It’s really easy to make your own pizza dough, especially if you use an electric
mixer to mix and knead the dough. The secret to a good pizza is to roll the
dough out as thinly as possible and to cook your pizzas in a very hot oven.
If you haven’t got an outdoor pizza oven, get your oven as hot as you can;
I also recommend dry-frying the pizza bases before topping and baking them
to help give you a crisper base, as described below.
Makes 4 bases
500g strong white bread flour
60g sourdough starter
7g fine salt
5g fast-action dried yeast
20g caster sugar
30ml olive oil, plus extra for oiling
1. Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix together, using one hand or a
wooden spoon, to combine the mixture until you have a soft dough that comes
together as a ball. Tip the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead
well for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Alternatively, use an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook to mix and knead the dough, allowing 2 minutes on a slow speed and 7 minutes on medium.
2. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a large plastic bag and leave to
rise for at least 2 hours, ideally 3–4 hours if you have time.
3. Tip your risen pizza dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into
four 200g pieces. Flatten down each piece then fold it over and place in a cage
formed by your cupped hand on the work surface. Move your hand in a circular motion to roll each ball lightly but firmly into a smooth, taut ball. Leave the balls to rest on the floured surface covered with a roomy plastic bag, to prevent them from drying and cracking, for about 30 minutes.
4. Roll out and stretch each ball of dough on a lightly floured surface to a thin
circle, 25–30cm in diameter.
5. If you are using an outdoor pizza oven, you can top the bases now with your
chosen ingredients and bake them in the intense heat for 1–1ó minutes.
6. To dry-fry pizza bases If you are using the oven in your home kitchen, I suggest dry-frying the bases before topping and baking them. Heat up a large frying pan over a high heat, then place one of the dough rounds in the pan and cook for 1 minute on each side so it takes on some colour. Transfer to a plate and repeat to dry-fry the other pizza bases. Pile them on top of one another to keep them soft as you cook the rest. The dry-fried bases can be frozen, if required.
Taken from Paul Hollywood’s BAKE, published by Bloomsbury
Photograph © Haarala Hamilton