University of Birmingham graduate with a passion for food & cooking as part of a healthy lifestyle

Twitter: @EatRainbowLove
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Sunday, 4 March 2012

Perfect pizza

I love making pizza, I've made it from scratch so many times since I got this amazing Italian pizza magazine last summer (picture of magazine at bottom of post). It's actually quite simple to make pizza dough, healthier, and tastes so much more authentic! It is so versatile as well, you can choose the thickness of the dough depending on how you like your base, use half wholemeal flour to increase the nutrition, or even make your own stuffed crust (which I can't wait to try). You can buy a passata to spread on the base, or make your own. I usually buy a plain tomato passata, season and add fresh herbs. The best part is you can top your pizza with whatever you want (although mozzarella is a must have for the base).
The toppings I used in the photos are:
- Goats cheese and red onion
- Tomato, mushroom and pepper
- BBQ chicken and extra cheese
- Italian ham, mushroom and pineapple

(They all have passata topped with ready-grated or freshly sliced mozzarella, and a sprinkling of cheddar or parmesan)
Other toppings I have used on home-made pizza are:
- Proscuitto, mushroom and parsley (my favourite!)
- Chicken, rosemary and pepper
- Red onion and sausage/meatball

Next time I really want to try making a fiorentina (spinach, parmesan and egg) and a gorgonzola cheese and caramelised onion pizza

Makes 2 large, or 4 small pizzas
Ingredients for pizza base:
- 400g plain white strong flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp dried yeast or 1 sachet of easy bake yeast
- 25 ml hot water and 25ml milk, mixed together
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing over base
- 1/2 tsp salt
- tepid water, to add to the dough
- extra flour for dusting surface

1. Pile the flour in a large bowl and make a centre in the middle.
2. Mix the yeast with the water and milk (and/or follow packet instructions as this varies depending on what type of yeast you are using)
3. Wait for the yeast to react and become foamy, then pour into the flour with half the olive oil and the salt, and knead for 10-15 minutes on a work-surface dusted with flour. The dough should be smooth, elastic and stretchy - add more liquid if needed - the dough must not feel tacky or sticky at the end of the kneading process.
4. Grease a large bowl with the remaining olive oil and place the ball of dough inside. Cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an 1 hour 30 minutes, or until doubled inside.
5. Next, gently knead the dough and split into 2, or 4, and roll out on a floured work-surface. Place on a baking sheet and brush lightly with oil. Cover with passata, fresh herbs and mozzarella and any other ingredients you desire.
6. Bake in the oven at 200 or 220 degrees/gas mark 6 or 7 for 10-15 minutes, or until the base is cooked through, crisp and golden.

Enjoy :)

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