Pete’s pizza dough

This isn’t sourdough, and it’s a bread machine recipe. But it’s a lovely pizza dough, and one which Pete, my partner, has perfected over the years.

I don’t understand people who ooh-ahh over the fact that we make our own pizzas. It’s simplicity itself and you can make them in advance.

I make these in two Mermaid trays – but I like them thin. If you like your pizzas thick well, I’m not sure I have much to say to you really. Pizzas shouldn’t be thick.

From start to finish you can have pizzas on the table in about fifty-five minutes. The pizza-dough cycle on my bread machine takes 40 mins, then you just roll out, put toppings on and they’re cooked in 8-10 mins. And for those of you who have children, this is a lovely thing to get them involved in.

Here’s what you need (Pete works in ounces, I work in grams, I’ve kept true to his recipe here):

8floz hand hot water
2tablespoons olive oil
12oz of plain white, soft flour (note: not bread flour)
1teaspoon caster sugar
1teaspoon salt
2teaspoons yeast

You put all the ingredients in your bread machine in the order the manufacturer recommends, above is the order I put mine in as that’s what Panasonic recommends. The pizza dough cycle is, as I said, 40 mins long on my machine. (The regular dough cycle is 2.20mins so that should give you an idea, you don’t want a long cycle.)

The pizza dough before rolling

When it’s done, oil a suitable surface (I use a very large chopping board so that I can move it about if need be) and your hands, and take the dough out. Sometimes this dough is really sticky, other times more manageable. It makes for a better dough when it’s stickier (higher hydration) so there is a compensation.

Because I use the dough across two baking trays, I cut mine in half; but if you’re making – say – four round pizzas, cut into four..etc. I’m sure you can work it out..

Roll out the dough, as thin as you can, to fit your tray/tin. If you can do that thing of throwing the dough up in the air to make it thin, great: do teach me how to do it too!

When it’s rolled out to an approximate size, I lay it on the tray (note: I oil the tray and coat it with polenta/cornmeal), rest if for five mins and then stretch it into the corners/sides.

Now you can, at this stage, go straight into doing the toppings and either cook it or put it in the fridge (naked or with all the toppings on, I put mine in naked). You can also freeze it (in which case cook straight from frozen, just give it a few more mins). I cover mine with cling film place one tray on top of another (if no toppings on) to save space in the fridge.

When you’re ready to cook, if you haven’t already, put on whatever toppings you want. For the tomato bit on the top, I use Waitrose Sundried Tomato paste – a tiny amount spread on the pizza base (it’s quite salty so go carefully). Then I put on artichoke hearts, salami slices, olives, ham, mushrooms, mozzarella, asparagus if in season etc. Or just the tomato paste and some mozzarella for those who like it really simple (boring..) Just before it goes into the oven, splash some olive oil on it and cook it for 7-10 mins. My oven is very hot and has a pizza setting, yours might too. You can tell when it’s done as it will have bubbled up and be golden.

Take out and slide onto a chopping board, slice up, eat and feel very virtuous. Pizza doesn’t have to be unhealthy..or at least whilst not pretending this is a health food, it’s as healthy as pizza can be.

La pizza, I put the rocket on after it came out of the oven

4 thoughts on “Pete’s pizza dough

  1. Pizza neophyte

    Out of curiousity, how on earth do you get the rolled dough from the counter onto the trays? I love the oiling hands / tools tip and the crust tastes delicious but I keep having to repair all the tears I make from the transfer.

  2. Annalisa Barbieri

    Hello Pizza Neophyte, the trick is to put it on the tray before it gets too thin to transfer. Once it's on the tray, you pull it a bit more, gently, into the corners and sides of the tray (I sometimes even roll it on the tray, I've got a really small rolling pin!). If it's resistant, leave it five minutes for the gluten to relax and then try again.

  3. chitchatrhymes

    This is similar to the recipe I use, but I always roll the dough in course semolina prior to putting it on the baking tray. I guess the effect is similar to the one you get with cornmeal. For the tomato, I blend up a tin of tomatoes with a pinch of sugar, salt and oregano, then simmer for 20 minutes or so until the mixture has reduced somewhat. It's thinner than puree would be, and of course much more work, but then I tend to subscribe to the 'why buy something from the supermarket when you can slave over a hot stove for hours and make something which probably costs ten times the price and doesn't taste much different' school of cooking.

  4. Annalisa Barbieri

    Hi ChitchatThanks for posting. Your topping sounds great, but I don't like obvious tomato pieces (legacy of awful school dinners) and when I was a little girl my mum used to have to make me pizza bianca (white pizza with no tomato sauce). For me, the sundried tomato paste addresses that problem and also it's always ready to go. I might give it a go however!Pmsl at slaving..I'm a bit like that. Although home made ALWAYS better! But yes, invariably works out more expensive but at least you know what's in it.


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