I love pizza, although it was something that I haven’t always liked- I distinctly remember not wanting to eat it when I was little. Making pizza is something that I have a fairly long-standing interest in- in fact I did a whole project based around making pizza for Food Technology during my GCSES! This included lots of tests about what was the best sauces or flours for making your pizza, including one notably horrific test involving testing flours (hint, never use potato flour for pizza!)
I particularly feel for my parents who served as taste testers (and then cruelly missed out on this pizza!)
This project rather put me off making pizzas- clearly I had my fill! In fact I had only made pizza once in the years since.
The other day however I had a sudden urge to make pizza, so I turned to one of my favourite and most trusted cookbooks- The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook – as I was sure that Deb would not steer me wrong.
I used her quick pizza dough recipe as we wanted to eat pizza as quickly as possible and it worked great. The pictures are actually of the second time I made this recipe- the first time I topped it with chunks of ham and pineapple (dried with paper towels so as not to make the pizza soggy) to make the boyfriends favourite pizza. The second time it was a simple margherita, one of my personal favourite types!
What I really love about making pizza dough is that you take a simple selection of ingredients and can make something delicious and worthwhile from it- which is one of the best reasons for baking in general.
The ingredients list is for the second pizza I made but choose your own toppings if you want- just don’t weigh the pizza down too much, or use too moist toppings as they may make the pizza sloppy.
I make this pizza by hand, athough it can also be made using a mixer with dough hook attachments, simply because I don’t want to deal with extra washing up I can avoid!
- Olive Oil for coating bowl
- 1 tsp table salt
- 200g Strong White Flour
- 1 ¼ tsp dried yeast
- 100ml warm water
- Polenta for sprinkling
- 85g Passata
- Chilli Flakes
- 1 garlic clove minced (I grate mine on a microplane)
- Pinch of sugar
- 115g to 140g mozzarella- torn and well dried on paper towels
- Basil leaves
- Parmesan to grate on top.
- Turn oven to warm (120°/110°C Fan Oven) for five minutes, then turn off.
- Pour the warm water into a mixing bowl, then sprinkle over the yeast- leaving to stand for five minutes.
Add the flour, then salt and mix with a wooden spoon until a rough mix is formed. Turn dough and any lose bits onto a floured counter, kneading until a smooth elastic dough forms.
Coat the inside of the mixing bowl with olive oil. Place dough back into bowl and cover with clingfilm. Place in the warmed oven and leave for 30 mins or until doubled.
Remove dough from oven and preheat oven to its highest temperature.
Sprinkle a rimmed baking tray (about 23×32 cm) with polenta. In a bowl mix together the passata, a pinch of salt, chilli flakes to taste and the garlic. Adjust to taste, adding sugar if necessary.
Stretch dough to fill tray. Spread with the sauce leaving a margin at the edges. Place mozzarella on top. Bake for 7-11 minutes (Mine was slightly over done on top at 8 mins so keep an eye on it!) Sprinkle with basil and grate parmesan on top. Slice into squares on the baking tin.
I’d love to hear about your favourite pizza toppings.