Fresh stone baked pizza straight out of a fire oven of a proper Mediterranean restaurant is definitely in the Top10 list of my all time favourite foods. I consider myself a foodie with a rather "mature" pallet but I would trade any hot meal for a good pizza. I love it.
Pizza is perfect for anything. You can have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and as snack. You can serve it as starter in miniature versions, you can invite friends and have each single one of them have a different pizza of their liking without having to actually make several different dishes. You can even have sweet pizza ... oh yes I said sweet pizza. I will at some point write a separate post just about that topic but for now this is about the most basic of all pizza variations. It is the perfect crust for a simple tomato sauce.
At some point in my life I decided to learn how to make pizza myself simply because going to restaurants every time I wanted one is a bit excessive and because frozen pizza and take out pizza doesn't cut it for a pizza lover like I am. So here it is. A simple guide to a perfect pizza crust.
Basic Pizza Crust
- 350 g 2 ½ cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoon dry yeast
- 250 ml 1 cup lukewarm water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, combine bread flour, salt, sugar and create a well in the center. Add half the water and the yeast and let it sit for about 5minutes at room temperature. Add the remaining water and mix lightly with a fork until all is combined. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes.
- Of course you can use the help of kitchen appliances to knead the dough but I am slightly old fashioned when it comes to my pizza dough. Also I have been told numerous times that you get a better dough from kneading it by hand.
- When you can form it into a non sticky and soft ball that bounces back into shape when you push your finger against it it is done. Place the ball into a bowl, dust it lightly with flour and cover it with a kitchen towel. Leave the dough to rest in a warm spot until it doubles in size. This can be anywhere between 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to the max temperature setting that it has to offer. Don't worry it can not be too hot. Real pizza is baked in stone ovens over the heat of embers.
- Turn dough onto a well floured surface. Form it into two balls and roll out into pizza base shapes. Of course in a perfect world we all would have fire ovens in the backyard or at least pizza stones but I have been baking my pizza since years in pizza pans. It worked brilliantly for me so far. The trick is to lightly grease them with oil which ensures the dough won't stick and remains crispy.
- Cover the pizza with your favourite sauce and toppings and bake in preheated oven about 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden brown on the edges. The time greatly depends on the maximum temperature setting that your oven allows.