2 Cups Bread Flour
1 Cup Water
1 tsp Salt
8 grams (or one sachet) of active dry/instant Yeast
2-3 glugs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tin of San Marzano Tomatoes
1 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Dried Oregano
half a bulb of Garlic crushed
Start by getting your sauce on the go, it’s the same idea as we did in the Simple Pasta Sauce Recipe, you want to start off on a medium heat, with a couple of glugs of Olive Oil in there, get the dried herbs in to flavour the oil for a minute or two, toss in the garlic for a minute before throwing in the San Marzanos, and then let it simmer.
For a couple of hours.
Do you have to let it simmer that long? Of course not, you don’t even have to cook it at all if you don’t wish. You could just use a tin of San Marzanos, blend it until smooth, and put that on the pizza right before going into the oven.
I enjoy doing mine like this as San Marzanos have such a great flavour for pizza’s when done this way. Sure it takes a lot of time, but you’re making your own dough, which needs at least 2 hours to rise, so why not make a great sauce as well!
Now it’s time for what I believe to be the most important part of a pizza, the dough. Pizza dough is so simple, grab 2 cups of bread flour, don’t use all purpose, it’s gotta be a strong bread flour. Add the salt, and yeast (for yeast, just follow the directions on the brand you have available, as some you can throw in dry, others you have to re-hydrate first.) stir those dry ingredients and once mixed, add your cup of water and let the stand mixer do the work for around 5-10 minutes until the dough is really smooth, but still sticky.
Yes, you can do this without a stand mixer, and was the way I have done it for years, it’s a great upper body workout, but since I was gifted a stand mixer, I feel bad not using it. If you’re going to be mixing and kneading by hand, be sure to mix the water in with a wooden spoon at first until you get a “shaggy dough” so you get a lot less flour sticking to your hands.
Once you’re happy with the dough, put it in a bowl covered with a damp cloth, and let it prove for 2 hours, until it’s nearly double in size.
After two hours has passed, your sauce should be nice and thick, and very dark, and very intense in flavour (you will have plenty left over for other dishes!) and your dough should have doubled in size, if not, don’t panic, depending on your climate, it may have only risen a little, this is fine.
Turn on your oven as high as it will go, for most ovens this is around 260°c/500°f.
Cut the dough into two even dough balls, do this on a well floured board to help keep it from sticking your hands, and then get to tossing!
No, you don’t have to know how to toss dough, but you’ll want to rest the dough on your knuckles, and let it stretch under it’s own weight. It should be elastic enough to stretch, but not break. You may not get it perfect the first time, but the more you make it, the more fun it becomes.
From here, you know what to do, spread on the sauce, grate over some parmigiano reggiano, tear up the fresh mozzarella, cover it in some basil leaves, finely drizzle a little olive oil over the top of it all, and the put it in the oven.
Do you need a pizza stone? Or even Pizza pans like we have? Not at all, any oven pan will do fine, as long as they heat up quickly and fair evenly. It’s best to go with the thinnest oven pan you have, as you want the pizza to cook quickly.
Depending on your oven, it should only take around 10-15 minutes. In ours it’s only 13 minutes, and I make sure to switch the pizza’s around at the 6 minute mark in the oven so both get the same amount of heat.
And that’s all there is to it really. For me, pizza is all about the dough, and the sauce. You can put any toppings you want on a pizza, me, I’m fairly simple and like the Margherita style. But trust me, once you get that dough down, and you start serving that for family and friends, they should never want a store bought pizza again.
Remember folks, cook for you, cook what you like, use recipes as a guide to learn techniques, take out what you don’t like, and put in what you do like! Cooking is easy and fun and delicious, and never let anyone tell you pineapple doesn’t go on a pizza… (Although, you really shouldn’t…)