I love pizza. If there is one reason that I will never be a size 8 it is probably said love of pizza. It’s just tasty, it’s great to share and there are myriad ways to flavour it.
However if you order it in it’s expensive. Buy it chilled and it doesn’t really taste of anything. There are few things, food wise, as disappointing as a flavourless pizza.
As someone who bakes for fun (entirely aware I’m on my own here) I’ve been trying and testing different recipes for a pizza dough. Eating the same food day after day, which you find yourself doing when you’re skint is boring and when eating isn’t fun it feels like a chore or a fuelling exercise. Fun food shouldn’t be something for people with cash.
As I’ve been testing pizza dough recipes I’ve come up with a few truths; you need a decent sized tray to bake it on. You can stretch it out on a baking tray. I found these pizza trays for a fiver and they work well. Whole meal flour tastes better than plain. And make it bread flour. You can get a bag for under a pound and it lasts. Use oil to stretch and shape the dough instead of flour. Flour, as well as being maddeningly messy dries the dough out too much and it becomes flaky.
Quick pizza dough recipe
375g (13 oz) whole meal bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp caster sugar – every recipe says caster sugar. It’s finer but I’ve tried it with regular sugar and it hasn’t made a huge difference
7g (1/4 oz) dried active baking yeast – buy a tub rather than sachets and weigh it out. The good thing about this recipe is that you don’t need to wait for it to rise
2 tbsp olive oil- I use vegetable oil because, yes it’s cheaper and then have a little extra to shape the dough
225ml (8 fl oz) warm water (45 C) – a mug is around 300ml, you’re adding the water last so add incrementally if you can’t be precise
Get a big bowl. Add the flour, salt, sugar and mix together. Add the yeast and the oil. Then pour in the water. The water shouldn’t be too hot, it’ll kill the yeast. The dough you want should be fairly stretchy and smooth. Too dry and it’ll flake. Too wet and you can’t do a thing with it. Knead gently but don’t overdo it – I’m so lazy when it comes to kneading and I’ve done it for five minutes with this recipe before my attention has waned and it hasn’t done it any harm.
Once happily combined take the tray you’re baking it in and oil it. Oil your hands and the dough. Scoop it out of the bowl and start stretching. When I’ve done this with other dough recipes this has been the most infuriating part. This recipe, however is easy to shape. I put the dough in the centre of the tray and work outwards, pressing and stretching with my knuckles.
Once the dough reaches the edges and is flat you’re ready to add the toppings. You can do this with whatever you have in the cupboard. A little tomato purée offers a good base, I’ve done it with ketchup, barbecue sauce and weirdly red pesto when I’ve had some leftover. Add vegetables, or meat, whatever you like. I’ve found a nice recipe with tuna flakes, red pesto and olives but spending a fortune on pizza toppings isn’t going to make this a cheaper recipe. A cheese and tomato pizza only needs some purée, slices tomatoes, some grated cheese and seasoning. Easy peasy and tasty.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes at 200 degrees. Slice and share.