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Home Made Pizza

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Home made pizza is one of those meals that you can never go wrong with. They’re great to make on the weekend as they always end up taking longer to make than you plan…or maybe that’s just me! For the dough, I use Jamie Oliver’s Recipe from the Jamie’s Italian book, but it can also be found on his website. Information on toppings is below the dough recipe.

Serves makes 6 to 8 medium-sized thin pizza bases

Ingredients:

1 kg white bread flour or Tipo ’00’ flour, or 800g strong white bread flour or Tipo ’00’ flour, plus 200g finely ground semolina flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 x 7 g dried yeast sachets
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
650 ml lukewarm water

Serves makes 6 to 8 medium-sized thin pizza bases

Sieve the flour/s and salt on to a clean work surface and make a well in the middle. In a jug, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. Keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead until you have a smooth, springy dough.

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Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

Now remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands – this is called knocking back the dough. You can either use it immediately, or keep it, wrapped in clingfilm, in the fridge (or freezer) until required. If using straight away, divide the dough up into as many little balls as you want to make pizzas – this amount of dough is enough to make about six to eight medium pizzas.

Timing-wise, it’s a good idea to roll the pizzas out about 15 to 20 minutes before you want to cook them. Don’t roll them out and leave them hanging around for a few hours, though – if you are working in advance like this it’s better to leave your dough, covered with clingfilm, in the fridge. However, if you want to get them rolled out so there’s one less thing to do when your guests are round, simply roll the dough out into rough circles, about 0.5cm thick, and place them on slightly larger pieces of olive-oil-rubbed and flour-dusted tinfoil. You can then stack the pizzas, cover them with clingfilm, and pop them into the fridge.

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Pre-heat the oven to the highest possible setting (for me, that’s 260°C).

I like to keep the toppings simple: add too much, and the bases won’t cook properly. Tonight I used:
Tomato paste
Salami
Prosciutto
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
1 Zucchini (Courgette) grated into long strips
1 brown onion, finely diced
Sea salt and black pepper
Oregano, fresh basil leaves and fresh thyme leaves
Mushrooms (not pictured)

Other great ingredients include: spring or red onions in place of the brown onion, fresh spinach leaves, finely shaved ham, olives, anchovies, sundried tomatoes… The options are really only limited by what you like and what you have in the pantry/fridge.

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Assemble the pizzas to your liking, then place in the oven for 15 minutes. When you put the pizzas in the oven, turn the temperature back down to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7.

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Remove the pizzas from the trays, slice and serve.

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What are your favourite pizza toppings? Anything unusual, or do you like to stick to the classics?

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