Saturday, 20 August 2011

Homemade Pizza

It's not as though we never get pizza delivered, but most of the time I'd much rather have a homemade one...

I originally got the recipe for this from the River Cottage Bread book by Daniel Stevens but, over time, I've refined the recipe until it's exactly how I like it - a thin, crispy, slightly wholemeal base is my favourite. 
Pre-cooking some of the more watery veg, like mushrooms, and reducing down the sauce prevents the base from getting soggy. This amount will amply feed two hungry people.

Measure out into a bowl 125g white bread flour, 65g wholemeal flour and 60g plain white flour. Add 3g dried yeast, 5g of salt, a drizzle of olive oil and 165ml warm water. Bring these together until they form a dough and then knead it for 10 minutes. Then pop it into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a plastic bag. Leave to rise for half an hour.

In the meantime, make the tomato sauce. Use a tin of tomatoes, a jar of passata or, in my case, half and half. Heat up some olive oil in a pan and fry off some crushed garlic and a pinch of dried chilli. Add the tomatoes, some dried oregano, salt, pepper and a shot of vodka (or lemon juice). Bring it to a simmer and leave it cooking until the liquid has reduced thoroughly, leaving quite a thick sauce. Stir in fresh basil leaves at the end.

Slice, dice and prepare the rest of your toppings as needed - items like mushrooms are best pre-cooked. One of my favourite toppings is spinach and egg with black olives. Pre-heat the oven to the highest setting it will go and, if you have a baking stone, put it in to heat up.

When the dough has risen, break it into two and roll each one out into a circular shape on the worksurface. Use semolina flour to prevent it sticking.

Retrieve the baking stone from the oven and ay a pizza round onto it. Coat with tomato sauce and whatever other toppings you've chosen. Pop in the oven for about 10 minutes, remove and replace with the second one which can cook while you're eating the first. Mmm.

Some good topping ideas:
  • Simple tomato, mozzarella and basil leaves
  • Tomato, mozzarella, baby spinach, egg and black olives
  • Tomato, goat's cheese, purple onion, balsamic syrup
  • Tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms, ham, sweetcorn
  • Tomato, ricotta, mushrooms

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