Shop-bought pizzas are quick and easy, but homemade pizza is delicious a real game-changer. By learning how to make pizza bases you’ll never be caught short for an impressive looking homemade meal. It’s also a great activity for children (even if they only help you with the topping). Once you’ve mastered making pizza base you’ll have readymade pizza dough tucked away into all the gaps in your freezer.
Step 1: In a large bowl weigh 500g strong white flour. On one side of the bowl add 10g of salt and on the other 7g fast acting yeast powder. Try to keep the salt and yeast separate from each other and mix them into the flour a little on their respective sides of the bowl.
Step 2: In a large jug measure 350ml tepid water (this means lukewarm) and your 50ml olive oil. The water needs to be warm to get your yeast working for you. Then pour this into your bowl with the flour mix.
Step 3: Keeping one hand clean for gripping the bowl use the other to bring the mix together. At first, the mix will be a lumpy mess but soon you’ll start to see a smooth ball of dough forming.
Step 4 Now it’s time to knead your dough. You’ll need to do this for roughly 10 minutes and you’ll need to do it quite vigorously to get the yeast going. There are a number of different techniques for kneading dough, but for pizza dough, I always use the same technique - keeping the dough (and any mess) within the bowl.
Technique: Pinch at the outside of the dough ball with your whole hand, grabbing onto a generous amount of dough. Pull this up into the air and plunge it back down into the opposite side of the dough. Continue to do this, constantly spinning and flipping the dough as you go to make sure you’ve worked every part. After around 10 minutes you’ll be left with a smoothy stretchy and springy dough ball. What do I mean when I say springy? When your lightly prod it, it should bounce back to its original shape.
Step 6: Your dough should have now doubled in size. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it onto a flour-dusted surface. Split the mix into four equal parts, these are now your four pizza bases.
Pizza dough can be kept in an airtight container in your fridge for a few days or for a couple of months in your freezer.
What to do if your dough hasn’t doubled in size? Don’t worry either give it a little more time where it is or move it to a warmer part of the house for a while.
Step 7: Either roll or spin your pizza dough to create your flat round pizza base. I use a combination of both techniques, firstly giving it a bit of a roll with a well-floured rolling pin and then spinning it out in my hands to get a nice even and round shape. Do whatever you’re most comfortable with. I like my pizza base to be the thickness of somewhere between a 50p piece and a £1 coin.
Step 8 Leave this pizza dough to rest on a well-greased (I use olive oil) surface. I do this on greaseproof paper which I then lift onto a metal pizza tray to go in the oven. Preheat your oven to 200°C and leave your pizza dough to rest for 30 minutes.
Step 9: Generously spread your pasta sauce onto the pizza. Start by putting a large amount into the middle and use the back of a tablespoon to spread it as evenly around the pizza base. Sprinkle generous amounts of dried oregano onto the pasta and then scatter most of your favourite grated cheese over the top.
Step 10: Add your toppings. These can be anything you like, but for this one, I’ve gone for peppers tomatoes and jalapenos. Sprinkle the last of the cheese on top and place your pizza into the oven on either a tray or pizza stone for 25 minutes.
Step 11: Your pizza should look cooked after 25 minutes but don’t be afraid to give it a little longer if you like it a well done and crispy. Keep an eye on it though as you don’t want it to burn. Remove the cooked pizza from the oven and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. Slice with a pizza cutter and sieve with a drizzle of chilli oil and a pinch of cracked black pepper.