The most delicious way to incorporate all food groups into one mouthful, is to take a bite of a crispy homemade pizza. Every thing from rocket to chorizo to feta can be enjoyed on a floury base with undertones of olive oil and fresh herbs. Not only a culinary treat, pizza night at home is a social family experience.
Most nights in our kitchen, meals are individually plated, family members are seated and consumption takes place – rapidly. Pizza night operates differently. Rather than consuming finite meals, a steady stream of food to be shared is delivered to the table, as the oven door opens and closes, receiving fresh ingredients only to dispense them minutes later all sizzling and golden.
In this fashion, dinner stretches across the evening with breaks in between while the recipients wait for the arrival of the next combination of ingredients to arrive to be sliced and distributed. The cook, aka me, usually dines upright from the kitchen counter, selecting a slice of a passing pizza every so often.
Make your dough in the afternoon and then leave it to its own devices until you are ready to roll later in the day. In terms of your toppings, use creative licence. Here a few tips to assist:
- The baking paper is the key to the ease of the process as it provides the perfect surface to roll the base out on, a sturdy carrier to lift the topped pizza onto the baking tray with and a nice ‘serving plate’ to lay on your chopping board for slicing.
- For your tomato sauce see this post.
- Add slices of feta or bononcini sparingly rather that large quantities of processed grated cheese – everyone will thank you for this.
- Our family favorite toppings include, red onion, baby spinach leaves, rocket, marinated artichokes, feta, bononcini, olives, prosciutto, chorizo, basil, and oregano.
5oog of plain flour (or bread/pizza flour if it’s available)
1 tspn salt
7g sachet dried yeast (or 11/2 teaspns)
1 tbspn olive oil
300ml warm water
Combine the flour, salt, yeast and olive oil in a warm bowl. Pour in the water and mix to a soft, sticky dough. Turn out onto a well-floured benchtop and knead for around 10 mins. Dough should be smooth and elastic. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle extra flour on your surface if the dough is sticking. Oil the mixing bowl and put the dough back in. Cover with a teatowel and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour. Dough will have risen and doubled in size. Give it a good punch to deflate it and then leave it for a further 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius and put your pizza trays in so they are heated as well.
Take the dough out and cut into four equal pieces. Tear off a large sheet of non-stick baking paper and roll the first piece of dough out as thinly as possible, stretching it as you roll. Spoon over your tomato sauce and then start building. Lift your pizza by the paper and place on the hot tray and bake in the oven for approximately 15-20 mins. Repeat with your remaining dough pieces, I usually have two on the go at once to keep up with appetites.
Postscript: Lighthouse Bread & Pizza flour is my go to for dough production, not only because it performs well but largely because I am taken with the box.