Pizza is so ubiquitous that many different options can be found in every supermarket throughout the world, and there is usually a couple of take-out choices nearby every neighbourhood, so why would you go to the effort of making your own pizza dough? For me part of it is the knowing what the ingredients are and where they have come from, but mostly it is the challenge to create something better than the ‘bog standard pizza’ with the best pizza dough and the best pizza sauce.
Most of our experiences with pizza, are usually from restaurants, take-outs or per-made ones, and anyone who has made their own pizza at home will probably have found it lacking in some way and give up on the experience, given that there are pretty cheap to buy and the effort involved in making your own. There are a few of reasons why home-made pizzas never tastes quite as good as the ones you can buy, and it comes down to flour improvers, flavour enhancers, fat, salt, sugar and the heat of the oven. Manufacturers know how to trick our taste buds to crave fat, salt and sugar, so to to make a good pizza at home we need to come up with ways to add taste and to ways to cope with home ovens.
My favourite pizza to eat out is Napoli style pizza, however to make this style of pizza base at home, you really need a super hot oven to get the thin, bubbly crust. You can come close with a pizza stone, but it does make things a bit more tricky. So the pizza I make most often at home, is a deep crust pizza, loaded with lots of toppings.To boost the flavour of the dough I had some ground onion and garlic powder and I sprinkle some cornmeal around the edge of the crust to help add some crunch to it.
My best pizza dough recipe
You can use a bread machine to start this dough, or do it by hand. If you are using a bread machine for making your pizza dough, then follow the manufacturers instructions as to the order you add the liquid and dry ingredients, and use the dough setting.
- 0.75 cups (180ml) of warm water
- 2 cups (220g) of strong white bread flour
- 1 tsp of active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 0.5 tsp onion powder
- 0.5 tsp garlic powder
- some cornmeal (polenta) or for dusting
- Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl, except the cornmeal and knead the dough for about 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth, silky and uniform.
- Cover the dough and leave it somewhere warm to double in size for about a couple of hours.
- Uncover the dough, punch it down and kneed again for about a minute.
- Cover the dough and let it rise again for another hour.
- Prepare a large metal baking sheet with a little oil. Remove the dough from the bowl and with floured hands, stretch and pull the dough into the shape you want, or gently roll it into shape with a rolling pin. I tend to make a large square pizza to maximise the baking sheet.
- Around the edge of the pizza, pinch the edges to make the crust, and then sprinkle on some cornmeal around the edge.
- Add your pizza sauce, toppings and cheese. Sprinkle on a little paprika on top of the cheese to help it brown and cook it in a pre-heated 375F (190C) oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until the cheese has browned.
- Slice the pizza and serve. And if on the slight chance there is any left, it is great cold for breakfast.
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