By the time Friday night rolls around, it’s easy to opt for a quick take away. But lately I’ve found a new way to get the Friday feeling without spending loads of cash – make your own pizza. It’s become a little bit of a tradition in our house as we save our pennies for the arrival of baby jam jar in January.
I’ve been making pizza dough for a while now, and while I love cooking with yeast (I still find it all quite amazing – it’s alive!) I am not a fan of waiting around. So when I was short of time one Friday night I thought I would cruise around the internet looking for a recipe that didn’t involve the dreaded “and then let the dough rise for one hour”. This is definitely the most straightforward one I found that fateful day.
When you think about it, pizza dough doesn’t need to be light and fluffy like, say, a hot cross bun does. So the whole idea of not letting it rise is really fine (I promise) if, like me, you love a thin crispy base as opposed to a deep pan base that you could almost build your house on.
The best thing is, you don’t need more than a couple of toppings for this to be extraordinary. I love a good old mushroom pizza with just the tomato base, mushrooms and cheese. Keep it simple and you will still have plenty of time to get on the couch with your favourite slippers.
Ingredients for the dough:
1 sachet (7g) dried yeast
1 pinch sugar
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups plain flour
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
A really simple tomato base:
1 can diced tomatoes
1 brown or red onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon garlic
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, or red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
First of all, place the yeast sachet and the sugar into the warm water. Place somewhere warm to allow the yeast to activate for 10 minutes. It should become foamy on top. If it doesn’t check the use by date as the yeast may not be fresh enough.
Preheat oven to 200°C and spray 2 baking trays with olive oil.
Now it’s time to get your sauce on the go. Of course, you could just use a tin of tomato paste, but I find that the version outlined here gives a greater depth of flavour than the paste on it’s own.
Heat a frypan on medium-high heat. Heat up your oil and add the garlic and onion. Stir well until just coloured. Add your tomatoes, plus the salt and pepper. Allow the sauce to cook down a little for about 3 minutes before adding your balsamic or wine. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer while you get on with your dough.
Place the flour, salt and olive oil into a large mixing bowl and add your yeast/water mixture. Bring together with a wooden spoon to form a ball of dough. You may need to add a little more water or flour to get the consistency right.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about two minutes. It will become more soft and elastic. Pull into two pieces and roll out thinly to fit the size of your baking tray. Pour over your sauce and then add the toppings of your choice (remember, less is more) with cheese on top. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes or until the crusts are crispy and the cheese is golden.