Tonight is pizza night! I have been craving for pizza this entire week. For myself I’ll make a vegetarian one (not that I don’t eat meat, I just like the traditional combination of mozarella, basil and tomato so very much). My Hungry Boyfriend will make himself a pizza with chorizo, red onion and old Gouda cheese - which is also very yummy so I may as well make part of my pizza with chorizo as well.
As it is extremely hot these days, we will not make the dough from scratch, I’ll use a ready-made storebought dough instead. Usually we do try to make our own, but we have a tiny - but well- equipped - kitchen and it is a challenge to roll out dough and find the room to really knead it. So whenever my parents in law invite us over for dinner we tend to suggest either a barbecue (no garden or balcony so not an option at home) or pizza. They have a lovely big kitchen with a huge heavy wooden butcher’s chopping board in the centre which is wonderful for all your dough rolling and kneading needs. I want a butcher’s chopping board as well! They bought it from their organic butcher when he closed his shop. One of their best buys ever.
If you do feel like making your own, I highly recommend this recipe from Jamie Oliver:
Jamie Oliver’s pizza dough
makes 6 to 8 medium-sized thin pizza bases
This is a fantastic, reliable, everyday pizza dough, which can also be used to make bread. It’s best made with Italian Tipo ‘00’ flour, which is finer ground than normal flour, and it will give your dough an incredible super-smooth texture. Look for it in Italian delis and good supermarkets. If using white bread flour instead, make sure it’s a strong one that’s high in gluten, as this will transform into a lovely, elastic dough, which is what you want. Mix in some semolina flour for a bit of colour and flavour if you like.
1kg strong white bread flour or Tipo ‘00’ flour
or 800g strong white bread flour or Tipo ‘00’ flour, plus 200g finely ground semolina flour
1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
2 x 7g sachets of dried yeast
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
650ml lukewarm water
1. Sieve the flour/s and salt on to a clean work surface and make a well in the middle. In a jug, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. Keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead until you have a smooth, springy dough.
2. Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
3. Now remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands – this is called knocking back the dough. You can either use it immediately, or keep it, wrapped in clingfilm, in the fridge (or freezer) until required. If using straight away, divide the dough up into as many little balls as you want to make pizzas – this amount of dough is enough to make about six to eight medium pizzas.
4. Timing-wise, it’s a good idea to roll the pizzas out about 15 to 20 minutes before you want to cook them. Don’t roll them out and leave them hanging around for a few hours, though – if you are working in advance like this it’s better to leave your dough, covered with clingfilm, in the fridge. However, if you want to get them rolled out so there’s one less thing to do when your guests are round, simply roll the dough out into rough circles, about 0.5cm thick, and place them on slightly larger pieces of olive-oil-rubbed and flour-dusted tinfoil. You can then stack the pizzas, cover them with clingfilm, and pop them into the fridge.
Do not overload your pizza, less is more! You will keep a nice crispy bottom this way. Soggy pizza is the worst! Also, if you use fresh tomatoes, like I do, you should really pat them dry before putting them on your pizza base, this prevents sogginess as well.