Homemade Pizza

Homemade pizza?!

Yes! I love making homemade pizza and I've come up with my own strategy for making it quickly, easily and reliabily. Check out my dough recipe and technique below. Best thing is my technique is designed for normal home oven use - no fancy pizza oven required!

To make the dough

This recipe is based around using a whole 1KG bag of flour to keep things simple. Everything works fine if you double/triple the recipe to make more dough in bulk. The dough tastes better if you freeze it and it keeps forever so I'd suggest making lots at once! The following 1KG of flour based recipe makes about 4 large (14 inch / 36cm) pizzas.

You will need:

- 1KG "00" pasta flour (the good stuff - substitute "strong bread flour" if you can't get this although they sell it in most supermarkets if you look hard)

- 2 sachets of instant yeast

- 2 tablespoons of sugar

- 2 teaspoons of dried herbs (oregano/basil)

- 2 teaspoons of salt

- 600ml Warm water

- 6 tablespoons of olive oil (the good stuff)


- Add the entire 1KG bag of flour, 2 teaspoons of salt and your 2 teaspoons of dried herbs to a large mixing bowl and mix all them together

- In a measuring jug measure 600ml of warm water from your tap - it should be nice and warm, but not hot

- To the warm water add the 2 sachets of yeast, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 6 tablespoons of olive oil

- Stir the measuring jug ingredients together well and give the yeast a minute to wake up

- Add the entire contents of the measuring jug to the dry flour mix and stir well

- Once the ingredients are combined fairly well (don't worry if it looks like shit!) tip out everything onto a clean work surface and scrape out the bowl

- Firmly knead the dough for 5-10 minutes

- When complete the dough should feel soft and smooth and won't stick to your fingers or the work surface

- You should now have a ~1.75kg ball of finished dough

- Split the dough into two equal 875g balls

- Add a splash of olive oil to two large mixing bowls (you can re-use the bowl you used earlier) and add one dough ball to each bowl

- Make sure the dough balls are well coated with oil and cover the bowls with cling film

- Place the bowls into the fridge for at least 6 hours to rise (you can leave them in the fridge for at least 24 hours+ if you like)

- Once the rising is complete, poke the air out of the dough ball and reform into a ball once again

- Split the 875g ball into 2x 437.5g balls (or smaller balls depending on your desired pizza size)

- You can now use these balls for making pizza straight away, or wrap the portioned balls in cling film individually and freeze them (this yields a better dough texture I find)

Congrats on making your own pizza dough!

To make the pizza

This pizza cooking recipe is optimised for a normal home oven, not a fancy pizza oven or anything special. The most these ovens ever get up to is 250 degrees celsius (if you're lucky) whereas a proper pizza oven would be over 420 degrees celsius. We cook these pizzas for longer due to the lower temperature, but they come out great!

For making the pizza, you will need:

- Pizza dough from my other recipe

- "Pizza sauce". This is a thickened low-water-content tomato sauce, the best kind comes in cans from a company called Mutti - I like "Mutti Pizza Sauce with Oregano & Basil". £2 a can from Waitrose is expensive but it's a game changer. Don't be tempted to use passata or blend chopped tomatoes as the sauce will have too much water in it and your pizza will be soggy. Use a regular tomato pasta sauce as a last resort.

- Mozzarella in DRY BRICKS. I cannot stress this enough!! Do NOT buy "wet" mozzarella in the little bags with water in them, these will release all their moisture during cooking and your pizza will be soggy. Look for the brand "Galbani" in Waitrose and their 400g bricks of "Mozzarella Cucina". These bricks are the best and have super low moisture - perfect for pizza! If you can't find this, grated mozzarella is better than wet - although the pizza will be significantly worse using this cheese. Please don't use cheddar.

- Toppings of your choice - you can cook whatever you want but two things to remember are: 1) use toppings with *low moisture* as adding lots of wet vegetables (i.e. big slices of tomato) will make your pizza soggy 2) be *sparing* with your toppings, less is more.

For cooking the pizza, you will need:

- Metal 14" pizza pan with holes in it (something like this) - obviously buy a smaller tray if you want to make smaller pizzas

Making the pizza:

- Move your oven rack to the highest level where there is still space for a pizza to fit

- Turn your oven on "fan" mode and the highest possible heat setting (usually 250 degrees celsius) - let it pre-heat for at least 15 minutes

- Cut your mozzarella bricks into lots of little 1cm cubes (smaller cheese = more surface area = better melting)

- Add flour (any type) to your work surface, take the dough ball cover it in flour on all sides

- EIther using your hands (advanced) or a rolling pin (easy) work the dough into the correct diameter for your pizza tray

- Don't overdo the rolling/stretching of the dough on the work surface as the dough will get tough, the easiest thing is to move it to the pizza pan quickly and finish hand stretching it there rather than perfecting it on the surface

- Once the dough is in the right shape, prick the dough all over with a fork to make little air holes so steam can escape (this is important!)

- Add ~3 tablespoons of pizza sauce to the pizza and cover it well, apart from an inch or so of crust

- Add your toppings first then cheese cubes on top - don't overdo the toppings or the cheese! Less is more here

- Give your pizza a nice splash of olive oil, maybe some salt and pepper and place your pizza tray on the top shelf of your well-preheated oven

- Cook the pizza for ~10-13 minutes (varies based on your oven) - you might need to rotate the pizza half way through if the oven has an uneven hot-spot

- Resist the urge to open the oven! This just reduces the amount of heat and will stop your pizza from crisping up

- Pull that masterpiece out of the oven and give it about 3 minutes to cool down slightly before slicing

Enjoy your creation you magnificent bastard!