This is a really simple method for pizza dough and a great place to start if you’ve never made your own bread before. If you can find semolina flour, it gives the dough an authentic flavor and texture. But if you can’t find it, bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour will also work. This dough recipe makes enough for 8 individual pizzas so freeze it for another time.
JAMIE'S TOP TIP
?Any leftover dough can be frozen ready for the next round of pizzas. Just make sure you move the dough from the freezer into the fridge the night before you want to use it, or leave it out at room temperature for about 4 hours – enough time to defrost the dough and let it rise.
?My Classic tomato sauce is so simple you can make it while you are letting the dough rise, or you can make a big batch ahead of time and store it in small containers in the freezer, ready to use when you need it.
?If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven before you preheat the oven. Top one pizza at a time and, using the bottom of a baking sheet, slide it onto the stone.
?Timing-wise it’s nice to roll the pizzas out 15 to 30 minutes before you start to cook them. If you want to work further in advance, it’s better to keep the dough wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge rather than having rolled-out pizzas hanging around for a few hours.
Making The Dough
?Pile the flour and salt on to a clean surface and make a 7-inch well in the center. Add your yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water, mix up with a fork and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well.
?Using a fork and a circular movement, slowly bring in the flour from the inner edge of the well and mix into the water. It will look like thick oatmeal – continue to mix, bringing in all the flour. When the dough comes together and becomes too hard to mix with your fork, flour your hands and begin to pat it into a ball.
?Knead the dough by rolling it backward and forward, using your left hand to stretch the dough toward you and your right hand to push the dough away from you at the same time. Repeat this for 10 minutes, until you have a smooth, springy, soft dough.
?Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let double in size for about 45 minutes.
Making The Sauce
?Pick the basil leaves, keeping any smaller ones to one side for later. Peel and finely chop the onion and the garlic. Finely slice the chile.
?Next, heat a large frying pan on a medium heat and add a lug of olive oil. Add your onion to the frying pan and stir for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly golden.
?Then add your garlic and chile, and as soon as they start to get some color add the large basil leaves. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook for another 15 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Set aside until ready to use. You’ll have extra so freeze the rest or use on pasta or fish another night.
Making The Pizza
?Punch the dough down and divide in half. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and freeze for another batch (see Jamie’s tips above). With the other half, divide the dough into 4 balls. Flour and cover each ball with plastic wrap, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to roll it thinly.
?Take a piece of the dough, dust your surface and the dough with a little flour or semolina, and roll it out into a rough circle about 1/4 inch thick. Tear off an appropriately sized piece of aluminum foil, rub it with olive oil, dust it well with flour or semolina, and place the pizza base on top. Continue doing the same with the other pieces and then, if you dust them with a little flour, you can pile them up into a stack, cover them with plastic wrap, and put them in the fridge (or freeze any bases for another time with a layer of plastic wrap between them).
?When you’re ready to cook them, preheat your oven to 500°F.
?Put two of the rolled-out dough rounds onto each of two oiled baking sheets. At this stage you can apply your topping. Spread ¼ cup of the sauce over each piece of dough and spread it out to the edges. Tear up the slices of cheese and scatter them over the sauce. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the pizzas are golden and crispy.
Serving suggestions: Delicious served with a nice green salad, such as the Caesar on the lighter side or the Garden salad with buttermilk dressing.
Tips from the dietitian: Making your own pizza allows you to control the fat, calories and sodium in your meal. For a whole grain twist, make your dough with at least ½ whole wheat flour-you’ll most likely need to add more water. Instead of a traditional pepperoni and sausage pizza that will clog your arteries, color your pizza with fresh veggies such as red, yellow, orange and green peppers; fresh tomatoes and basil; or mushrooms and red onions.
For the dough
4 ¼ cups white bread flour or 2 ¼ cups white bread flour and 2 cups semolina flour
1¼ teaspoons fine sea salt ¼ oz. envelope active dried yeast
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1¾ cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons olive oil, for greasing the bowl and the pan
For the classic sauce (Makes 3 cups)
A small bunch of fresh basil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 small cloves garlic
1 serrano or jalapeno chile (minus the seeds if you like less heat; optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
28-ounce can diced tomatoes
Topping (for 4 pizzas):
1 cup Classic tomato sauce, whizzed in a blender
6 ounces sliced fresh mozzarella cheese