How do you make pizza dough from scratch? Does the ham go on the pizza before or after cooking? How about the mushrooms?
Making the dough
The other day, my friend Rosalind asked me to give her my pizza recipe, and I was at a loss.
I usually let my bread machine make the dough so all I’ve got to do is slap the dough into a tin, spread tomato sauce and cheese, and pop it into the oven.
But Rosalind hasn’t got a bread machine, so…
I’ve tested this recipe for everyone who hasn’t got a bread maker and enjoys a bit of kneading (it’s very relaxing!)
250 g strong bread flour + some extra for dusting the work surfaces
½ teaspoon fast-action dried yeast for bread
a pinch of sugar
120 ml lukewarm water
½ teaspoon salt
- Add the yeast to the lukewarm water and stir in a pinch of sugar. Leave to rest until a froth forms on top.
- Put flour and salt in a bowl and pour the yeast-water mixture. Mix with a spoon and then with your hands until you have a nice solid ball.
- Knead the ball on a floured surface. Stretch it, fold it, gather it and repeat many times, until the dough is smooth and stretchy.
- Roll it into a ball and put it into a lightly floured bowl. Cut a cross in the middle to help it swell, cover with a tea towel and leave it to rest for one hour at a temperature of at least 22°C.
- Divide the dough into two and stretch each portion into a flat disc that will fit into a 24cm-diameter pizza tray. If you haven’t got a pizza tray, use any baking tray. A pizza can be rectangular or round, thin or thick. Italian bakers, for example, make them thick and spongy in big rectangular trays.
- Spread tomato passata, sprinkle cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 220°C for about 10 minutes.
If you want to use fresh mozzarella, the kind that you find in a packed with liquid, you need to let it drain (and squeeze a bit) to stop your pizza being soggy. I prefer to use harder types of cheese, like cheddar or hard mozzarella/caciotta.
Instead of tomato passata, you can use tinned tomatoes but you should whizz them (with a little oil, if you like) to make them smooth. If there’s too much water in the can, drain first.
|When should I add…|
|Cooked ham||Before baking|
|Wurstel/sausages||Before baking (sliced)|
|Roasted vegetables||Before baking|
|Cooked mushrooms||Before baking|
|Anchovies/ tuna/seafood||Before baking|
|Fresh spinach||As you take out of the oven (so that it just wilts)|
|Rucola||As you take out of the oven (so that it just wilts)|
|Smoked salmon||Before serving|
|Fresh champignon mushrooms||Before serving|
|Parma ham||Just before serving (so that it doesn’t cook)|
|Basil leaves||Cut up: before baking; whole leaves: before serving|
You can divide the dough into portions and freeze in cling film. Use within 20 days.
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