Basic Pizza Dough

Making your own pizza dough is much easier than you think! The great thing about it is that there are no preservatives and that it can be done in a short time.  

Make sure to keep a packet of instant yeast in your cupboard (which will keep for months) and you can make pizza any time. Here is what you need to make enough pizza for 6 people as a main course

1 kg plain flour, possibly use 00 type
1 sachet x 11g instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon olive oil
around 500ml luke-warm water - add this slowly as you might require less.

Sift your flour into a very large bowl. Add the salt on one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other side. Never mix the two as it will hinder the yeast activity.

Next add the olive oil and whilst you have the stand mixer running pour in the water.  Make sure to add this slowly as you might not need to use all the 500ml.

If you are mixing the dough by hand, then ideally you could stir with one hand and pour in the water with the other. If not, just add the water and stir well after every addition checking whether the dough needs more water before adding.

When you think you have enough water to achieve a wet dough, stop adding water.
If you feel that you have added too much water, just add a tablespoon or 2 of flour.  A wet dough will give you a better pizza crust.

Once your dough is done, let it rest until it doubles in volume. This should take about 1 hour.

If you are really pressed for time, I suggest you warm the flour in a low oven or for a few seconds in the microwave before you make the dough. This will speed up the process.

Once your dough has nicely risen, place it on a floured surface. Cut the dough into 6 pieces.

Next roll the dough out into the shapes that your baking dish dictates. This could be round or rectangular depending on the oven dish you are using.

Ideally you would let the dough rest in the dish before adding your pizza ingredients, but if there is no time for this, dive straight piling your ingredients.

I like to brush my baking dish with oil or cooking spray before sprinkling the base with a layer of Semolina.

If you cannot find Semolina, just add some flour.

Once your ingredients have been added, bake in a hot oven until the dough is golden.
I suggest you preheat the oven to the highest setting and then lower the temperature to 180 C once the pizzas are added.

The regards to topping, the simpler the better.
Try a combination of Tomato purée or chopped tomatoes topped with sliced onions and olives. Or else mushrooms and ham. Always on a base of tomatoes and topped with mozzarella cheese, oregano and some olive oil once it is out of the oven.

I also like to bake a plain pizza with just the tomato sauce and then add torn pieces of mozzarella di bufala once out of the oven. Again, don't forget a drizzle of olive oil. 

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