Proper pizza

This is a serious pizza method that will give you fantastic results. It's not too difficult and doesn't require too much time spent in the kitchen, mostly you'll just be waiting for the dough to rest and/or rise. 

By using the mix-and-rest method for kneading, you replace a lot of hard work with just a bit of extra resting time. I think the results are at least as good as traditional kneading, if not better. 

Working with soft doughs like this can take a little practice, but it's well worth the effort, and it's very satisfying. Just remember to have plenty of spare flour nearby to flour your hands and work surface. 

And don't be too hard on yourself if your first attempts aren't perfect. To thick, too thin, holes in the base...etc. We've all done it, and the end result is always good to eat anyway. 

For more general advice on breads and doughs, please check out this post

Tomato sauce recipe is included below. 

Full recipe below video

Makes 8 pizzas 

You can easily half this recipe if you prefer. I'd recommend making all 8 as they keep well in the fridge or freezer, and it's all good practice.

For the dough

1kg bread flour, plus extra for dusting

1 x7g sachet of fast action dried yeast

25g fine sea salt 

50ml olive oil

750ml water

For the sauce

Two cans (400g each) chopped tomato

2 garlic cloves, crushed

pinch of chilli flakes 

pinch of dried oregano

A couple of stalks of basil

1 tbsp red or white wine vinegar

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 tbsp Olive oil

salt

Note - This is the method for hand mixing, but if you prefer to use a stand mixer, just follow the instructions below, and mix on slow for each stage of kneading. 

- Mix the flour, water, salt and yeast into a rough dough for about 1 minute. Cover with a tea towel and set aside for 15 minutes. During this time the gluten will begin to develop and the flour will absorb most the of the water - this will do most of the hard work of kneading for you. 

- Now knead the dough in the bowl for another minute. Add the olive oil (don't mix in at this stage), cover and set aside for another 15 minutes. 

- Knead for a further 2-3 minutes or however long it takes for the oil to be fully incorporated. 

- Cover and allow to rise for around 2 hours at room temperature until doubled in size. If your house is very cold, you can put it near a radiator. 

- Now would be a good time to make this simple tomato sauce. Gently sweat garlic in olive until you see the first hint of light brown appear. Add the tomato puree, oregano, chilli flakes and vinegar and a few pinches of salt. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and basil stalks and simmer very gently for about half an hour.

- Remove the basil and discard, then break down the sauce a little using either a hand blender, food mill or potato masher. You don't want a puree. Just get rid of the bigger pieces. Set aside. Note that this sauce should be quite acidic, it will become much sweeter and richer once it's roasted in the oven. 

- Prepare any other toppings you plan to use. 

- Once your dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a floured work surface and fold the edges in towards the middle. Rotate the dough and do this again, and then flip it over so that the seams are facing down. Cover and allow to rest for 10-15 mins. 

- Now cut the dough into 8 x 200g pieces. Form these into balls by continually pulling the edges into the middle from all sides, and then flipping over so that the seam side is facing down. Cover and allow to rest and rise a little for 15 minutes. 

- Take one dough ball, and start gently pressing down so that you're flattening the middle section and stretching it out. Be careful not to flatten the rim around the edge as we want this to puff up and become crisp and hollow during cooking. 

Note - please don't be tempted to use a rolling pin. It will totally take the life out of your dough and you'll be left with a tough, heavy pizza. 

- Once the dough is about half-shaped. It will start to resist being stretched and if you continue it will tear. This is the time to set it aside, and continue half-shaping the other 7 dough balls. 

- Preheat your oven to the highest setting. You will need a hot tray or pizza stone to put the pizza on, so leave this in the oven to heat up now. 

- Once all 8 dough balls are half-shaped. Go back to the first, which will have relaxed and become pliable again. Gently stretch and tease it into shape until you have an approximately 10 inch round pizza base with a slightly raised rim. 

- Carefully place this onto your hot oven tray (or pizza stone). If it needs any last minute reshaping, do so very carefully. It's a great pizza, but it's not worth burning yourself for. 

- Working quickly but without rushing, top the dough with tomato sauce and whatever toppings you're using. Get the pizza into the oven and keep an eye on it - usually it will take around 6 minutes, but it depends a lot on how hot your oven is, and how you like it cooked.

- You can continue shaping the other pizzas while this one cooks. 

- Good luck and please leave any comments on Facebook or Instagram. (links at bottom of website)