I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love pizza! My dad is a pizza supplier and there was always a lot of pizza in the house growing up, so much so that I think my brother and I perhaps share a slightly unhealthy love for pizza. If I had to choose one meal to live on for the rest of my life, I’m pretty sure it would be pizza. So when my mum suggested this as one of the challenges, I thought it was brilliant.
I had a quick search online and found a recipe for a mozzarella and pesto pizza with homemade base and sauce. I used different toppings but the dough and sauce recipe was just perfect for what I wanted. So to make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:-
- 500g bread flour (plus more for kneading)
- 1tbsp salt
- 330ml tepid water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1tbsp golden sugar
- 1 7g sachet of dried yeast
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- 1 tsp of oregano
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tsp of salt
I started by sifting my flour and salt into a large bowl and then made a well in the centre.
I mixed the water, oil and sugar together and then added the yeast. I gave it a good mix and waited 3 minutes before pouring the mixture into my flour well.
I used a metal spoon to slowly stir the flour into the liquid until it was well combined. I ended up having to add a little bit more water as it seemed a bit too dry. I just added a few drops at a time until it came together as a relatively sticky dough.
I floured my work top and tipped out the dough ball. I gave it a good knead for about 10 minutes until it was smooth and springy. I popped it in a clean bowl which I had covered with a fine coating of flour, sprinkled some flour on top of the dough and then I covered the bowl with a damp tea towel. I put the bowl in the hottest part of my flat, in front of the working tumble dryer and set the timer for 1 hour.
Practical tip: in case you missed Challenge No. 16, remember to develop your own method of kneading. This may sound silly but when I first starting making bread, I tried to replicate other people’s kneading styles. Unfortunately, I have bad joints, particularly bad in my hands and I found it painful to use some of the methods I’d seen on TV. Instead I found I rolled and stretched the dough between my two hands, using more of the heel of my hand than my fingers. It takes a little longer for me to knead like this but I always get there in the end and it is less painful 🙂 So find a method that works for you and just go with that.
Whilst the dough was proving, I set about making the pizza sauce. I drained the juices from the tinned tomatoes and popped the leftover tomatoes into a jug. I added the oregano, garlic and salt and then blitzed it with my handheld mixer. The smell was absolutely beautiful and instantly reminded me of a lovely fresh cooked Italian pizza! Just what you want from a pizza sauce 🙂
When the timer went off for my dough, I turned the oven on to 220 degrees celsius and put in two tray upside down. According to the recipe I found, this helps crisp up the base of the pizza.
I tipped out the dough onto a well floured surface and divided the mixture into 4 equal balls. I took the first one a kneaded it for about 5 minutes until it felt right to start stretching. I gave it a bit of a roll with the rolling pin and then decided that, if I am making pizza, I’m going to do it properly…so I started throwing it in the air, spinning it into a flat oval. It kind of worked too!! I still had to give it a bit of a stretch to get it to the right size but I soon had a base ready to be topped. I popped it onto some floured foil and got started on the toppings.
Practical tip: this recipe makes 4 pizza bases. If you don’t want to eat all four at once, just knead and shape any extra dough. Layered the extra bases together with foil to separate them and then pop them in the freezer for another day.
I made Dave’s pizza first and added some sauce before layering up some grated cheddar, pepperoni slices, ham slices, some barbecue chicken, some pulled mozzarella and then a drizzle of chilli oil.
Practical tip: don’t cut your mozzarella, always pull it. I’ll be honest I don’t know why this is but its something my dad always says to do when topping a pizza and having been in the industry for a long time, I’m inclined to listen to him 🙂
With Dave’s pizza put to one side, I took the next ball of dough to knead and stretch into my base. I topped it with some of the sauce and then added my ingredients. I covered a quarter of the pizza with goats cheese, a quarter with gorgonzola, a quarter with mozzarella and a quarter with a cheddar/parmesan mix. I then topped it all with ham and some chilli oil.
I put each pizza onto one of the heated trays and put them in the oven. I set the timer for 8 minutes and when this went off, I broke an egg into the centre of my pizza. Trust me, don’t knock this until you have tried it. Egg on a pizza is one of life’s little food secrets that no-one should miss out on (although Dave still wont try it!).
I let the pizzas cook for another couple of minutes and then decided they needed a little longer. I hadn’t made my bases quite as thin as the recipe suggests and I know Dave prefers his pizza slightly overdone. I ended up cooking the pizzas for about 16 minutes in total and this was just about right for us.
These were absolutely amazing! They was much less greasy than a takeaway pizza and I’m amazed at how simple it was to do. Once I’ve used the 2 extra bases I have in the freezer, I will definitely be making some more.
Coming up next week, Challenge No. 29 – panda cupcakes (gluten free).