I have been making this for years and have never intended to post it, but I have been persuaded otherwise, by requests. I have perfected it over many, many years and if you follow every stage it never ever fails, is light and crisp and just heavenly. There are no short cuts or substitutes if you want perfection. But it is very easy, with little effort once you get the knack!! And so much better than anything bought.
The wetter the dough, the lighter the pizza and this dough is fairly wet. It can be made by hand, but it’s a messy affair, so a dough hook with your mixer is ideal. For some reason, I know not why, a slow rise in your fridge is best, so for an early evening meal, I make it mid or late morning.
A word on toppings. I often think less is more. My daughter thinks the opposite and piles it up with everything except the kitchen sink! A slight exaggeration of course, but you know what I mean. But the topping is your choice after spooning over the tomato passata.
Dough first: I will give you the quantities for two large, slightly thicker 12 inch pizzas, or three thinner.
1lb 2oz of plain flour [or 00, but ordinary plain is fine]
12 fl oz of warm, tepid water
2 teaspoonfuls of quick dried yeast [I always use Dove’s Farm]
1 level teaspoonful salt
1 level tablespoonful caster sugar
2 tablespoonfuls of olive oil
In your mixer bowl, weigh in the flour, then add the yeast, salt, sugar and oil. Switch on, then as it is mixing, slowly add the water. Knead for about 8-9 minutes.
While that is happening, oil a bowl [I always use a medium plastic one] and one side of some cling film. It is a good idea to lightly oil your hands too.
Transfer the wet dough to the oiled bowl, using a scraper or spatula or hands. Cover with the film and place in your fridge. That’s it. Easy peasy. Done in ten mins.
You will need two or three metal pizza round trays, lightly oiled. Available just about everywhere. No need to faff around with pizza stones or special ovens.
But you do need a very very hot oven. Pre heat your fan oven to 230C at least 20 mins before placing them in the oven. I can cook two at once in either of my ovens, but the baking temp is even throughout [I have Neff] If you have a variation of temp in any part of your oven you may be able to cook only one.
Prep your veg/meat choices. Get everything assembled around you. I will give you my usual ingredients but the choices are endless.
Passata - I like Napolina with added basil, but whatever
a mozzarella ball
thinly sliced mushrooms
cubed pancetta and pepperoni
finely sliced red onions [a very small amount]
[sometimes some thinly sliced red pepper]
Dredge with work surface with a little extra flour and plenty of semolina. Ditto your rolling pin. Tip out the dough from your bowl and lightly knead, then cut in half or three. Roll out the dough as best you can then place on the baking tray and stretch out to fill it up, making sure there is plenty of semolina under the dough. Use the heel of your hand and fingers to stretch it to the edges. Repeat.
Allow them to settle for ten minutes then brush the pizza tops, sparingly with olive oil. I leave it another 5-10 mins now. Spoon over the passata, almost to the edges then a generous sprinkling of grated mozzarella. Now add the veg and/or pepperoni etc. Then the torn mozzarella. I quite like adding some dried oregano too. Whatever. No rules for this bit.
Allow to rest while the oven heats up.
Bake in the very hot oven for about 20 mins. The smell is wonderful.
That’s it. You will have cracked it!! Heaven on a plate. Nothing Cornish or even English. And an Italian would go bonkers with all the ingredients. I don’t care, we love it.
But the dough is perfect.