This was my first attempt at making pizza dough – but it won’t be the last. I don’t know what’s taken me so long. I usually buy Pizza Express pizzas when they’re on offer and keep them in the freezer. They’re pretty good actually, and you can get quite a crisp crust from them. But nowhere near like these.
I’ll warn you though – STICK to the quantities below! I kneaded it for AGES and strained my right arm before I realised that I hadn’t added all the water. As soon as I did, it came together like a dream, all silky and soft.
I did a lot of research before making these, to try and combine the best of all the recipes. The only thing I’ll do differently next time is use less toppings on mine. Mr Roast Chicken’s was supremely crispy due to no cheese (ovb) but mine was slightly soft in the middle. Not in a bad way, and I don’t mind a little bit of that – but I’d advise that less is definitely more when using cheese if you want it crispy + chewy all the way. I then realised that no cheese = dairy free pizza, something that other people might be interested. So this is the recipe for the pizza in the bottom of the image – Tomato, Courgette, Chicken and Peppers (mine was mozzarella, mushrooms, tomato, courgette and chicken).
Dairy-Free Pizza Tomato, Courgette, Pepper and Chicken
For the base (serves 4):
500g strong white bread flour
7g dried fast acting yeast
350ml lukewarm water
For the pizza sauce (serves 4):
splash olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon tomato puree
salt and pepper
For the topping (for one pizza – alter depending on what each person fancies):
small handful of cooked chicken
half a small pepper
about 2 inches of courgette, chopped finely
For the dough:
1. Tip the flour and salt on to a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add your yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water, mix up with a fork and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well.
2. Mix everything together using a fork. When the dough comes together and becomes too hard to mix with your fork, flour your hands and form it into a ball.
3. Knead the dough, using your left hand to stretch the dough toward you and your right hand to push the dough away from you at the same time. Repeat this for about 15 minutes, depending on how strong you are! Don’t stop (or stop, have a rest and start again) until you have a smooth, springy, soft dough. If you prod it with your finger the dent should spring back up again. It will start to feel different when it gets close – it will become much softer and easier to knead. This is the bit that took me ages. Add a bit more water if it’s too stiff – you can always add more flour at the end if it’s still too wet, but wet and sticky is definitely better at this stage.
4. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with cling film and let double in size for a few hours (I left mine for 2 and it was huge by the end of that time!).
For the sauce:
1. Peel and crush the garlic. Heat the olive oil slightly and fry the garlic until golden.
2. Add the other ingredients and cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes, then allow to cool.
For the finished pizza:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees.
2. Divide the dough into four balls. Roll it out slightly with a rolling pin then use your hands to stretch the dough into a pizza shape, letting the weight of the dough stretch it out until it’s almost see through. Keep the outside ring a little thicker.
2.Put the pizza bases onto oiled foil on a baking sheet. Spread out the tomato sauce and scatter the toppings. Drizzle with olive oil. two of the rolled-out dough rounds onto each of two oiled baking sheets.
3. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the pizzas are golden and crispy.
I’m linking up with the wonderful Charlotte, of Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen for her Food Year Linkup, and The Credit Crunch Munch Challenge from Camilla of Fab Food 4 All and Helen of Fuss Free Flavours and hosted this month by Utterly Scrummy for this one. Hop on over for more ideas!