Makes: 6 x 9″-10″ pizzas
Prep time: 25 minutes plus 24 hours of almost nothing
Cooking time: 2-6 minutes depending on your oven
I was lucky enough to be bought a chimnea for my birthday. It features a removable grill plate that will happily seat a pizza stone, so a quick trip to ebay has seen stone baked pizza arrive in our lockdown home.After an obsessive amount of research, a couple of test runs and a comparison against a seriously good recipe from a legendary baker , I am happy to share my recipe. It’s true to the style of Naples with just four ingredients (though less rigid in specifying where they are produced) . My results have consistently had a thin and crisp base with a light, soft and flavourful crust. Allowing this dough to develop flavour makes all the difference, I tried this recipe without the overnight autolyse and it just isn’t nearly as good. If you want a quicker recipe you won’t be disappointed with Clive Mellum’s or actually with any of his recipes.The slight weakening of the gluten structure that the overnight autolyse can cause is no problem with good strong flour so there’s no need to add more flour the next day.Often recipes for Italian style pizza dough recommend 00 flour. Just be aware in Italy there are two types of 00 flour one for pasta and one for bread sometimes the one for bread is also called 000. If in doubt an good strong flour works fine. I have tested this recipe with 4 different strong flours with no problems.You will need:500g strong white flour350g water7g dried yeast10g saltSemolina for dusting my preference is gilchesters organic it really is betterPizza sauce, – recipe to follow soon. Basically lots of garlic some oil onion and pasatta.MozzarellaAny other toppings you feel like just try not to overload the pizza.
In a large bowl mix the flour, yeast and water until combined and there is no dry flour.Bring together into a ball and cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.The next day at least one hour (two is better) before you want to use the dough, but bring it out of the fridge. It should have risen and be sticky and wobbly and smell a little boozey.Scrape the dough into a bench mixer and add the salt and mix on a medium speed for about 10 minutes. You should have a sticky and stretchy dough.Cover again and either refrigerate until and hour before you want to start cooking or crack on with the last few steps.Flour a board and your hands and then scrape the dough onto the board and scale into 6 roughly even lumps. If you want accuracy use scales and divide it into 140g balls.Handling the dough with a light touch tuck the corners under each lump and tidy them into neat balls. Roll each ball in flour and cover with a sheet of cling film to stop them drying out.Light a fire in your pizza oven or turn your oven up to maximum and pop a pizza stone in now.At this point you can freeze the balls for later use and just pull out of the freezer about 2 hours before you want to eat and allow the dough to prove. If you are working with the fresh dough approx 45 minutes of proving should see the balls rising.Time to make pizza!Have your toppings and sauce to hand and prepare a pizza peel (or upside down baking sheet) with a liberal sprinkle of polenta or semolina.To stretch the dough dip your hands in flour and pick up a dough ball. Roll it again in flour and then with your palm slightly flatten the ball. Using your knuckles being firm but gentle press a divot into the disc of dough. Dip your hands in flour again if needed and then lift the disc of dough onto the back of your hands. Slowly(go as fast as you like once you are used to it) rotate the dough while gently splaying your fingers to stretch out your base.Place your pizza base on the peel and working quickly (added moisture from sauce and toppings will make the dough soggy if left) add sauce, cheese and toppings.Bake.From experimenting. @300°C this dough cooks in just under 3 minutes. In the chimnea they take more like 6. I’ve honestly not tried cooking these indoors yet. It’s just more fun outdoors. Hopefully you’ll agree the dough was worth the wait.