Pizza

Servings: 6-8     Time: 30 minutes – plus 6-24 hours (waiting for dough)

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g strong bread flour or type “00”
  • 1 heaped tbsp coarse semolina
  • 14 g dried yeast
  • 50 ml olive oil, plus a little extra
  • 7 g sea salt

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1 | Thoroughly mix the flour, semolina and yeast with a couple of generous pinches of salt. Mix 320 ml warm water with the olive oil. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and gradually add the liquid. (It’s easiest to mix this together with a fork to start with and then, when it is just coming together, use your hands to make it into a ball.) Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth, elastic and springy to touch.

STEP 2 | Place the dough in a large floured mixing bowl and leave to rise in a warm place for 30-60 minutes until doubled in size.

STEP 3 | Preheat the oven to maximum °C. Preheat your oven at least 30 minutes. Yes, really, set a timer. I don’t care when your oven beeps to let you know it’s reached the right temperature. Wait 30 minutes.

STEP 4 | Use a pizza stone for crisp edges. Sorry, this is kind of non-negotiable. Your oven sucks at pizza making. You need a hack.

STEP 5 | Instead, of flour, I usually drizzle some olive oil right onto my counter. Use your hands to rub it around. Place your ball of dough in the centre of your work surface and use your hands to press it down, starting from the centre. Keep gently patting out the dough, moving the dough outward from the centre. I like to leave a pretty healthy crust on the edges of my dough.

STEP 6 | Continue patting and stretching the dough gently with your hands until it is about 12 inches across. Of course you can use a rolling pin if you want! (Use your hands to lift up the edges of the pizza when you are done to get more a lip for the crust.)

STEP 7 | At this point, transfer the dough to a square of parchment paper. I highly recommend using parchment paper because it’s SO much easier transferring your pizza into the oven.

STEP 8 | Stretch and arrange the dough on the parchment paper. The dough shrinks a bit when you pick it up to transfer, just gently stretch it out again.

STEP 9 | Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top of your dough. Use your hands or a pastry brush to rub the oil all over the top of the dough, especially the edges of the crust. This layer of oil helps the toppings stay separate from the dough, helping it cook more evenly. It also tastes delicious, especially on your crust, hello.

STEP 10 | If you love a thicker crust pizza, let the rolled-out dough rest for 10 minutes at this point.

STEP 11 | Use your pizza peel or a flat baking sheet to transfer the pizza dough and the parchment paper onto your pizza stone, pizza pan, or baking sheet. (I always just pull on the paper to move it onto the stone). Transfer to your stone or pan, shut the oven door and bake for 1-2 minutes, until it is slightly puffed.

STEP 12 | Use your pizza peel or flat baking sheet to remove the pizza (still on the parchment paper) from the oven. Poke down any bubbles. Leave the crust on the peel while you add the toppings. Spreading pizza sauce on pizza dough.

STEP 13 | You can use pre-shredded regular (low moisture) mozzarella from the store. It’s what I use most of the time. Mozzarella that you shred yourself is going to melt better though. The shredded stuff has anti-caking agents added to it that inhibits melting.

STEP 14 | If you are feeling fancy, you can also try out fresh mozzarella. You can find fresh in the deli section of your grocery store. While you are there, pick up a block of parmesan so you can add a couple tablespoons over the toppings of your pizza. Parmesan adds that little umph, don’t skip it.

STEP 15 | Once you’ve got your toppings on the pizza, it’s time to bake.(Don’t forget to sprinkle that parmesan on top of whatever toppings you choose. It’s such a great flavor boost!)

STEP 16 | Slide the pizza directly onto the pizza stone. I used to leave the pizza on the parchment paper while it baked, because it’s really easy to move the pizza where you want just by pulling the edges of the paper. But you will get a much crispier crust if you remove the parchment paper for the final bake. (The stone is porous and absorbs moisture, so that moisture doesn’t end up in your crust.) Your crust is sturdy enough after the 1-2 minute par bake that it’s not too hard to move the pizza onto the stone without the paper.

STEP 17 | Once your pizza is in the oven, you need to cook it for about 8-12 minutes. This is of course going to depend on how hot your oven is, and how thick your pizza is. The crust should be golden brown, and the cheese should be bubbly and also starting to brown. If you don’t have a pizza stone, use a spatula to lift the edge of your pizza to make sure that it is browning all across the centre on bottom. If the bottom is still white, you are looking at a doughy pizza. No thanks. Leave it in longer.

STEP 18 | Turn out of the tray, then transfer to a board, slice and serve.

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