Pizza

pizza

Makes about 6 pizzas – we didn’t eat all of them between the two of us, honestly

For the pizza base:

7g quick yeast

175ml lager [wonders if beer is appropriate in a recipe for a 1 year old]

200ml tap hot water – when combined, the beer and water need to be hand hot. I get the beer from the fridge and add very hot water.

600g 00 pasta flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

50ml olive oil

For the tomato sauce:

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Good glug olive oil

Can chopped tomatoes

For the topping:

About 125g mozzerella per person (that’s a single ball)

And then whatever you fancy – we had ham and pineapple so Bert could have the Pizza Hut c. 1987 experience; when his mother was in her permed prime. With good ham and a nice, crisp base, this is actually a surprisingly good topping, as rediscovered by Bert’s dad, our usual pizza chef.

Put the yeast into a bowl, pour over the liquid and whisk together. Add the remaining base ingredients, gather into a rough dough and knead till smooth. It just takes a couple of minutes or so. Don’t be tempted to add much extra flour if the dough starts out sticky – it will get smooth and a wetter dough is a better dough.

Put the dough into a clean, oiled bowl. I’d not normally advocate unneccessary cleaning, but the clean, oiled bowl means the dough doesn’t stick to it. Cover with a tea towel and leave for a couple of hours. After the first rise, give it another knead. If you have time and energy, the more stretching and folding you do at this stage the better, but this dough is still good with just a quick second knead. You can involve babies in stretching and folding if you’re looking to convert the pizza into an immune system opportunity for everyone. After the second knead, leave the dough for at least half an hour before rolling out into pizzas.

For the tomato sauce, fry the garlic briefly in a generous amount of olive oil, add the tomatoes and as soon as they’re bubbling take them off the heat and push through a sieve. Return the sieved tomatoes to the pan and reduce for five or ten minutes. You’ll know when they’re the right consistency.

When you’re ready to cook, get the oven really hot (the maximum your oven offers) and roll out the dough into six circles. Get the tray hot in the oven, then build your first pizza on the tray. Be stingy with the tomato sauce. They take about 7 – 10 minutes. The quicker and hotter the better. For Agas, put the tray directly on the floor of the roasting oven.

The dough was originally a River Cottage recipe I think, though I refer to my own notes not the original when I make it so I’ve probably cut corners and changed it a bit over the years.

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