Have you ever watched those documentaries where Pizza chefs are making the dough for another one of their delicious Italian spheres of goodness and thought how much fun it would be to make a pizza from scratch just as they do day in day-out? I've been fantasising about it for as long as I can remember until the temptation finally got the better of me. I've got 2 girl friends and 2 large food-guzzling boys in the house at the moment and realised that there's no time better than now.
My initial concerns were that it would firstly take ages to do, that it would taste horrible and that no-one would ever want to eat my cooked food again. And I can confidently say that this recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver resolved any of these initial worries. There are so many Pizza recipes out there to follow, but Jamie's was very straightforward and the ingredients were easy to find out our local Sainsbury's.
There are some small changes that I've noted down and will mention along the way but over-all it was, by far, the most fun recipe I've ever tried. Phrases like "Oh my god, look, it's like a cute soft pillow!" "How's he doing in the oven?" and " It's so floofy and poofy" were often used in my euphoric state of Pizza making. Thank you to my two gorgeous assistants (friends cough cough) who put up with the very drawn out process.
Preparation Time: 1 hour 30 min
Cooking Time: Each Pizza 8-10 min, 40 Mins in total with two pizzas in the oven at a time
You will need:
For the dough:
800g Strong White Bread Flour
2 [7g] Sachets of Yeast
650ml Lukewarm water
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
For the tomato sauce base:
1 clove garlic
one hand-filled bunch of basil
400g good-quality tinned tomatoes
freshly ground pepper
For the topping essentials:
mozzarella [Jamie says 85g,
I used two bags of
shredded mozzarella and
some cheddar for 8 pieces]
any toppings of your choice:
chicken breast strips
Because of the lengthiness of this recipe, I'm going to show you step by step with photos.
Step 1: Pile the 800g of Flour onto a clean surface. You are going to be using this surface to mix the flour and yeast mix with a spoon so make sure there is enough space.
Step 2: Add the tablespoon of sea salt to the flour.
Step 3: Add the 2 7g sachets of yeast into 650ml of lukewarm water and stir, then add the tablespoon of golden caster sugar and stir.
Step 4: Make a trough (a hole) in the middle of the flour pile, making sure it goes all the way down the bottom.
Step 5: Pour the yeast mixture into the hole, and with the fork, begin to collapse the flour into the hole stirring in a circular motion.
Step 6: Stir in all of the flour with the yeast mixture, maintaining the circular motion with the spoon. As Jamie says, it will start to look a bit like porridge. It makes it easier to add a bit at a time.
Step 7: The dough should start to get sticky and very 'dough' like. Continue to incorporate all of the flour around the outside.
Step 8: With the inside of your palms, round the mixture into a ball shape. Use more flour if the mixture is still wet and sticky. Jamie recommends a technique of pulling the dough towards your body with your left hand and at the same time pulling it away from you with the other hand in order to stretch the dough a bit.
Step 9: When the dough is formed into a ball, place it into a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling film. Leave for 45 minutes. Place aside.
For the sauce:
Step 10: Chop up one clove of garlic.
Step 11: Pick off a handful of basil, leaving the stalks. You will need some for the sauce and some to garnish the pizza.
Step 12: Add a tablespoon of oil to a pan on a medium heat.
Step 13: Add the garlic to cook until golden brown, then add the basil and stir.
Step 14: Add the 400g of plum tomatoes, add some seasoning of sea salt and grounded black pepper and leave to cook for 20 minutes.
Step 15: Take the dough out from the bowl and separate into two. Then separate each big ball into four pieces so that you have 8 balls altogether.
Step 16: Wrap each ball in cling film firmly and leave to rest for 15 minutes. This will give you time to prepare any toppings....
Step 17: Take one of the balls of dough and roll with a rolling pin to 0.5cm thick. This will seem very thin but the yeast will make them rise. Depending on how thick you want your base, you can vary the thickness of the pizzas.
Step 18: Pour two spoonfuls of tomato sauce onto the pizza base and spread thinly near to the edge.
Step 19: Sprinkle a generous amount go mozzarella over the pizza base, don't worry about being neat.
Step 20: Now decorate with your chosen toppings, avoid overloading the pizza.
These are some of my creations:
Artichoke, chicken breast, olives, pesto
Pesto, olives, chicken breast
Mushrooms, Salami, Cherry Tomatoes