Since I’ve started making my own pizza dough, it has completely ruined take away pizza for me forever. And don’t even mention those cardboardy pre-made pizza bases you buy from the supermarket!
The only thing you really need to make sure you have in the cupboard is the yeast; everything else is a staple. It is so super easy to make, but you do need to be slightly organised to allow time for the dough to rise so you get a lovely light base.
This recipe is Pete Evans’ from his book My Party. My sister was on My Kitchen Rules with Pete last year, so I have a bit of a soft spot for him. And since making his pizza dough, that soft spot has become a soft smooshy pizza lovin’ piece of my heart.
Best get on to that recipe, hey?
Pete’s Pizza Dough
3 teaspoons yeast
3 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
250ml warm water
425g 00 flour (strong/pasta/pizza flour)
Combine the yeast, sugar, salt, oil and warm water in a large bowl and set aside for 15 minutes or until the mixture begins to bubble. (This means that the yeast is activated. If the mixture doesn’t foam at all, it may mean your yeast is dead – poor little yeasties – and you really should start again to get a good result.)
At this point, I pop my bowl in the stand mixer with the dough hook attached and begin to mix it on a slow setting. Then gradually add the flour. You don’t have to be too precious about it; the mixer will get all the lumps out eventually. Allow the mixer to knead the dough for 5-7 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can combine the flour with the yeast mixture with a spoon and then knead the dough by hand for about 15 minutes. As much as I adore my Betty, and generally use her for all my kneading requirements these days, hand kneading is so relaxing. I should do it more often. But Betty might feel neglected, and I wouldn’t want that.
Now, pop your dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap, and place somewhere warm. It was a bit chilly yesterday, so I put my oven on really low and popped the dough in there. Worked like a charm. You need to leave the dough until it has doubled in size. I kind of forgot about mine for a bit, so I’m not sure exactly how long that took, but it was probably an hour or so.
Take the dough out and ‘knock it back’. Thanks to reading a snazzy bread book recently, I have discovered that the proper way to ‘knock it back’ is not to give it a good left hook, but to fold the dough in half, then in half again. Much more civilised.
Pop your dough back in its warm, cosy place, and allow it to rise again for about half an hour.
Then, divide it into equal portions and go ahead and make your pizzas! This made four individual sized pizzas, or would make two large pizzas. Stretch the dough out nice and thin (the crust will puff up when it’s cooked). Ideally, spread some polenta on your baking trays so that the dough doesn’t stick, but flour will work too, although it burns a bit.
Top your pizzas as desired and place in a really hot oven – I set mine to 250deg. They only take about 10 minutes or so to cook – instant gratification!
I promise you, you’ll never reach for a pre-made base again!
Oh, and I have to ask now – pineapple or no pineapple? (If you say pineapple, I cannot be your friend. Sorry.)