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Easy Homemade Pizzas

Homemade pizzas are so much nicer than shop bought ones, and they’re much easier to make than you’d think! The dough comes together without any fancy equipment. It makes for a thin, crisp base with the perfect amount of chew. The sauce is even simpler to make. All you need are good-quality tinned tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and salt. Toppings wise, it’s entirely up to you!

  • Author: zenak
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Scale

For the dough:

  • 300 ml lukewarm water
  • 1 x 7g sachet active dried yeast
  • ½ tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • plain flour, for dusting

For the sauce:

  • 1 x 400g tin very good-quality crushed tomatoes or passata
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • a few fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

For the pizza:

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 250 g low moisture mozzarella, grated
  • your toppings of choice

Instructions

I recommend reading the notes below before you start cooking.

  • Whisk the water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl and let sit 5 minutes. It should get foamy, or at the very least, creamy. If it doesn’t, your yeast is dead and you’ll need to start again with fresher yeast.
  • Add the extra-virgin olive oil, salt and flour and mix until a shaggy dough forms.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead until smooth, springy and no longer sticky, around 10 minutes. Note: it’ll feel very sticky at first but as you knead it, it’ll become less and less sticky. If it’s still very sticky after the 5 minute mark, you can add a little more flour.
  • Place the dough in a lightly floured or oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to prove for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining the crushed tomatoes, minced garlic and finely chopped basil. Season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste, then cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to make your pizzas.
  • Punch down the dough to expel the air then turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead it for 1 minute to further deflate it.
  • Preheat your oven to 250°C/ fan 230°C. Divide the dough into 4 portions and roll each of them into a ball. Flour them lightly, cover with cling film and let sit 15 minutes. This allows the dough to relax, which makes rolling it out thinly much easier.
  • Using a floured rolling pin, roll each dough ball out into a rough circle, around ½ cm thick.
  • Tear off 4 pieces of foil, large enough to fit each pizza. Lightly grease each sheet with extra-olive oil then dust them lightly with flour.
  • Place the pizzas on the foils. Spread two heaped tablespoons of sauce onto the base of each pizza, spreading it out almost to the edges. Sprinkle the mozzarella and any other toppings of choice (remember to consider moisture content!).
  • Place the pizza on the base of your oven, either 1 or 2 at a time depending on the size of your oven. This is key to achieving a golden bottom! Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden and crisp and the cheese has melted. Bake the remaining pizzas, then serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • The sauce: there are two schools of thought when it comes to pizza sauce: precooked and uncooked. I’m team uncooked – it adds some much needed brightness and balance. The key here is using very good-quality tinned tomatoes, preferably of the San Marzano variety.
  • Toppings: you can get as creative as you want with your toppings, as long as you take moisture content into account. For example, I prefer the taste of fresh mozzarella but I use the low moisture variety for my homemade pizzas because the fresh stuff can get a little soggy and soupy, even when you drain it. The same applies to other toppings. If you want to add water-rich vegetables (e.g. courgette, peppers and mushrooms), I recommend pre-cooking them. I also recommend pre-cooking meats. The pizzas cook so fast that most meats won’t have time to cook through.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram, tagging @zenaskitchen. I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

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