Makes 3 large pizzas
For the Base
250g Strong White Flour
250g Plain Flour
1tsp fine salt
2tsp dried yeast
1 tb sp Olive Oil
For the Topping
Tin of chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic finely grated
Strong tomato puree
A dash of red wine
Finely Chopped Oregano
1 Chopped Onion
You can use whatever topping you like, sliced mushrooms, ham, peppers, chicken, anything you like.
A heavy flat baking tray or if possible a baking stone
Add the dry base ingredients together in a bowl, add the water bit by bit and mix until a rough dough, then add the tbsp of olive oil and knead into the dough. Continue kneading the dough until smooth (for about 10 minutes)
Once the dough is smooth, flour a deep-sided bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with cling film. Put it in a warm (but not too hot) place until it has doubled in size (about an hour). After the dough has risen, push the air out with your fingertips, knead for another 5 minutes, put the dough back in the bowl cover and leave to rise for a second time (another hour if possible).
If you don’t wait for the rising and for the yeast to ferment, your pizza base will be hard and heavy. For best results always wait for the dough to rise.
While waiting to rise we can make the pizza sauce. Add all the sauce ingredients to a deep-sided pan and bring to boiling, then simmer for about 15 minutes. When the sauce is nice and thick place it in a jar with a lid until the pizza dough is ready.
When the dough is 15 minutes from being ready, preheat the oven to full power (with your baking tray or baking stone in the oven)
Once the dough has risen, put the dough back on the worktop and split into three similar-sized pieces.
We’ll be making three large pizzas.
Make each piece into as round a ball as you can.
Flour the work top which extra plain flour to stop from sticking, and roll until about 5mm thick. Try and keep each pizza base as round as possible, turning regularly while rolling will help.
Once you have your pizza base we can now add the toppings. We’ll be baking ours on a baking stone (which stays in the oven all the time) If you are using a baking tray, try and get one that is thick and heavy, you’ll find the base is crisper for it.
Whichever you are using you’ll need something to slide the pizza into the oven with, in traditional pizza houses they have a peel. I don’t have a peel so will be using the flattest baking tray I have to slide my pizza into the oven with. It makes it easier to add the toppings to the pizza whist on top of this tray, or peel if you have one (make sure it’s well floured otherwise it will stick).
Spoon the sauce we made earlier into the centre of the pizza, use the back of the spoon to spread the sauce as thin as possible.
Leave an edge of the pizza showing, otherwise you get your hands covered in topping when eating later.
You also want to keep the sauce quite thin, to avoid ending up with a soggy, saggy, pizza as the sauce soaks into the bread.
Add your freshly chopped oregano, spreading thinly across the while pizza.
Add the cheese (or cheeses if you have more than one) – again not too much. Just a nice coating so it doesn’t end up soggy.
Now add your preferred toppings. We’re using Onions and red hot Jalapeno chillis.
Notice there is only chillis on one half of the pizza. If you are sharing with someone who doesn’t like it too hot (and believe me these chillis are hot!) you can miss the chillis out on one side.
Open the oven as quick as possible (you want to keep the heat as high as you can in the oven). Slide the pizza onto your tray or baking stone in the oven.
If like me the pizza sticks to the peel/tray on the way into the oven your final pizza may not be perfectly round when finished, don’t worry about this, it still tastes great!
After about 10 minutes check on the pizza to make sure it’s not burning.
It should have risen well and the cheese should have started melting and browning, when the pizza looks ready, slide out using your homemade peel (and some oven proof tongs if need be) cut into 8 and serve.