How to make perfect pizza
You can use this recipe to make 3 regular pizzas, or, as we have done here, 25-30 beautiful pizza canapés.
To get the perfect pizza, you ideally need a pizza oven. However, if you don’t have your very own pizza igloo, fret not, because the universe has given us pizza stones, which transform regular ovens into perfect pizza incubators.
A perfect pizza oven is very hot and works by rolling hot air over the top of the pizza, while the heated bricks underneath seal and crisp the base – a pizza stone allows you to do the same (crispy bases, tip top).
All you need to do is switch on your oven to its highest setting about an hour before you want to bake your pizzas (if your oven has a fan option, switch this on too) and place your stone into the oven. When your pizza dough and toppings are ready, pop them onto the hot pizza stone and bake. Hey presto.
(TIP: an unglazed ceramic tile can be used as a pizza stone, the one pictured is available on Yuppiechef.)
Ingredients for your pizza dough:
375g doppio zero* or cake flour
200ml water, at room temperature
60ml extra virgin olive oil
10g dry yeast
*About doppio zero: In Italy flour is graded as 1, 0 or 00. Tipo 00 flour is known as doppio zero flour. The 00 has nothing to do with James Bond. Very finely ground and high in protein, Italian chefs swear by it but it’s fairly hard to find in South Africa and when you do it is a bit more pricey. You can use cake flour as an alternative.
Ingredients for the toppings:
You can choose any toppings that take your fancy but we recommend you use a good quality tomato paste as the base and, for the cheese, try Mozzarella or Bocconcini.
Other winning toppings include: Proscuito, vine ripened tomatoes, fresh asparagus, fried mushrooms, basil and wild rocket.
For a different take, cut out the tomato paste and cheese and go for cream cheese, smoked salmon and dill.
1. Place all the ingredients, except for the salt, into your food processor or stand mixer. Using the dough-hook attachment, mix on the lowest setting for 3 minutes, then add the salt and mix on the second setting for a further 3 minutes.
2. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and then work it into a rough rectangular shape with your fingertips, stretching and dimpling the dough as you go as this helps to create air pockets. Fold one third of the dough onto itself, dimple some more, then fold the other third. Leave the dough to rest for 20 minutes at room temperature, under a tea towel.
3. Flour your work surface and roll out the dough thinly. Use a 5cm round cookie cutter to punch out little rounds, place these on a baking tray and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours, but less than 8.
Note: You can use your dough immediately but refrigerating for 4-8 hours will let the gluten ripen and relax and will lead to a less sticky, more stretchy dough.
4. Remove your little pizza rounds from the fridge. Work each round from the centre out with your fingers to stretch the dough a bit. Fork your bases a little to prevent them from puffing up.
5. Add your toppings and bake the mini pizzas in batches, depending on the thickness of the dough, for about 7-10 minutes each.
For toppings that you do not want to cook, such as smoked salmon or rocket leaves, just bake the bases and add the toppings before serving.
And there you have it. Perfect Pizza. What are your winning pizza tips, tricks and toppings?