Everybody loves a good pizza! It’s a great way to show off and entertain guests at a dinner party. I spent a couple of years reading everything I could find about the art and experimenting with recipes and techniques, trying to make my ideal pie. I still tweak it slightly from time to time but it really never gets much better for me than this recipe!
It’s hard to make a great pizza at home because normal ovens just don’t get hot enough. A purpose built oven cooks at upwards of 600 degrees Fahrenheit (300 c), where as most home ovens only reach about 450 (240 c). One thing that makes a huge difference though is using a pizza stone. You can buy one in most cookware shops and they aren’t too expensive. You have to preheat the oven for as long as possible to get the stone really hot (I give it at least half an hour or more). Once the stone is hot, it will help to store the heat when the oven door is opened, ensuring maximum cooking temperature when the pizza goes in.
You also need a pizza paddle or something else suitable for getting the pizza in and out of the oven. Wooden ones are traditional and look nice, but they tend to be thick and can stick to the pizza base. Smooth coated metal ones seem to be easiest to use. Personally I take the poor man’s approach and use a metal, non-stick baking sheet, which does the job perfectly and was about half the price of a proper paddle!
|Prep Time : 40 MINUTES||Cook Time : 10 to 15 MINUTES (PER PIZZA)||Passive Time : 3 DAYS|
Ultimate Take Away Style Pizza Recipe
|1 Kg||Type ‘00’ flour Plus extra for dusting|
|½ tbsp||Pure dried milk – Not instant milk powder, try looking in the Indian groceries section|
|1 tbsp||Vital wheat gluten AKA gluten flour|
|2.5 g (¾ tsp)||Instant yeast|
|1½ tbsp||White sugar|
|570 ml||Water – At room temp|
|30 ml||Vegetable oil|
|500 ml||Tomato passata|
|2 tbsp||Tomato purée|
|1 tbsp||White sugar|
|1 tbsp||Dried oregano|
|2-4 tbsp||Minced galic|
|A pinch||Cracked black pepper|
|Few drops||Tabasco sauce (optional)|
You Will Also Need
- Pizza Stone
- Pizza Paddle
- Saleable sandwich bags
- Baking paper or parchment
- Fine cornmeal or polenta
Spicy Peperoni Topping
- Grated mozzarella, jalapeños, peperoni, mushrooms
- Grated mozzarella, anchovies, prawns, black olives, pineapple – If using tinned, dry out on kitchen paper
- Grated mozzarella, mushrooms, peppers red and green, pesto, onion
- Prepare by taking the sandwich bags and using a small amount of oil to grease each one.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the water all at once. Mix the dough using your hands, turning and pressing, collecting all the dry ingredients from around the edges. At first the dough may seem too dry, but after a minute or so of mixing should form a stiff, sticky, stretchy ball.
- At this point add in the oil and kneed in.
- Once all the oil is combined, separate the dough into 6 or 8 pieces (depending on your preference of crust thickness. You can weigh the pieces to ensure even sizes if you’re a basket case like me!). Try not to take too long with this step, as you don’t want the dough to oxidise too much.
- Take each piece and shape into a ball. Put the balls into the prepared sandwich bags and
place on a shelf in the fridge, with at least a couple of centimetres (an inch or so) space in each direction in order for them to expand. If you want to freeze some for another day, do it now.
- The dough will rise slowly and gain more flavour the longer it is left. Leave for at least 24 hours, although I have found that about 3 days seems to yield the best flavour. More than 4 days the dough begins to become unstable, loses its job and spends too much time chilling with the jam and other unsavoury condiments.
- Stick the passata in a pan (you can use tinned chopped tomatoes and blend them if needs be) and mix in all the other ingredients, adding the oil last.
- Bring it up to a simmer and taste. Add a little extra of any of the seasonings to your preference, but don’t go overboard.
- Allow to cool
Assembly and Cooking
- Put the pizza stone on a shelf set between the middle and the bottom of the oven. Put the oven on the hottest setting and leave to preheat for at least half an hour (an hour would be best).
- Half an hour before you are ready to bake, take the dough out of the fridge and leave to warm to room temp.
- Just before the preheat time is up, sprinkle some flour on a work surface and your hands and remove the dough from the bag.
- Roll the dough around in the flour a little to coat it. Press the ball down to flatten it a little, then pick it up and begin to stretch it out, starting from the middle and working your way out.
- When it is large enough lay it over your fist and continue to stretch downward until an even thickness of about 2 – 3 mm is achieved (thicker at the edges if you like a bit of crust to hold on to!). You can use a rolling pin if you’re really struggling or lazy, but this can squeeze all of the air out making for a flat and boring crust. That said, I’ve heard people who claim it is the best way to get a really thin crispy crust. Or toss it like a pro, whatever. If it starts to get stiff and wont stay stretched, let it rest for 15 to 20 mins. and try again.
- Next, put a sheet of baking paper on the pizza paddle and dust with the polenta or corn meal to stop the dough sticking. This can also be done directly onto the paddle without the paper, giving a crisper base, but I recommend using the paper the 1st few times, unless you like oven floor calzone.
- Put a couple of tablespoons of sauce onto the base and spread thinly. Once the sauce is on, don’t take too long as the dough will get soggy. Sprinkle with grated mozzarella and whatever toppings you like.
- Open the oven for as short a time as possible to keep in as much heat as you can. Use the paddle to transport the pizza to the oven and slide it directly onto the pizza stone. If you aren’t using baking paper, you may want to add a little extra polenta to the stone.
- Check the pizza after about 7 minuets. It may take up to about 15 depending on how good your oven is. Use the paddle again to retrieve the pizza. Don’t worry too much if you make a bit of a mess with the 1st one, handling pizza is a skill and takes practice!