In our house, weekends are just made for a cosy night in, a good film and pizza!
Supermarket pizzas have so far been our preferred choice (rather than the more expensive delivered ones) but quite often they can be disappointing and not only that, it gets expensive, as I do not eat red meat and my husband does so it means buying 2 pizzas!
Making pizza at home is really very easy and can be great fun when everyone gets to add their own choice of toppings.
There are so many toppings you can choose from and anything goes! Cheese & tomato, pepperoni, mushrooms, sausages, garlic and olives…and if you really like ham and pineapple…you just go for it!!
It’s a great introduction to baking with yeast too as the rise isn’t as crucial as with baking a loaf of bread…and everyone loves pizza!
For the dough
250g (9oz) strong white bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
7g easy-blend yeast
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
125ml warm water
Dissolve the salt in the warm water, put the flour, and yeast into a mixing bowl, add the milk and olive oil then the water and mix together to form a dough. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic – about 5 mins should do. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel, leaving it to rise for about an hour until doubled in size. In the meantime, make the tomato sauce.
For the tomato sauce
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tin of tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
Gently fry the onion in a little olive oil until it is soft – do this over a low heat as you do not want the onion to colour.
When it is very soft, add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well then allow the sauce to simmer for at least 10 minutes but if you can let it cook down for 30 minutes, the sauce will have a better depth of flavour.
Pour the sauce into a blender and blend until very smooth (if you don’t have a blender then the mixture can be pressed through a sieve with the back of a large spoon).
strong mature cheddar cheese, grated
mozzarella cheese, torn into small chunks…
…and anything else you fancy! I have divided this pizza into 3 sections with one third just plain cheese and tomato, another third has some lovely sliced red peppers and the final third I topped with some sliced frankfurter sausages.
And now the fun part! Take the dough out of the bowl, knead gently for a minute to knock it back and form into a ball. Now roll out the dough to make one large pizza (as big as the tray or baking stone that you have) or divide the dough into 2 or more pieces to make smaller pizzas.
To make moving the pizza easier with the toppings on, place the dough onto a piece of kitchen foil. You will be able to place the pizza onto the tray or baking stone with no problem and it saves on washing up!!
Spread some of the tomato sauce on top of the pizza followed by the grated cheese and any other toppings you are using and finally tear the mozzarella into pieces and dot over the top.
You can bake the pizza straight away if you like a thin crust or leave it to rise for 1/2 – 3/4 hour for a deeper crust, either way pre-heat your oven with the baking tray or stone so that everything is really hot before you cook the pizza.
When the pizza is ready to bake, take the hot tray or baking stone out of the oven and lift the pizza onto it. Bake at 180°c fan / 200°c / gas 6 for about 30-35 minutes until ‘golden’ brown.
Take a closer look at this great pizza baking stone…
Using a baking stone will give you great results with a lovely crisp bottom the the pizza so if like me you intend to make all of your own pizzas from now on, they are a great investment