Now in the past, I have been a victim of paying silly prices for pizza delivery until I decided to make my own pizza. The benefits are that the pizzas are much healthier and they cost a fraction of the price you pay for at a pizza restaurant. The added bonus is that you can also use all the “spare” items you have left over in your fridge.
This will make a total of 2 thin crust pizzas and feed 3-4 people. If you don’t want 2 pizzas, reduce the amount of water and flour by half. The whole process takes a few hours to prepare in advance as much as you can. You can reduce this time by not leaving the dough to rise but the base may not come out as well as you would hope.
There are 3 stages to making pizza
- Making the dough
- Making the sauce
- Building the pizza
The sauce and the dough take the longest time to prepare, so I advise doing these well in advance. You can make the sauce a day before and it will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days, or freeze for 6 months.
For the Sauce
- 1 can of plum tomatoes (or a carton of passata)
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 tablespoon of dried basil
- 1/2 tablespoon of dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of honey or a teaspoon of sugar.
- Salt and Pepper
As you can see I like to keep the sauce very simple. You can add garlic, onions and a raft of other flavourings to this but for me the simpler the better.
Open up the can and pour into a blender.
Spin it around until it looks like passata.
Chop up the garlic. Then place the garlic in a saucepan with the herbs on a high heat for about 1 minute or until the aroma of the herbs is being given off.
Add the tomatoes to the mixture.
Watch not to burn the tomato on the side of the pan if it gets too hot. Next we add the salt & pepper and honey/sugar to taste.
Keep this simmering on a medium heat and leave so that the water can evaporate from the pan. After about 10 minutes you will start to see the tomato darken in colour.
Keep the mixture on a simmer heat and keep bubbling up to the point where most of the liquid is gone. To know which stage this is, take the spoon and scrape the bottom of the pan. You will see the mark of your scrape left in the tomato, and it will take a few seconds for the tomato to settle back.
At this point turn off the heat and let it cool.
Make the pizza base
Next we want to make the pizza base using this recipe that I have used for a number of years and it gets good votes from family and friends.
We will need:
- 400g of TIP00 flour or pasta flour
- 100g of strong wholemeal flour
- 200ml or 1 cup of warm water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons or 7g of dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 1 glug of olive oil
- A teaspoon of salt
Take the yeast and place it in a cup with the honey. Fill up the cup with warm/tepid water. Ensure it is not too hot.
Leave this for 10 minutes until the yeast is active.
Next, weigh out the flour.
Add the TIP00 flour to a large bowl, then weigh out the brown flour and add this to the bowl. Make a hole into the middle of the flour and add the oil. Sprinkle the salt around the edges of the flour. After 10 minutes, add the yeast mixture.
Take a spoon and mix it all together.
Keep mixing until it starts to form a dough. Add more water/flour in small amounts if required.
Once we get to this point we can take it out of the bowl and start kneading the bread on a clean surface.
Knead for about 5 minutes and then place in the bowl and cover with film. Store in a warm place and wait for it to prove for 1 hour.
While this is proving, I like to clean up the kitchen at this stage and check the sauce is cool enough to store in a plastic container. Then I will start preparing the toppings. Whatever you want to do in this hour of waiting is up to you 🙂
For this pizza I am going to use chicken, pepper, chorizo and mushroom.
- 1 slice of chicken breast
- 1 bell pepper
- a few slices of chorizo
- 4 closed cup mushrooms
- 300g bag of grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 ball of fresh mozzarella
Take the chicken and cut it into very small pieces. If you have any spices you can put on the chicken such as tandori, garam masala, cajun or Moroccan then you can use a teaspoon of these to mix in with the chicken to give it additional flavour.
Put the chicken in a small oven proof dish and cook on Gas 4 or 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, take it out of the oven. Next we start preparing the other ingredients.
Slice the mushrooms and the pepper and here I have some left over chorizo I want to add to the pizza. Slice up the fresh mozzarella cheese into thin slices.
Rolling the base
Once the dough has risen enough, take it out of the bowl and knock all of the air out of it. Cut it into 2 pieces and place a small amount of flour on a hard surface.
Roll the dough into a ball and start to roll out with a long rolling pin. A wooden one works best here.
Once you have got a general roundish shape, place on a pizza base. Take the sauce and spread over the pizza
Use a metal spoon to do this. The second base I made here in on a pizza stone to make it crispy underneath. Next add a small amount of the grated cheese.
Next add the rest of the toppings to the pizza.
Cover with half of the fresh cheese and another sprinkle of the grated cheese.
Do the same to the other pizza
Place them both in the oven on Gas Mark 4 / 180 and ensure they are at the top of the oven. After about 15 minutes, check that the pizza is evenly cooked. Swap positions of the pizzas if needed.
After about 20 minutes you pizzas should be cooked.
Remove from the tin/pizza stone and transfer to a wooden board to serve.
I like to serve my pizza with salad of lettuce, spinach, cucumber, tomato, sunflower seeds, olive oil and mixed herbs.