Pizza is an incredibly simple and incredibly delicious food. Frankly to not be able to make you own - especially the dough - is a culinary crime. It’s great for entertaining or just a go-to meal and people will think you’re amazing for making it. Not to mention it is much healthier than the takeaway alternative.
You Will Need (for two pizzas):
- 2 Cups of Plain Flour
- 3/4 Cup of Lukewarm Water
- 2 tsp of Yeast
- Natural/Plain/Greek Yoghurt
- Olive Oil
- Sugar and Salt
- Toppings of choice
COOK’S NOTES: This is my family’s secret pizza dough recipe. If you can’t do dairy then check the dough recipe for Garlic Knots. Also, details about using yeast are in that post too. In fact, I’m just going to go over the basics here and you should go to that post for in depth instructions.
Mix the water, yeast and a pinch of sugar together in a measuring jug. Leave to activate/until it becomes frothy. Put the flour, about 1&1/2 tbsp of olive oil, about 3 tbsp of the natural yoghurt, a good pinch of salt, and 1/2 a cup of the yeast mixture. See the Garlic Knots recipe for details on kneading. Bring the mixture together and knead to make a dough.
COOK’S NOTES: Making the base is not an exact science - it’s a rustic process. You may need to add more yeast mixture or yoghurt if it’s too dry or more flour if it is too wet. You can keep adding little bits until it’s right.
Once the dough is kneaded, leave it to rise in a lightly oiled bowl for a least an hour. It could be left overnight if you need to but 1-4 hours is all you really need. Once it’s risen, press the air out of it and knead it just quickly again. Now cut or pull it in half and roll it out on two pizza trays. Allow it to rise for a little again.
Toppings: It’s easy to make you pizzas seem exotic and gourmet. For starters, use a good tomato sauce - I use tomato pasta sauce on mine - and crush your own, real garlic - garlic is a must in my opinion. Basil leaves are delicious and a nice touch. You’ll want to put them on the bottom layer after the sauce so they don’t burn. One of the most delicious pizzas is simply tomato sauce, garlic, and basil leaves and then cheese - always use mozzarella cheese.
Don’t be afraid to be adventurous. I have many favourite combinations such as lamb served with a mint and coriander raita, satay chicken, or pumpkin with balsamic caramelised onion.
COOK’S NOTES: Caramelised onion is a great addition to pizza and a variety of other dishes. You can caramelise any fruit or vegetable with a sugar content and it becomes sweet and tender and rich. You could caramelise tomatoes, peaches, pineapple - not necessarily for pizza of course. It’s an excellent skill to have and it’s easy.
Simply place the onions (or whatever) into a pan with some butter (or oil), turn on med-high and cook the onions until translucent and soft (this is actually natural caramelisation). Turn the heat to high and add some sugar (white, raw or brown get a sweeter/richer respectively) Cook until the onions become caramel coloured as pictured. If the pan gets too dry, splash a little water in - it will instantly soften and brown your onions. For a balsamic caramelisation, just add a splash of balsamic vinegar - but be careful cause it a strong flavour. There you go! Gourmet food simply made as that.
Place your pizza in an oven preheated to about 200/392F - in other words, a hot oven is good. It should only take about 7 minutes. Also, traditionally an Italian style pizza will have only about three or so toppings, but we all like to load them up sometimes so if you have heaps on your pizza, cook your base for 2-3 minutes, just until it starts to firm and cook, so it won’t be doughy. Lastly, don’t forget that you can make a pizza extra special with what you put on top when you serve. Just sprinkling some chopped basil or adding something like my raita.
The featured picture here was a ‘Gourmet Hawaiian’ pizza (typically just ham and pineapple) which included ham, pineapple, caramelised onion, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms and feta and was served with chopped coriander and spring onion. It was delicious.