Happiness is Pizza-shaped

We had to go food shopping today (and spent a bloody FORTUNE!) so were deciding this morning before I went to work what to have for tea tonight.  A Man thought we ought to make pizza, so I left him to it.  I think I’ve mentioned his excellent pizza stone before – it’s totally revolutionised pizza making!  Crisps the dough without overcooking it and keeps everything nice and hot at the table so you don’t have to rush it.  It was, in a word, delicious!  We just ate it by itself, but if you’re cooking for larger numbers salad, chips and garlic bread accompany this well.

Much love

Gemma xx

Stone Baked Pizza

Dough
225g plain white flour
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp salt
140ml lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sauce Base
Onion
Garlic
Chilli
Basil or oregano
Salt and pepper
A little sugar
Tinned tomatoes
Tomato purée

  1. Reactivate the yeast in 90ml lukewarm water with the sugar and leave to foam for a few minutes.
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.  Add the oil, yeast and remaining water and mix by hand until you have a ball of dough.  At this stage it will be very sticky!
  3. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until the ball is smooth and elastic.  Add a little more water or flour as required.
  4. Leave for an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Fry the finely chopped onion, garlic and chilli in some olive oil until softened.  Add the tinned tomatoes, salt and pepper, sugar, purée and basil and stir.
  6. Turn down the heat and leave the sauce to reduce until thick.  WARNING!  It will bubble and explode – the best thing to do is to leave a lid on which covers most of the pan, but leaves room for steam to escape.
  7. Place the pizza stone into a COLD oven and turn up as high as it will go.  Meanwhile prepare your ingredients.  We had yellow pepper, portobello mushroom, basil, mozzarella and some meat offcuts from the deli counter at work on ours, but you can obviously do what you like with it.  The possibilities, as they say, are endless.

    Some prepared toppings and a somewhat rustic-looking base.

  8. Flour the surface very well, and roll the dough into a rough circle.  Seriously – use lots of flour, so the outside is quite dry.  This stops it from sticking to the stone and wasting perfectly good crispy bits.
  9. Carefully remove the stone from the oven and place on the surface near your prep area.  Place the dough onto the stone (centrally if possible!) and leave for a few seconds.  The stone will start to suck the moisture out of the dough, and it will start to crisp up (it may even bubble or blister on the surface from the sudden heat).  Fairly quickly, sling the tomato sauce and your toppings onto the base and put the stone back in the oven.  You may want to turn the oven down (or possibly even off) at this point.
  10. Keep a close eye on the pizza – the base should be thin, and it won’t take long at all to cook.  Serve at the table on the pizza stone for all to admire.

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