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Basic pizza dough

Basic pizza dough

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(4 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins plus rising (no cook)

Easy

Makes 4 pizzas
A simple, versatile, Italian-style dough that can be chilled or frozen to store, then shaped and cooked by oven or barbecue

Nutrition and extra info

  • uncooked

Nutrition

  • kcalories-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
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Ingredients

  • 500g '00' flour or plain flour, plus extra for dusting

    Flour

    fl-ow-er

    Flour is a powdery ingredient usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As…

  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dried yeast (not fast-action)

    Yeast

    yee-st

    Yeast is a living, single-cell organism. As the yeast grows, it converts its food (in the form…

  • 400ml warm water
  • oil, for greasing

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Method

  1. It’s easiest to make this in a standing mixer with a dough hook (otherwise mix it in a bowl and knead on your work surface). Put the flour and salt in the bowl and mix the yeast into the water. It’s always a good idea to wait 5 mins before using the liquid to see if the yeast is working – little bits will start to rise to the top and you’ll know it’s active.

  2. Turn on the motor and pour in the liquid. Keep the speed on medium-high and it should come together as a ball. If the bottom is still sticking, tip in 1-2 tbsp of flour. Knead for 5-7 mins until the dough is shiny and it springs back when you press your finger into it. (If kneading by hand, it will take you about 10 mins.) Try not to add too much flour if you can. This is a slightly sticky dough, but that keeps it light and it rises beautifully.

  3. Use oiled hands to remove the dough from the hook and bowl. Oil another bowl and place the dough in it. Turn it around so that it’s lightly coated in the oil. Cover tightly with cling film and then a tea towel. Place in a draught-free area that’s warm and leave until the dough has doubled in size. If it’s a hot day, it should only take 2 hrs to rise, but it could take 4 hrs if it’s cold. (If you don’t plan to use the dough for a day or two, place it in the fridge straight away; take it out 3-4 hrs before using. Punch it down first and bring it together on a floured surface.)

  4. Divide the dough into 2 pieces for big pizzas or 4 for plate-sized ones, then shape into balls (see Shaping the dough in tips, belowt) – dust them in flour as they will be sticky. Keep them covered with a tea towel or cling film while you prepare the toppings. (you can also freeze them in sealed bags. just thaw in the fridge on the day, then bring to room temperature 3 hrs before using.)

  5. To shape the dough: If you want to get air pockets and a light but crisp dough, then don’t use a rolling pin. It flattens and pops the air bubbles. (Two days in the fridge will produce the most air bubbles – take it out three to four hours before using.) If your dough is at room temperature, you can use your fingers to gently stretch the dough out. Once it’s about 16cm, place the disc over the tops of your hands (not palm side) and use them to stretch it further, up to about 25cm. You can start pressing out the other discs, then wait to do the final bit when you’re ready to cook. Once you’ve mastered stretching the dough out, you can experiment with other shapes: rectangles, rounds or squares all look authentic.

  6. To cook the pizza: An outdoor gas barbecue is best for controlling the temperature, but charcoal will give your pizza a more authentic, smoky flavour. For gas, turn the flames down to medium-low so that the bottom of the pizza doesn't burn. When cooking on a charcoal barbecue, let the coals turn grey before you pop on the pizza.

  7. Place the pizza on a floured baking sheet (with no edge) or a pizza peel – this is a flat pizza paddle with a long handle, which makes it easier to get the dough on and off the grill. The flour will provide the 'wheels' for it to slide onto the grill – don’t use oil as it sticks more and won’t transfer as well.

  8. Make sure the grill is hot and the flames have died back if cooking on charcoal. Slide the dough onto the grill, close the lid (if your barbecue has one) and give it three to four minutes. The dough will puff up; it's ready when the bottom has light brown stripes. Use tongs to pull the dough off and turn it upside down.

  9. Assemble the pizza of your choice – see 'Goes well with', right, for topping suggestions. Remember that less is more, as the dough will stay crisper and the toppings will cook better.

  10. Place the pizza back on the grill, uncooked-side down, and shut the lid. Give it another three to four minutes, then remove when the cheese is melted and the toppings are hot.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (3)

gsygirl's picture
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I've made this once and it was a complete hit with us. The only thing I would say is that the dough is VERY wet. And I know that the recipe says it will be, but I ended up adding a lot more flour because it was so wet. Although the husband, who makes a lot of bread himself, thinks that I need to work the dough more.

But overall the result was good, so I'll be using the recipe again.

chr1s1's picture

Perhaps consider kneading the dough on an oiled surface, this always seem to make sticky dough more manageable for me. I've just made this dough without any problems so far. I think your chap is right, it needs more working. I usually work dough for at least 15 mins by hand (so Gran always said). I think the 5 mins in the recipe would be a better timing for a machine with dough hook.

cazoo1968's picture
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First tried making this the day before and leaving in the fridge as advised - did not rise one bit - was brick like ! SO tried again this time doing all by hand (instead of stand mixer) - the dough was extremely sticky and hard to work with - it was difficult not to keep adding flour. That said when eventually managed to get into some sort of shape for a pizza - and cooked it - it was pretty darn good !!!

Questions (4)

fat-king-melon's picture

Please tell me why it isn't ok to use fast-action yeast for this one?

goodfoodteam's picture

You can use fast action yeast however the amount will be slighly different. Sorry for any confusion, thanks.

paulcalf's picture

it absolutely is ok.

fat-king-melon's picture

Thanks I'll try making and freezing the dough.
Bought some frozen dough from Waitrose last week - Northern Dough I think it was called. It worked really well.

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