To continue my bread making frenzy, I decided to forego our temperamental breadmaker, which we usually use to mix our pizza dough, and make my own.
When I was a kid, we made pizza most Saturday nights. Uncle Fran would come over and he and dad would make the dough, have a beer and then chop up all the ingredients. I loved helping. It was a real family tradition – it went on for years (decades!).
Monte and I think it’s great to have family traditions like this, and we usually have a pizza night every Saturday. It’s great for entertaining. It’s great for movie watching. It’s great eating cold pizza the next day!
We had a very full house on the night I made this recipe, and this recipe makes four medium sized pizza bases. You could cook them all up, leaving two plain, putting them in the freezer for another day. Or you could halve or quarter this recipe to make two or one pizza bases. You could just make and bake four pizzas and have cold pizza for lunch the next day!
I’ve got to say, this is so easy that I think you should have pizza for dinner tonight!
I’ve halved the recipe and put the measurements in parentheses for you (don’t laugh – I saw a blog post once with a cheat sheet on halving recipes)
5 cups bread flour (2.5) – we use white, but you could try other types as well
3 teaspoons dried yeast (1.5)
2 teaspoons salt (1)
4 tablespoons olive oil (2)
2 cups warm water (1)
Activate the yeast by mixing it with warm water. Leave it for ten minutes or so, in a warm spot if you can. I figure that because the breadmaker does a preheating stage of the baking process, this part is important.
Once the yeast is activated (it’ll froth up a bit and smell yeasty [funny that]) add all the ingredients and mix well.
When all ingredients are combined, tip the dough onto a floured board and, with floured hands, begin kneading the dough until it is no longer sticky and feels silky to work with. Add extra plain flour if you ‘need’ to. Haha!
Roll up the dough into a ball and leave it in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, for an hour at least – it will double, even triple, in size.
When you’re ready to make the bases, tip the dough out onto your floured board and divide it into four. Knead each ball of dough for a while, before rolling it with your rolling pin and shaping it into your pizza dish (our children love doing this part!). I like to use grease proof paper when baking pizzas. I find that it makes the base crunchier than if you used cooking spray or oil on the pan.
How you top the pizza is up to you. We tend to gave a production line happening on the big kitchen bench. We make plainer pizzas for the fussier eaters, but when it comes to the adults, anything goes, whether it’s smoked salmon, olives, haloumi, shredded roasted chicken, baby spinach – whatever. Often we just top them with smokey BBQ tomato paste, chopped up bacon or ham, pineapple pieces and cheese. I always sprinkle cracked pepper on my pizza slices.
I bake our pizzas at 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Usually we cook them in the woodstove on ‘very hot.’ One day we will have an outdoor kitchen with a wood fired pizza oven in it. But during winter I am more than happy to cook it pizzas inside!
Enjoy. Pizza is gooooood.