Homemade Pizza

We love pizza! It’s definitely one of our favourite treats, and there are some great places in Bristol to get amazing pizza (see our review of The Stable for one example). Sometimes though it’s fun to have a go at making it at home – it’s a great one for when friends come round to dinner as everyone can have a go at making their own. We’ve got a foolproof recipe for pizza dough and some great toppings to share with you.

This recipe for pizza dough makes one medium-sized pizza base – we find that it feeds two people, you can double this up if you’re making 2 pizzas and it still works well. You’ll need:

  • 175 g strong white flour
  • 1 level teaspoon salt
  • 1 level teaspoon easy bake/fast action yeast
  • ½ teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

First, measure out the ingredients into a mixing bowl, being careful to keep the salt and the yeast separate. Make sure the oil is mixed in by rubbing it through the flour with your fingertips – the mixture should be breadcrumb-y. Now make a small well in the mixture and add 120 ml water, and prepare to get messy!

This much!
This much!
It's a messy job, but someone's got to do it...
It’s a messy job, but someone’s got to do it…

Mix the water into the flour to form a wet dough. Once everything has come together, knead it/smack it about a bit on a floured surface. The dough is ready when you can press your thumb into it and it springs back. Now put it aside in an oiled bowl (so that it doesn’t stick to the sides), cover it with cling film and leave it to rise. You want it to roughly double or triple in size, and depending on how warm it is this could take anything from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. If you want it to rise a bit slower you can put it in the fridge.

Knead dough

That’s your base done! I’m afraid we didn’t manage any pizza base acrobatics due to height restrictions in our kitchen (we didn’t want to end up with a dough-splattered ceiling), and instead just stretched out the bases to roughly cover our baking trays.

You can be more creative with your shapes, but we wanted maximum size!
You can be more creative with your shapes, but we wanted maximum size!

Now for the tomato sauce topping. This makes enough for 2 medium sized pizzas. Chop up half a white onion and some garlic and fry in a saucepan over a medium-low heat with some dried herbs (basil, rosemary and thyme work well) for about 10 minutes until the onions are translucent. Then add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Blend this up a bit so that there aren’t any chunks of onion and tomato left.

We’ve used this recipe a couple of times now and it works a treat! Here’s some of the toppings we’ve used, but half the fun is making up your own!

  • Tomato and Parmesan on a pesto base
  • Tomato, green peppers and Parmesan on a tomato base
  • Serrano ham, goats cheese, mozzarella, figs, pine nuts, caramelised onion relish and wilted spinach on a tomato base
  • Artichokes, green pepper, pesto and mozzarella on a tomato base
  • Chorizo, spring onions and Parmesan on a tomato and chipotle chili base (to make this base, just add a heaped teaspoon of chipotle chili paste into some of the tomato sauce)

_MG_2614 _MG_2617

Once you’ve loaded up your pizza, heat up your baking trays in the oven (at about 220°C) – putting the pizzas on a hot base means they go much crispier – and then put the pizzas in for about 12 minutes, or until they start to go nice and golden.

_MG_1998 _MG_2620

We loved all of these, but we had our favourites! Fats reckons you can’t beat the chorizo with the chipotle chili base for sheer spicy-smoky awesomeness, but Bird thought the Serrano ham and figs were about the most indulgently delicious thing that’s ever been on a plate.

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