Please excuse my terrible picture of a pizza! Hopefully it still looks tasty despite the low light. I’m very picky about pizzas – homemade ones generally have A LOT more flavour than any store bought frozen OR fresh version I’ve ever tried. Plus you have the added benefit of knowing exactly what’s gone into them, and being able to pull back on the cheese for a slightly healthier pizza if you like. Here’s the recipe we use to make into pizza, calzones and garlic bread (not at the same time… yet).
You’ll need -(makes a generous pizza each for two people). Don’t worry if you don’t have a cup measure, grab a smallish mug or teacup and use that instead.
- 2 cups tepid water (hand hot)
- 1 sachet instant yeast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- more olive oil for greasing your tray, plus cornmeal (you can get cornmeal, also called polenta – it looks like yellow grains of sand – from health food shops. Grab a packet, it lasts a long time and gives homemade pizza and bread that amazing crunch)
Sift your flour into a bowl and add the yeast and salt (not touching each other though. They don’t get on). Make a well in the centre and add about two thirds of the water and the olive oil. Stir with a wooden spoon, adding more water if necessary until the mixture comes together into a dough. Go in with your hands and start kneading the dough in the bowl at this stage. You can add a touch more water or flour if the mixture seems to be too dry or too wet, and don’t worry if you wind up using more flour or water than the recipe says – its not a problem.
Lift the ball of dough out of the bowl (if you’ve got a second person around helping you make dinner, get them to rinse the bowl out quickly because a) that dough will stick like a son of a bitch and b) you can reuse it to for stage 2!) and start kneading, either on a clean floured worksurface or a floured chopping board. Just push the dough away from you with the palm of your hand and then sort of scrunch it back into a ball and repeat the process. After a few minutes the dough should be soft and spring – its ready to rise!
Plop your dough back into a bowl (clean and coated with oil) and cover tightly with clingfilm (obviously it needs to be a big bowl). Leave someone warm for around an hour – it should roughly double in size.You should start preheating your oven now too – pizzas cook best at high temperatures, I would preheat the oven to around 180 degrees/gas mark 7.
After an hour, punch your risen dough back down (that “pfffffffft” is soo satisfying), give it a brief knead, and divide into however many pizzas you want to make. Once you have your smaller ball of dough, I put it onto a greased cornmeal-ed baking tray and then roll it out into a rough circle. I like to give mine bigger crusts too (love the crust) so I just pull and stretch it with my hands.
Next, put on your toppings
Pro tip – once your pizza has been cooking for a few minutes and is suitably browned/no longer just raw dough, take a spatula and loosen it from the tray and then slide it onto the bars of the oven to cook freestyle. This helps to avoid a soggy pizza bottom – a fate worse than death in my opinion.
Do you ever make pizza? I wish I could make pizza that tasted like domino’s at home!