post #1 of 1
Thread Starter 
Hey all, excuse the long explanations; I wrote this down to help some pizza first timers out. =)

This is my combination of bits that actually worked from lots of bad British pizza recipes and one good Italian pizza recipe.

I'm assuming a normal oven that goes up to about 240 deg C at most. In a proper pizza oven at 500 deg C, cooking this would take about 1.5 mins.

I normally use plain flour for this (not self raising), but you can use Doppio Zero (00) pasta flour for the best result, or a combo of plain and 00. - That's why the water measurement isn't specific; you might need to change it for different kinds of flour. Less is generally best, don't want the dough too sticky, but then it takes much longer to knead for a good texture.


> 500g Flour (Plain or 00 pasta flour),
> 7g Packet of dried yeast, (too bloody hard to find fresh yeast, but twice the amount of fresh yeast should work well),
> 120-150ml Warm water (bit hotter than body temp, but not hot - too hot kills the yeast.)
> Extra Virgin Olive Oil,
> Salt.


Get a really big mixing bowl and disolve the packet of yeast in a small splash of the warm water. Add three TBSP of the flour and stir well to make a smooth, sticky paste.

Cover it with a clean damp (not soaked, damp!) warm teatowel. Leave it for 30m in a warmish place. This is called a 'Biga' process. It's a classic italian pre-ferment used in bread and pizza doughs, and some cakes. It activates the yeast and starts it fermenting, ready for the main dough process. Often sugar is added, but not needed in this case with dried yeast - might need to add a little bit if using fresh yeast.

After 30m, sift the rest of the flour into the bowl with the yeast through a fine seive, and add a pinch of salt, the rest of the warm water (I normally use about 135 ml total when using plain flour), and three good glugs of extra virgin olive oil.
The olive oil stops the dough from being too sticky when you knead it, and affects the character and flavor of the dough when cooked.

I find that turning it out onto a floured worksurface to knead is pointless and sticky. Just knead it in the big mixing bowl. Shouldn't stick to your hands too much because we added olive oil.

Use a lot of force to knead - I put it on a table and punch it really hard, then pick it up, compress it, stretch it, and plait it until it's really well mixed.

If you use 135ml of water the dough should start out seeming slightly dry when you've mixed it all together with the flour, except for a few sticky bits that have absorbed a lot of fluid.

This is supposed to change slowly as it's kneaded, so after about 15m of hard kneading it stops seeming dry, and takes on a stretchy elastic texture a bit like soft blu-tack. The texture changes because kneading allows the strands of various protien molecules in the dough to align, and form a stretchy elastic mesh.

After about 15m when it's really well mixed, divide it into four equal peices and roll them into balls. I use a weighing scale for this - they normally come out at about 184g for each dough ball.

Put them on a baking tray sprinkle a small ammount of flour over each one, and roll and pat them in the flour between your hands so that they're covered in a thin layer of flour. Put them onto the baking tray again with space between them because they rise, and might stick together if they're too close.

Cover them with a clean damp teatowel, and put them in a nice warm place for 2 Hrs. This lets the yeast ferment again, so the doughballs rise and get even more stretchy

At this point we can rub the outside of the doughballs in a VERY SMALL ammount of olive oil, individually wrap them, and stick them in the freezer. Or if you want to use them immediately, skip that and just roll them out into pizza.


Italian pizza is very thin and crispy, not fat, so we want to be rolling out our pizza dough REALLY thin.

I roll it out for a standard size rectangular baking tray most of the time, but obviously if you've got a big pizza stone you can do round ones.

Roll it really thin with a rolling pin on a big breadboard/choppingboard, then transfer it to your shallow flat bottomed baking tray or pizza stone.
Rolling should give it the rough shape, but I use my fingers to push it right to the edges of the baking tray so that it's really thin on the bottom (just thick enough to avoid ripping - about as thick as two credit cards put on top of each other... it's tricky. :D ).

You should get a thicker bit just at the edges where you push it with your fingers to make a small raised lump of dough all around the margins. This is called a 'Corniccione', and it's the bit that A) Holds in the toppings, and B) rises and gets crispy and VERY SLIGHLY charred in the oven - don't want to burn it.

Now we put the toppings on.


My favourite - Classic Marinara pizza - not to be confused with the one with seafood!

.... For a Margarita just add good Mozzarella, but who needs cheese anyway? :D

> Salt,
> Pepper,
> Oregano,
> Chopped fresh Garlic,
> Fresh washed Basil leaves,
> Extra Virgin Olive Oil,
> Tomato Passata without any lumps or flavourings. Plain is best.

Spread a thin layer of Tomato passata over the whole surface of the rolled pizza except the corniccione around the outside.
Too thick = it won't cook enough.
Too thin = it'll dry out in the oven.
Can't really describe how much that is, but play it by ear. =)

Sprinkle the whole pizza with salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic to taste.

Scatter a good handful of fresh basil leaves on top, and sprinkle with a very thin drizzle of olive oil over the general areas of the pizza. Don't put too much oil, don't want lakes of oily stuff.

Preheat the oven to as hot as it will go. Normally about 230-250.
With a pizza oven, it'd be 500.

When the oven is very hot, put in the pizza for about 9-11 Mins. Check on it every now and then, you want it crispy on the thin base, the toppings just cooked but not burned, and a very slight layer of charring on the corniccione. Easy to burn it, so watch out. =)

If you put more toppings on it takes longer to cook the bottom. 9-11 is for this one with a thin layer of topping.

VoilĂ , perfect pizza. :D