Early on in Chew Town’s history, I posted my family’s fail-safe pizza dough recipe. It made sense to share the recipe on the blog at the time as it was a key recipe that contributed to my Italian heritage and was loved by the whole family (including aunties, cousins, second cousins, cousins of cousins… you get the idea).
Three years on and I think it is time for a recipe refresh. First reason being, I think it was probably only my family that actually read the blog back then anyway so it was more of a recipe card post that meant we could all have it easily to hand when we needed it. Second reason? my goodness, my photos really weren’t very good back then!
This is a recipe that has given a number of my friends (and their children) lots of pizza joy over the years, so with a few more “mid-recipe” pics in this post to show you the different dough stages, I am happy to bring this recipe back for a second time. Also, to make it more well-rounded, this time I’m sharing a few of our favourite pizza topping ideas for you to try – including the one pictured above for zucchini flower and fior di latte pizza.
A quote from the last post about why I love making homemade pizzas for friends:
I’ll make the dough and pizza sauce during the day and par bake them in the oven ready for toppings and Scotty’s final cook on the BBQ pizza stone at night. It means little to no faffing about in the kitchen while guests are in the house and more time to chat and drink wine!
Homemade pizzas are definitely the most requested dinner when I have guests coming over. It is also a fun way to involve your guests, as inevitably you will all find yourselves hanging out in the kitchen adding toppings, customising pizzas and talking about life. Making pizzas is the ultimate ice breaker.
Below the pizza dough recipe, you’ll find four of our all-time favourite pizza toppings. Why not leave a comment with your favourite pizza topping. I’d love to try out some of your favourites no matter how weird or wonderful!
Homemade Pizza Dough
Makes 5 – 6 pizza bases
1 Kg plain flour
1 tbsp yeast granules*
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp bread improver*
650ml water at room temp
1 tbsp olive oil
Mix all dried ingredients together in a large bowl. Add half of the water to the dry ingredients and then mix, slowly adding the remaining water whilst mixing. When all mixed together the ingredients should come together in a ball at this point transfer to a floured bench top.
Add the olive oil to the ball of dough and knead it in. If necessary, add extra flour if it becomes too sticky and continue working dough. The kneading is extremely important as it is a necessary technique to ensure the dough will rise and be fluffy. You want to kneed the dough till the texture is smooth and elastic (about 8 – 10 minutes). For a good video on the correct way to knead dough, try this video from epicurious.
Once the dough is smooth and elastic return it to the bowl, cover it with glad wrap and then a tea towel and keep warm (I like to wrap the whole thing in a woollen blanket) until the mixture doubles in size – this can take 1 – 2.5 hours depending on the weather).
When risen, knock the dough back roughly in the bowl and then take it out knead it quickly and make it into 5 or 6 balls. Place all dough balls back in the bowl, cover it and leave it to rise again for about 30 mins. After which you can roll out the individual balls into pizza bases (another great video here for rolling out pizza dough).
You can then add a generous serve of pizza sauce. Pizza sauce is basically a thick pasta sauce which means more of the water has been cooked out of the tomatoes. Try my pasta sauce listed as step one of the Pasta al forno post – and cook it uncovered for a little longer till more water has evaporated and the sauce is thickener and more concentrated.
After you have added the sauce… go mad with your favourite pizza toppings and cook in the oven until the base has darkened and the toppings are cooked.
*Yeast granules and bread improver can be found at any of the big supermarkets in Australia, but if you are having trouble finding them, also try a health food store.
Favourite Pizza Toppings
Below are four of my favourite pizza toppings. With all of them, you will notice that they are really only 3-4 ingredients on each. This really is the key to a great pizza – a few top quality ingredients makes all the difference. The other most important thing to get right is choosing the best cheese for the toppings. Too sharp a cheese and milder ingredients will be lost. This is why for the zucchini flower pizza we use a very mild fior di latte cheese, and for the prosciutto pizza use a sharper parmigiano-reggiano (parmesan) cheese. Why not try one of our favourites below, or experiment and see what you can come up with.
Zucchini Flower and Fior Di Latte Pizza
Top pizza base with tomato sauce. Tear the petals off 4 zucchini flowers and set aside. Slice the small zucchinis into rounds and scatter on the pizza. Add the zucchini flower petals and top with torn fior di latte cheese (or buffalo mozzarella). Season with salt and pepper. Cook till base is golden and serve.
Potato and Italian Sausage Pizza
Par boil potatoes till soft then thinly slice and set aside. Add oil to a plain pizza base. Top with thinly sliced potato. Break apart one or two italian sausages, removing the meat from the casing and scatter chunks over the pizza, then top with mozzarella cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook till base is golden and serve.
Prosciutto and Rocket Pizza
Top pizza base with tomato sauce. Tear very thinly sliced prosciutto and scatter it over the base. Top with roughly torn fresh basil and grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese. Season with salt and pepper and cook till base is golden. Remove from oven and top with a handful of wild rocket. serve.
Oregano and Dried Italian Sausage Pizza
Top pizza base with tomato sauce. Scatter over fresh oregano and dried cacciatore sausage (I used a squid ink sausage in the photos which is why the sausage looks so dark). Then top with bocconcini slices and season with salt and pepper. Cook till base is golden and serve.