Although I rarely eat shop bought pizza and NEVER buy fake pre-made pizza from the freezer at the supermarket, I do enjoy the home-made variety. It’s so easy to make and bases can be pre-made and frozen for later use.
So why waste money on substandard pizza or bases that are full of junk and additives when you can do it yourself? Now there’s no excuse.
Earlier this week I baked a batch of bread (not too dissimilar to the last batch I made, so I won’t write about that). While I had the yeast and flour out, I suddenly found inspiration to prepare for a Friday night treat. Pizza bases. Par-cook ’em and bung ’em in the freezer for an easy after work Friday night dinner.
The bases are easy. Flour, water, salt and a little time and love. Today I used greedy Italian chef, Gennaro Contaldo‘s recipe as a guide. I also found a great video on Youtube (here) of the man himself and who’d not get passionate about pizza dough just watching Gennaro ooze over the beauty and ease of the making. It’s worth a look.
Anyhoo. Let’s get to the kitchen.
750g strong bread flour
2 tsp sea salt
3 level teaspoons dried yeast – approx 14 grams (I can’t buy fresh locally, so dried works)
about 500g lukewarm water
1 cup passata or tomato puree
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Mix all tomato topping ingredients together in a bowl and set aside, ready for use when the bases are in their trays.
But first things first … make the dough
Place the flour and salt into a large bowl and swish around to mix the salt through. Tip yeast into the water and stir a bit. Set aside in a warm place to let the yeast dissolve and froth up a bit – about 15 minutes.
Pour the yeasty water into the flour all at once. You want a moist, but not too wet, dough. Mix through with your hands or you could use your dough hook on a mixmaster.
Tip onto a clean, lightly floured surface and knead about five minutes to work the gluten through the dough. For a good kneading lesson, check out Gennaro’s technique on the YouTube video noted above.
Set aside in a warm place, covered with a warm tea towel (or as I’ve taken to doing, covered with an upturned bowl) to rise until about double in size.
Now preheat your oven to about 220C – non fan forced.
Turn out onto your clean, lightly floured surface again and break into four even pieces. Roll into balls and set aside on a tray to double in size again – about 20 minutes.
Now, I’m hopeless at flattening pizza dough with my bare hands so I cheat and use a rolling pin to get them nice and thin. I try to work from the centre, so I leave enough on the edges for crusty handle.
To partly cook and freeze for later use …
Remove from the oven and let cool completely before wrapping in cling film and popping into your freezer.
Alternatively, just keep adding your favourite toppings and cook to eat straight away.