My pizza making skills have evolved in the right direction over the years. Luckily !
I was in my teens, about 30 something years ago, that I got into making pizzas. They where very tasty as far as I can remember...... but oh so soggy.
I now know that my tomato sauce was too wet and ... I put too much of it on the base.
Still, I try to cram an awful lot on my pizza, because that's the way I like it (and Bert never complained) but I try to keep the ingredients as close to Italian-ish as possible concerning flavours.
Also, my base will always be rather thick (almost bread like)-it's a matter of taste - is it not ?
How do I avoid a soggy base ?
- Set your oven on the highest setting (mine is 250°C) and forget about the fan. The base will crisp up better with the heat from the bottom element.
- Use a dark (black !) coloured baking tray, it will atract the heat better. Any grey or lighter colour won't work as well.
- Roll out the dough and spread onto the tray only just before you add your toppings.
- Only add the toppings just before the pizza is about to go into the oven. If you leave it sitting around it will be soggy.
So now over to the recipe.
For the base
Ingredients (that is for 2 (yes, two) oven trays)
- 1 kg plain white flour
- 20 grs fast acting dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Cold water (quantity depending on the moisture level in the flour)
- In the bowl of your food processor (haha ! if you don't have one, you'll have to knead by hand. I however, use my trusty old Kenwood) mix the flower and yeast together.
- Put the salt and sugar near the edge of the bowl and add the oil. Pour in some water.
- Start the food processer with the bread hook. Add more water as you go, until all the flour has been incorporated. You need the consistency of bread dough.
- Keep on kneading till you get a pliable elastic dough.
- Set aside, covered with a (clean) tea towel.
- Leave to proof until the dough has doubled in size.
- Get your baking trays ready. Dust with flour.
- Divide dough into however many portions you need. I divide in 2.
- Roll out on a floured surface and stretch onto the tray.
- Green olive tapenade (recipe here)
- 1 tin of peeled tomatoes (430 gr)
- 1 small tin tomato concentrate (140 gr)
- Dried oregano and basil, pinch of salt and pinch of sugar
- 400 gr grated cheese (I use gouda, but cheddar is ok to use, pecorino is better still, if you don't have to watch the pennies)
- Smoked dry cured ham (thinly sliced), sliced peperoni or chorizo (didn't I say, Italian-ish ?) enough to spread out later over the pizza.
- Onions peeled and sliced
- pepper red or mixed colours,sliced
- Mozzarella, broken into pieces
- Blend tomatoes and tomato concentrate in a jug or bowl with a handheld blender (or any other blender actualy). Add oregano, basil, salt and sugar.
- Spread some of the tapenade over the pizza base.
- On top of that tomato mix.
- Then sprinkle with as much grated cheese as you fancy.
- Layer the cured meats, onions and peppers to your heart's content.
- Finish off with the mozzarella.
- Bake in your really hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and let the pizza rest for 5/7 minutes to help it set.
- Slice and overindulge.
Do you like blue cheese ? Well you can crumble that on top and all.
Thumbs up from my brother.
Did you notice the scissors in the last photo ? Yeah, that's right. That's how pizza is cut in our house. ;-)