Sunday, 28 July 2013

Classic Pizza

The last few weeks have been very busy. As Billy has been accepted into Portsmouth Uni, he has moved down from Blackpool and we now living together; I've moved out of my small one bedroom flat and into a much more spacious and bright two bedroom flat near the Southsea town centre.

Things have been going really well...

Though after a few weeks, Billy has gotten a bit fed up of waiting for me to come home from work and cook tea because that usually means we don't eat until at least half past 6. So, he has decided to take up the mantle of domestic goddess and start cooking meals. At first, I was a little unsure and he started with a simple shop bought fish cakes, chips and peas. But, as the week went on, he got more adventurous and managed to cook (from scratch) carbonara and "lasagne" (beef and tomatoes cooked with curry powder and lasagne sheets - no white sauce) which were surprisingly nice.

And now, it seems, I've been relegated to the role of "weekend cook". I started off with an experiment with carrot bhajis (rather tasty) on Friday and continued with a Margarita pizza.

Since I attended The Bertinet Kitchen Cookery School, ran by the marvelous Richard Bertinet, I've completely changed how I make any type of dough. My weekends now tend to revolve around a batch of proving dough - usually out of which I make mini baguettes or rolls.

This pizza recipe differs hugely from my last one. It includes fresh yeast, no sugar, a very long proving (giving more flavour) and a very simple sauce...

Simple Classic Pizza

This is a fairly large recipe, in terms of quantity. But, it's easy enough to scale to suit your own needs. I also used a Kenwood Chef to do most the work for me (lazy), so make sure the quantity is suitable for yours, if using one.

Also, there's a video at the end to help show how to work dough and shape it.

For the dough (makes 8 small-ish pizzas):
700g cold water
1kg strong bread flour
20g fresh yeast
20g salt

For the topping (per pizza):
1/2 ball of mozzarella
1tbsp passatta (sieved tomatoes)
4 slices of tomato
small handful of fresh basil
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil

To make the dough, put the water in the kitchen machine mixing bowl, followed by the flour and then the salt and yeast (keeping them at opposite sides). 

Attach the dough hook and gradually increase to a low/middle speed (speed 3 on a Kenwood Chef). Continue mixing for about 6 minutes, until the dough is soft and not sticky. 

Transfer to a worktop and shape the dough by hand before returning it to the mixing bowl. Lightly dust the top with flour and cover with a tea towel. Place it in the fridge and allow to slowly prove for a few hours (I usually leave it at least over night).

When ready, preheat the oven now on the highest temp, 240C or so, and transfer the dough to the worktop and portion into 8 balls. (At this stage, the balls can be put into individual freezer bags and frozen). 

Roll a dough ball into a base and spread the passatta on the base in a thin layer. Add the mozzarella, basil and tomatoes and bake for about 7 to 10 minutes, depending upon the oven temperature.

Remove, season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil.