I’d forgotten how much I like making dough until quite recently. I think that having a new kitchen has helped me rediscover home-made breads. Our old kitchen had beautiful hardwood surfaces that looked lovely but were a nightmare to maintain. They were also a bit too sticky for kneading dough or rolling pastry. Whether it was the finish or their thermal behaviour I don’t know but, either way, I only ever made bread once in that kitchen. When designing the new kitchen my first request was “no wooden worktops”.
As you may have noticed from my photos I got my own way. We now have engineered laminate worktops, with a faux slate finish. Not only do they look smarter (in my opinion, at least) but they’re also much better when it comes to food preparation. They’re cooler to the touch and food just doesn’t stick in the same way – probably because they’re easier to clean. All attributes that come in very handy when I suggest to Michael that we should have Home-made Pizza for dinner.
Unlike some other types of dough pizza bases can be made in a relatively short amount of time. As with most breads it’s the kneading stage that takes up your time. After that you can sit back and let the yeast do the rest of the work. Not that you should ever scrimp on kneading, I might add. When it says in the recipe below to knead the dough for 10 minutes I mean it. You want the dough to not stick to any surfaces and have a soft, springy texture. Almost like it would bounce if you dropped it – though I’d suggest you don’t actually test that!
Once kneaded the dough will only need to prove once and can be baked straight after being rolled out. As such, you can go from ingredients to pizza in as little as 90 minutes. Not quite as fast as calling your local takeaway, admittedly, but with a much greater sense of achievement. Plus you’re totally in charge of the toppings, so should avoid any arguments over what pizza to get.
Out of this batch of dough we made two simple pepperoni pizzas, some garlic bread and breakfast pizza the next morning. If you’re looking for inspiration I can help you with a couple of bits and pieces. I have a recipe for No-Cook Pizza Sauce, which can be made with store cupboard staples and tastes great. I can also help on the morning after front too, with my recipe for Breakfast Pizza – which isn’t far off a Full English on an edible plate. With melted cheese – because that’s never a bad thing, right?
For the Pizza Bases
- 350 ml Warm Water
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Caster Sugar
- 7 g Fast Acting Yeast
- 550 g Strong White Bread Flour
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- Mix together the warm water, olive oil, yeast and sugar in a large jug. Put to one side for a few minutes until it starts to form a froth on the top.
- Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Form a well in the centre.
- Pour the liquid into the middle of the flour and bring together with a fork until it starts to come together as a dough.
- Turn out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead for at least 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy. If your dough feels too wet then add additional flour in small amounts until the texture is smooth.
- Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth or some cling film. Put into a warm room to prove until doubled in size. This should take an hour or so.
- Turn the risen dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface and knock it back. Form into 4 evenly sized balls. At this stage you can freeze any dough that you don’t need – just each dust with a little extra flour and wrap tightly in lightly oiled cling film before freezing.
- Roll each ball out using a rolling pin (or stretch with your hands) until they’re around ½ cm thickness. Allow the bases to rest for a few minutes before topping and baking.
- As a note on baking… When you’ve added your toppings you want to cook these at around 220-230°C for 12-15 minutes. My oven tends to get them to the crisp and golden stage in 12 minutes, but every oven is different so keep an eye on them as they bake and give them an extra couple of minutes if needed.
|Estimated Values per Serving|
|of which Saturates||1||g|
|of which Sugars||1||g|
|Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.|
Note: The Nutritional Information shown for this recipe is based on the basic Pizza Base as listed in the recipe above. All toppings will increase this values, so these will need to be accounted for separately.