What could be easier than sending out for a pizza delivery? Hmm. It’s not so difficult to make your own and it can often be much nicer. I see that the BBC suggests using two packets of pizza mix. Aye well, if that’s what you like, but it’s not so hard to make your own pizza dough. And anyway, by the time you’ve bought the two packets would it not just be cheaper to order a pizza delivery? Or maybe buy one of these frozen pizza bases? Try making your own!
First you make the dough, then you decide on the toppings, assemble the thing, and then you cook it in the oven. No problem! You can save money by making pizzas yourself and I bet they are tastier too. So, first we make the pizza dough.
For the base
- 2 tsp dry yeast
- 400 g strong flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 230 ml water
We cheated and used the bread machine to do the work, so it was just a matter of bunging all the ingredients in, in the order suggested by your machine’s manufacturer (ours specifies the water first, even though the instruction book gives the water last – why do instruction book writers deliberately make things awkward?) and selecting the dough programme. If you don’t have a bread machine then just think about your worst enemy and give the dough a good going over. After that:
- Once the programme has finished, remove the dough from the baking tin.
- Smear a baking tray with olive oil and spread the dough out with a rolling pin.
- Let the dough rise at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes.
- Spread the dough with the toppings of your choice, and let it bake for 15-25 minutes at 200°C in a pre-heated oven, until the cheese has melted and spread evenly, and the dough is brown around the edges.
The “official” instructions don’t say to do this but I’ve always found it useful to give the baking tray a light dusting of flour too. And how you can roll a pizza on a baking tray is completely beyond me. I rolled mine on a board and then transferred it to the tray before adding the toppings.
I’ve seen these pizzas with the filled crusts and that seemed like a fun kind of thing to do, so I rolled out the pizza dough to be larger than needed. Then I put mozzarella around the edges and folded the edges over to make a deep outer crust. I was anticipating gorgeous, lovely, gooey cheese oozing out from this filled crust. Sorry, it didn’t happen. Perhaps I did something wrong. The crust was very nice but it didn’t really add anything special. I think I won’t bother next time.
For the topping
You can use pretty much anything you want, but I would say cheese and tomato are pretty essential, although I have seen pizzas without either. Not really to my taste, I like a good Margherita. I also prefer my pizzas to be brassica-free. This is not an excuse to bung on any old stuff you have lurking in the fridge. Keep it to good quality ingredients only and you’ll be rewarded with a really yummy pizza.
The toppings I used included:
- tomato purée, spread thinly over the base
- a beef tomato, sliced
- half an onion, sliced and sweated off
- a few Portobello mushrooms, sliced and sweated off
- some quartered artichoke hearts (out of a jar)
- a sprinkling of dried herbs, oregano in this case
- a quick grind of black pepper
- and finally, lots of freshly grated mozzarella cheese
Next we baked it in the oven for just over 20 minutes until it was done. And then I added some shredded Italian basil leaves on top before serving. I’m very proud to report that these were home-grown basil leaves and therefore far superior to anything you could ever buy. (My herb garden has been a thorn in my side for quite a while now, but I think we’re getting there at last.)
Maybe it sounds like a bit of a faff, but really, do have a go at making your own pizzas. Unless you go to a really expensive Italian place, then homemade pizzas are much nicer than the usual bought-in offerings.