh and did I mention my Dad is building a wood fired oven! 😀