Delia

Basic Pizza Dough

Pizza dough is made in almost the same way as white bread – by hand or using a food processor, except that you add olive oil and a little sugar to the flour mixture and there isn't a second rising. You might consider making double the quantity and freezing half to make another pizza at a later stage.

Just pop the dough, after knocking out the air, into a polythene bag, seal and freeze.


Makes a 10 inch (25.5 cm) base pizza – serves 2

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One and Delia's Complete How To Cook

Basic Pizza Dough
Ingredients
 6 oz (175 g) plain white soft flour
 1 level teaspoon salt
 1 level teaspoon easy-blend dried yeast
 ½ level teaspoon golden caster sugar
 1 tablespoon olive oil
To roll out:
 2-3 level tablespoons polenta (cornmeal)
 Pre-heat the oven to its lowest setting.
Equipment
You will also need a pizza stone or solid baking sheet measuring 14 x 11 inches (35 x 28 cm).

Method

Begin by warming the flour slightly in the oven for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven off.

Sift the flour, salt, yeast and sugar into a bowl and make a well in the centre of the mixture, then add the olive oil and pour in 4 fl oz (120 ml) hand-hot water water. Now mix to a dough, starting off with a wooden spoon and using your hands in the final stages of mixing. Wipe the bowl clean with the dough, adding a spot more water if there are any dry bits left, and transfer it to a flat work surface (there shouldn't be any need to flour this).

Knead the dough for 3 minutes or until it develops a sheen and blisters under the surface (it should also be springy and elastic). You can now either leave the dough on the surface covered by the upturned bowl or transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover it with clingfilm that has been lightly oiled on the side that is facing the dough. Leave it until it looks as though it has doubled in bulk, which will be about an hour at room temperature.

Having made the dough and left it to rise, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 8, 450°F (230°C), along with the pizza stone or baking sheet.

The next stage is to tip the dough back on to a work surface that has been sprinkled generously with polenta to prevent it from sticking. Knock all the air out of the dough and knead it for a couple of seconds to begin shaping it into a ball. Then dust your rolling pin with polenta and roll the dough out to a circle that is approximately 10 inches (25.5 cm) in diameter. Then finish stretching it out with your hands, working from the centre and using the flat of your fingers to push the dough out; it doesn't need to be a perfect round, but you want it to be a fairly thin-based pizza, with slightly raised edges.

Using a thick oven glove, very carefully lift the baking sheet or pizza stone out of the oven and sprinkle it with polenta. Now carefully lift the pizza on to the stone or baking sheet and cover with one of the toppings below.

Bake the pizza on a high shelf for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

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