Now that I have your attention let me tell you that pizza is my all time favourite food! I have a lot, I mean a lot, to say about making it but I will try to keep this simple and straight to the point.
First off, pizza from a traditional Italian pizzeria is a very different product to a fast-food pizza or one from the freezer section of Coles. There is nothing wrong with traditional pizza made from flour and water and olive oil, (unless of course, you are gluten/wheat intolerant). The Italians have been eating it for decades and enjoy very good health.
There are many ways to make a base but for all of them, we use 'Tipo 00' flour (a very finely milled flour). I recently bought some more of this because the supermarket shelves were looking particularly bare due to covid crazy shoppers so it's a good skill to have to make it from scratch! To this flour, you add some salt, water, a little oil, and yeast. Let it sit for as long as possible (overnight is best but I have left it for only an hour or so during this video as we were starving) You add your toppings of choice and you're good to go, 15 minutes in the oven.
You can get really creative with the toppings if you don't tell Nonna (she gets upset if you stray from tradition). Add lots of vegetables and make it part of your 5 servings of daily veg! You can use lots of shredded cheese or little pieces of fresh mozzarella, depending on your dietary goals, needs, and wants!
Topping combinations I love include:
Roasted pinenuts, caramelised onion, goats cheese, zucchini.
Pepperoni, mozzarella, basil.
Australian supreme style with pepperoni, capsicum, olives, shredded cheese and dare I say it, pineapple!
I also have a recipe for sourdough base (this takes about a week to make) and pizzette (cute mini pizzas) let me know if you'd like to see either of them!
4 cups (512 g) bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for assembly
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon (4 g) instant yeast
2 cups lukewarm water (I make this by using tap water topped up with some boiled water from the kettle)
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast. Add the water. Mix with a rubber spatula until the ingredients form a sticky ball.
Add some olive to the ball and the inside of the bowl to allow the dough to rise.
Cover with a tea towel and place in the oven for at least 1.5 hours or until the dough doubles in size. Another option is to leave all day or even overnight for maximum bubbliness and lightness.
Place the dough onto a liberally floured surface and break into 4 round balls. Place the balls on their tucked in ends for at least 30 minutes without disturbing. I will often store away two of the balls in the fridge for the next day at this point. You can even freeze them for up to 3 months.
Heat the oven to 180c.
Gently pull the dough across a pizza tray/stone, handling as minimally as possible. Leave a crust by having the ends a little thicker than the rest.
Cover with tomato paste, olive oil, salt, and mixed herbs and bake for about 5 minutes.
Add your topings and cook for around 15 minutes.