Perfect pizza, made simple
It is a scientific fact that everyone on the planet loves pizza. It is there for you at the best of times and the worst; that break up, that night out, that holiday. Or most memorably, that first time you dropped the pretence and showed your significant other how gross you can really be when you’re hungry. But here is the thing; lots of people are put off making it themselves because it is one of these things that is shrouded in mystery, with it’s secrets reserved only for those of Italian decent. However, not only is homemade pizza kind on the wallet, it is so easy to make yourself, especially if you have a bread maker.
Pizza dough is a fantastic thing to have in your repertoire. Have it before a big night out with the girls (being sure that there is some left for breakfast). Make it at a party and have a range of toppings and let your guest choose, this makes a great activity for sprogletts. Or, if you have an antisocial disposition after a tiresome week at work , it makes the perfect food to cook for your significant other on a quiet night in.
G&T is here to break the mystery, here follows your guide to making la Pizza perfetta.
Goats Cheese and Rocket ‘White’ Pizza
Makes two medium sized pizzas, serves 4-6
For the pizza dough
500g ‘00’ flour
75g fine semolina
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry active yeast
2 tsp. caster sugar
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
For the topping
1 large ciabatta roll, crumbed up and soaked in olive oil
100g kalamata olives
140 grilled artichoke hearts, drained of oil and roughly chopped
75g mascarpone cheese
200g goats cheese, sliced into rounds
1tsp (per pizza) dried chilli flakes
Method A: If you have a bread maker, pop all these ingredients in and pop it on the dough setting (almost all bread makers have this). It will then do the rest for you.
Method B: If you do not have the luxury of a bread machine, it becomes a little more laborious. Sift the flour and salt together on to a clean flat surface and make a well in the middle (so it looks like a little volcano). In a jug, mix the yeast, sugar and oil with 300ml of warm water. Stir and leave for a couple minutes before carfully pouring it into the well. Using your hands, or a fork, bring the flour in from the sides and mix into the water. As it starts to come together knead until it forms a smooth springy dough. You now need to prove your dough in a dusted bowl and put in a warm dark place for about an hour. It should double in size.
Take the dough out on to a floured surface and punch it a few times with your knuckles to let the air escape. This is called ‘knocking out the dough’, but we like to think about someone we hate and call it ‘knocking the bitch in the face’ (you wanna pizza me, huh?) You will find this is incredibly therapeutic…. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and generously dust with flour. At this point you can make the pizza straight away, chill or even freeze your dough.
If you are ready to roll, preheat your oven to 180 degrees and split the dough in two with a sharp knife. Sprinkle the surface with some semolina.
Keep your surface floured at all times during this process, it needs to look like Pablo Escobar’s bathroom mirror, or else you are going to have a pretty sticky dough situation on your hands. Use your knuckles and pummel the dough so it spreads out a little.
Gently, stretch the dough with your hands by pulling carefully from opposite directions, this will make the dough thinner, crispier and lighter. Try your hardest to keep it as circular as possible. However, if you end up with a shape you have never seen before, don’t fret, It is not the end of the world, and imperfection is beautiful.
Shape it as much as you can, and then even out the thickness with the tips of your fingers. Tap it all over and create a crust by pushing the dough out into the edge. Sprinkle a round tray with semolina and CAREFULLY transfer the base on to it with two hands.
Tap the base with the tips of your fingers to remove any uneven bumps.
For the topping, first spoon a few blobs of mascarpone followed by slices of goats’ cheese. Add the olives, artichokes and ciabatta soaked in oil (this magically transforms into croutons). Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the crust goes golden.
Take it out the oven and sprinkle with dried chilli flakes and top with fresh rocket leaves. Cut it up and dish it out. While your guests get stuck into the first one, make a start on the next. It’s common knowledge that the second pizza is always better than the first.
Of course, the toppings are up to you when you master the technique of the base. White pizza isn’t for everyone, but the light flavours of these ingredients would be over overpowered with tomato sauce. Our other favourite toppings include a tomato base, buffalo mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and Parma ham for G or wild broccoli, capers and plenty of parmesan for T.
Just think, you’ll never have to order a greasy dominoes ever again… Belissima!
(*don’t worry, we’ll let you off if it’s a drunk dial. We’d rather you ring pizza delivery at 4am than your ex…)