Put the flour into the bowl of your stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl if making by hand. If using fresh yeast, rub it into the flour with your fingertips, as you would if you were making a crumble. Or, just tip the dried yeast in and stir. Add the salt, followed by the olive oil and water (just warm to touch - about 37-40 degrees C if you have a thermometer - if too hot, it may kill the yeast). If using a stand mixer with a dough hook, 'knead' on speed 1 for 2 minutes (just so the flour doesn't go everywhere!), followed by speed 2 for 8 minutes. It will be quite a wet dough compared to a normal bread dough. Put a little olive oil on your hands to make it easier to remove from the dough hook if needed. If making by hand, knead for 10 to 15 minutes until smooth and elastic (again, it will be wet - don't be tempted to add lots of extra flour. Put a little olive oil on your hands to make it easier to handle if needed).
Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with lightly oiled cling film. Leave in a warm place for an hour, until it has risen (more or less doubled), or simply place in the fridge overnight. Leaving it in the fridge to rise slowly not only makes things easy, but it also gives an even better flavour and texture.
Put a couple of large flat baking trays or a baking stone into the oven and pre-heat to 250 degrees C (or as hot as your oven will go).
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4-6 pieces. Shape into balls, then cover loosely with the cling film and leave for 10 minutes.
Dust the surface with a little more flour, and, one by one, roll the balls out. Or stretch with your hands - put the heel of your hand in the centre and push it away from you, turn the ball a little, and repeat until you have a thin circle(ish!) - make them as thin / thick as you like, depending on what you prefer.
Transfer to the hot tray / stone and bake in the oven (1 or 2 at a time) for 3-4 minutes until they have puffed up a little and have just started to colour.
Cool on a wire rack.
When completely cool, put them in a large freezer bag (separated by pieces of baking paper if putting more than one in each bag). Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for at least a month.
When you are ready to eat them, pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees C at least 15 minutes in advance (ideally half an hour), again with a baking tray or stone inside. If frozen, put them in the oven for 2-3 minutes (no need if from the fridge). Spread with a little passata / tomato sauce, add mozzarella and your choice of toppings, and bake for about 6-10 minutes (depending on the size of the pizza, the height of the shelf and the temperature of the oven) until the topping is bubbling and the edges are golden and crispy.
|Olive Oil||50 Ml|
|Table Salt||10 G|
|Warm Water||320 Ml (g)|
|Olive Oil For The Bowl And Cling Film||A Little|
|Plain White Flour (bread Flour Or Normal) For Dusting||2 - 3 Tbsp|
|Fresh Yeast / Fast Action Dried Yeast||15 G / 1 Sachet (7-8g)|
|Strong White Bread Flour||500 G|
If you like a textured base, you can roll out / shape the pizza on a dusting of semolina or fine polenta.
Great made with half spelt flour too.
If you want to cook straight away - just parbake first, add your toppings, then return to the oven as above.
This makes 4 large individual pizzas. I usually make 6. Sometimes I make 8 mini ones - great for children, or to keep on hand for a quick lunch.
For delicious dough balls ('Pizza Express' style), shape the dough into little balls, bake for about 6 minutes, then brush with soft butter or garlic butter as soon as they come out of the oven and enjoy! I also sometimes have a plain base this way.