Sunday, 27 March 2016

Pizza - Homemade pizza pie!

Most of us love pizza. It is one of those homely satisfying things that is easy and fast. Originally a peasant dish, artisan pizzas now have a proper and well deserved place in high end cooking. A third of the pizza that we eat in the UK is take away and the rest is frozen or fresh from the shop, which is a real shame. Pizza is so cheap and easy to make, Making your own means you can get the perfect balance of ingredients, it is also a great way to get rid of some of those leftover veg or bits of roast chicken. The only special equipment you need is a pizza tray, which is £4 from any of the large supermarkets. Alternatively you can get a pizza stone if you are more serious, but do be careful this those they are HOT!

Making the pizza dough is the most laborious part, that will take you - or your mixer - about 10-15 minutes to knead and then another 40 minutes to an hour to proof. You can freeze all types of pizza dough. All you have to do is let it rise fully, portion it out into single portions, wrap it in cling film loosely and put it in a freezer bag. It keeps for about 3 months. To use take it out the freezer and pop it in the fridge the night before and hey presto you can have fresh  homemade pizza in no time at all.

Ingredients - makes 4 thin 12 inch pizza bases

2 teaspoons active dry years
A pinch of sugar
350g strong plain flour and extra for dusting
2 teaspoons of olive oil plus extra for kneading
150ml water
½ teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the topping

Tomato pasata or homemade tomato sauce
Anything you want on top of your pizza
Grated mozzarella or any other cheese you fancy - beware oily fatty cheeses can spoil your pizza.


1. Mix the yeast and the sugar with 3 tablespoons of warm water and leave on the side for about 5-10 minutes. It needs to be all bubbly and foamy before you use it. Try not to stir the years during this time, and avoid metal spoons they make it grumpy (yes yeast can be grumpy, it is alive and therefore not vegan!)

2. Put the flour, salt and olive oil in a bowl - make sure the salt is on one single spot towards the size of the bowl - add the yeast mixture away from the salt and slowly start adding the water while mixing with one hand. Make sure your dough is well combined in the bowl, it will be quite a sticky wet dough.

3. Now here is a tip from the master himself Paul Hollywood, oil a clean surface with plenty of olive oil, turn the dough over onto it and start kneading. Knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes, it will feel silky, smooth and stretchy. Put the dough back in an oiled bowl and leave the dough with clingfilm or a towel in a dry warm place for 40 minutes to an hour until it doubles in size.

3.1 If you have a food mixer with a dough attachment put all the ingredients in, turn the mixer on and watch it do its thing for about 5-10 minutes - check your machine’s instructions as most of them come with a wee cookbook and times on how long to knead the different types of dough.  

4. Separate the dough into 4 equal balls. Flour a surface and  your rolling pin and roll it out, ones it gets quite thin you can push it out with your fingers. Flour your pizza tray, you can use a mix of flour and semolina if you like, less likely to stick. Drape the rolled out pizza base over your rolling pin so you to transfer easier onto the tray.

5. Put some tomato sauce on top, don’t put too much on it makes it soggy and it drips. Put your toppings in any order you want, top with any cheese you want and bake for 10-15 minutes on a super hot over 230-240C’ that you have of course pre-heated. Pizza in a cold over = no pizza!

I hope you try this because it will save you a lot of money and it will taste so much better than the takeaway horror that we get these days!

Bon Apettite!