I find that my week goes a lot better if I have a favourite dish waiting for me at the end of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving the stir fries and salads, but sometimes what I really want is a pizza. That’s why I’ve come up with what I think is an awesome pizza recipe that allows me to indulge, without too much guilt. The key to this, I feel, is to make your own base. This means that your base can be amazingly thin and you won’t be as conscious stricken!
Below I have the recipe I use for the pizza base, as well as some of the toppings I like to put on. The base recipe has come from a lot of experimentation. It is a moist dough, but that gives it a lot of stretch.
- 400ml Bread flour (stoneground is best!!)
- 1Tbsp salt
- 180ml lukewarm water (+/- 45 degrees C)
- 1Tbsp honey
- 1 sachet dry active yeast
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (this adds a silkiness to the dough and helps keep it moist, but you don’t want to put too much in as the base will be hard rather than crispy – yes, there is a difference ;))
- Flour for dusting
- Mix the water, honey and yeast together in a small bowl and set aside for +/- 5 min (this wakes the yeast up and gets it moving)
- Put your flour in a large mixing bowl (or make a well on your counter if you’re feeling bold!), mix in the salt and add your wet mixture steadily, stirring with a fork until it all comes together. (Note: as tempting as it may be, adding your salt to the yeast mixture could kill the yeast – and the rising action. Not desirable!)
- Dust your counter with flour and turn your dough out onto the flour.
- Knead to your hearts content. Really get in there! Kneading helps develop flavour and texture so give it all you’ve got for a good 10 minutes (fun fact: apparently this will burn +/- 30 calories)
- Once you have an elastic texture (you can poke it and it bounces back) and you no longer have dough hands, you’re done! Form into a ball, and place in a floured bowl to rise. The bigger the bowl, the better. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel to avoid the dough forming a crust.
- After about an hour, knock the air out of the dough (punch it baby!) and leave it to rise again for another 45 min.
- Divide the dough into four balls and roll out to +/- 28cm rounds.
- You now have your base and can add your toppings as desired
- Mozzarella (such a must!)
- Simple basil tomato sauce (made by blitzing 1tin of tomatoes, a handful of basil and 3 garlic cloves in the food processor)
- Roasted cherry tomatoes (in a 180 degree oven for 40 min)
- Caramelised onion (onion, salt, garlic, a little honey and balsamic vinegar cooked on a low heat for 30 min – stir often to avoid burning. Top tip: Adding salt draws moisture out of the onion helping it to caramelise and stopping it from burning, putting a lid on also helps with this)
- Olives (calamata are my favourite because they’re the easiest to de-pip and I find that olives that are already de-pipped are bitter)
- Cremozola – amazingly creamy gorgonzola cheese!
- Roasted garlic
- Leaves: Baby spinach, Rocket, Basil and Watercress – all of which can either be added before or after cooking
- Feta (Fairview’s anti-brine society rocks, so does Fruit and Veg’s Danish feta!!)
- Like-it-lean bacon
- Pine nuts