I have been making pizza for years; when I first started, the dough was always too tough or too soft and very thick - basically nightmare pizzas.
As I became more experienced, I realised that you need to follow the recipe, when it comes to measurements and proving times. Also, base you cook on needs to be very shallow to avoid a soft underside.
I had perfected the consistency and the crispness, but until recently, one thing has always stumped me - the thickness. I managed to make a fairly thin pizza but found it hard to roll the dough as thin as I wanted. What to do.....
My partner loves takeaway pizza and always measures my homemade creations up to them; I'll be honest, until recently the takeaway has won by a country mile; "But darling, the takeaway pizza is always thin and crispy - yours is more like a ciabatta bread". I'm a very stubborn person an refused to be beaten by the big corporation. It's not only my pride, though, it costs a small fortune now to get takeaway pizza; I object to buying something that I could make for a fraction of the cost, and with much better ingredients.
So the only thing stopping my partner from converting to homemade is thin and crispy. I started thinking about how they make them in pizzerias: they pull the dough apart then spin it around. After an aborted attempt at pizza spinning, I decided to just stick to pulling the dough which gave me a very thin base...finally after all this time!
I put the proven dough on the shelf, started from pulling from the middle and worked my way to the edge, quickly spread the tomato sauce and chucked chorizo on, then cremated for about ten mins, brought out, gently loosened from the shelf then added chunks of mozzarella - I add the mozzarella last because I find if I add it at the same time the pizza becomes a little bit liquidy - not sure why. I like to give the tomato sauce and the other non cheese toppings a chance to crisp up. I also don't like over cooked mozzarella. I prefer it either raw or slightly melted.
The tomato sauce is very simple; 1 onion, can tomatoes, garlic, olive oil. Cook until it has reduced in volume, allow to cool then pulse until smooth- for me, the tomato sauce should always be thick and smooth otherwise the base will be too soft
This pizza also has a stuffed crust of extra mozzarella, oh yes, you heard right - stuffed crust is the way forward!
When my partner tried the pizza, he said it was just as crispy a base as Dominos and tasted better, and believe you me, he is a very fussy eater, who doesn't mince his words. Yay for me!
Makes two medium or one monster size pizza....
500 grams strong white flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
300 ml water
2 tbsp olive oil
Chorizo (as much as you like - go crazy)
Mozzarella (about 2 packs - get fresh not that weird grated stuff that looks like Cheddar!)
1 can tomatoes
Chop the onion and gently fry in olive oil until softened. Add the garlic, then the tomatoes, a pinch of salt and sugar and reduce to a very low heat until the sauce is reduced by about a third. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
Heat the water, sugar and olive oil until it just reaches boiling point, allow to cool until slight cooler than hand hot. Mix in the yeast and set aside until foaming,as per the picture below.
Sift the flour and salt and pour the yeast mixture in.
Form a dough and knead for approx 15 mins until elasticy and smooth. Cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.
Knock the dough back,knead for a couple of mins then place on an oven shelf. Starting from the middle, gently pull the dough. Repeat, working your way out. Make sure you don't pull too much to avoid tearing ( if this happens, fold over the broken dough and start pulling again. I got it this thin.
Who needs takeaway pizza!