Dough (enough to make 2 x 30cm round pizzas)
• 500gr strong or very strong white bread flour
• 7g easy bake yeast or 25g fresh yeast
• 10g salt
• 15g sugar
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 300 ml warm water
If using fresh yeast, dissolve it in the water.
If using dry yeast, mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the oil and water (I normally mix them together with a fork first). Mix all the ingredients together, in a bowl or on your worktop, (it will be sticky sticky at first) and knead for approximately 5/6 minutes (or 3 minutes in a mixer with a dough hook) until you get a nice elastic dough. Place the dough in a large slightly oiled bowl, cover it with a damp tea and leave it to prove in a warm place for at least 2 hours or until it double in volume (I tend to leave it longer, sometimes up to 5 hours,which does not affect its quality).
When you are ready to make your pizzas, punch the air out of the dough, which should have reached the top of the bowl, knead it lightly and shape it, ideally stretching it with your hands (but a rolling pin could be used) into 2 round pizzas. If you like it thin, start putting your toppings on; if you prefer it slightly taller, prove it for approximately 30 min on the trays.
Bake it in a hot oven, 220C/ fan 200C for about 10/15 minutes until till the crust looks golden.
After spreading a couple of tablespoons of passata, add ¾ or 1 mozzarella ball per pizza (I normally dry it on paper towel to remove the water, before slicing it and breaking up the slices in small pieces, which I dot on top of the tomato). You now have Margherita Pizza, to which you can add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of oregano (if you like its flavour) and add your favourite toppings, for example:
• Pepperoni and/or ham
• Thinly sliced peppers, onion, olives, capers, mushrooms, spinach or other veg of your choice (don't add too many slices or the top of the pizza will be watery)
One of my favourite is red onion and goat cheese, topped with a handful of fresh rocket before serving it!