We have pizza every Friday. Every single Friday and we all look forward to it every week. Who doesn’t love a good pizza? It’s got bread, it’s got cheese, it’s got flavoursome tomato sauce and everyone decides how they are going to flavour their own. We make every part of our pizza from scratch (okay yes pedant I don’t make my own chorizo, cheese or ham or grow the pineapples) because really those shop or delivery pizzas don’t compare on taste or price. Also delivery certainly can’t beat us on time. We serve the pizza up on chopping boards so washing up is minimised and everyone is happy. Lastly as we control the ingredients we can keep the damage to a minimum.
We use the bread making machine to make the dough. Some might think this is “cheating” but honestly if you have tasted my attempts at kneading, proving and baking breads you would happily concede me this laziness. I know practice makes perfect but I have perfected this method in the, ahem, meantime…
We’ve had our machine, a Panasonic SD251 (an older version of this baby) for about three and a half years but it is definitely way older than that. My mum gave it to me from her kitchen around the time Nipper 3.0 was born and we have used it pretty much every day since. If you are considering buying a machine I would highly recommend a model with a timer. We load it up at night and set it to cook in time for breakfast. As I am often up an hour or so before the rest of the house, the bread has usually cooled enough to be cut for breakfast.
Back to our pizza. This recipe is adapted from the basic white yeast bread recipe in Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course. It is adapted to suit our machine: if yours loads liquid first just reverse order of ingredients.
- 1.5 tsp dried yeast (I use Doves Farm)
- 675g strong white flour
- 50g rye flour (if you don’t have rye just use 725g of strong white)
- 10g sugar
- 2 tsps sugar
- 4 tbsps olive oil
- 425ml water
Preheat the oven to the highest setting on your oven or that you dare. (I ususally go up to 220C/ 420F/ GM7.)
If you are using a machine throw all the above ingredients into your machine as per the standard procedure and get cracking on your sauce while it’s being kneaded and proved. If you are not using a machine, good luck and sorry I can’t offer any kneading tips. I reckon I’m rubbish because I’m small and can’t lean down on the table like others. But that’s a bit of a cop out really.
Once the dough is ready divide into three. It can now be left in the fridge or frozen until required. If using straightaway roll out as thin as you can on a floured surface and stick it on a pizza tray like this one - I have three which I got variously in Dunnes and Superquinn and they are the business to get that nice crispy pizza base. Prick all over to prevent from puffing up like a balloon. If you forget this step – I do every time – you can squish the base back down but be extremely careful as there is a lot of hot air in those bubbles. Bake for 3 – 5 minutes until it is just beginning to brown.
Turn the oven down 10 degrees.
Remove from oven. Spread sauce below sparingly on the base and go wild with those toppings. Bake for another 8 – 10 minutes et voila or rather the Italian equivalent – a beautiful and delicious and crispy home made pizza.
I love this sauce recipe which I found many years ago in the Sunday Tribune. 14th March 2004 according to my recipe notebook! I love it because there is no oil in it, no chopping required and by now I can even throw it together without measuring anything. It’s not ideal for use with pasta because it’s quite rich but lacks that essential graspy oiliness for pasta dishes but could be used in a pinch. (I used it today with stuffed pasta. The sauce was fine; stuffed pasta: meh.)
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- Large clove of garlic
- 1 dessertspoon dried oregano
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Chuck everything into a pan and once it begins to bubble simmer on a medium low heat. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn or catch and once it has reduced to a thickish sauce turn off. Blitz with a hand held blender if you have one. (If you don’t, do buy one – they’re gift for soup, sauces and smoothies. And baby food of course!) This should make enough to cover a 12 inch and 2 9 inch pizzas I think. We always have plenty with some leftover.