This is a really simple method for pizza dough and a great place to start if you've never made your own bread before. If you can find semolina flour, it gives the dough an authentic flavour and texture. But if you can't find it, strong white bread flour will also work.
Nutritional Information (amount per serving)
For The Dough
For The Tomato Sauce
For The Topping
MethodTo make the dough:
1. Pile the flour and salt on to a clean surface and make an 18cm well in the centre. Add your yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water, mix up with a fork and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well.
2. Using a fork and a circular movement, slowly bring in the flour from the inner edge of the well and mix into the water. It will look like thick porridge. Continue to mix, bringing in all the flour. When the dough comes together and becomes too hard to mix with your fork, flour your hands and begin to pat it into a ball.
3. Knead the dough by rolling it backward and forward, using your left hand to stretch the dough toward you and your right hand to push the dough away from you at the same time. Repeat this for 10 minutes, until you have a smooth, springy, soft dough.
4. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let double in size for about 45 minutes.
To make the sauce:
5. Peel and finely slice the garlic. Pick the basil leaves and discard the stalks. Heat a saucepan on a medium-low heat and add a splash of olive oil and the garlic. Cook gently until the garlic starts to turn golden, then add most of the basil leaves, the tomatoes, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook gently for around 20 minutes, or until smooth, mashing the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
6. When done, have a little taste, and season again if needed.
To make the pizza:
7. Divide the dough in two. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and freeze for another batch (see Jamie's tips above). With the other half, divide the dough into 4 balls. Flour and cover each ball with plastic wrap, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to roll it thinly.
8. Take a piece of the dough, dust your surface and the dough with a little flour or semolina, and roll it out into a rough circle about 0.5cm thick. Tear off an appropriately sized piece of tin foil, rub it with olive oil, dust it well with flour or semolina and place the pizza base on top. Continue doing the same with the other pieces and then, if you dust them with a little flour, you can pile them up into a stack, cover them with cling film and put them in the fridge
9. When you're ready to cook them, preheat your oven to 250°C/500°F/gas 9.
10. Put two of the rolled-out dough rounds onto each of two oiled baking sheets. At this stage you can apply your topping. Smear the tomato sauce over the base of your pizzas and spread it out to the edges. Tear over the mozzarella and scatter with the remaining basil leaves. Drizzle with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper. If you can, cook the pizzas on a piece of granite in your conventional oven – if not, do them one by one on pieces of tin foil directly on the bars of the oven shelf, towards the bottom of the oven (If you're going to cook your pizzas on the bars of the oven, make sure they're not too big – otherwise they'll be difficult to manoeuvre). Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the pizzas are golden and crispy.
When it comes to topping a pizza, the only thing you need to remember is: less is more. Keep your combinations simple and don't overload it with toppings so it has a chance to cook through. Try adding your favourite cold meats like Parma ham or salami, or slice up things like mushrooms, olives, courgettes or cooked potatoes and add them. You can also use leftovers – shredded roast pork or chicken would both work well. Have a play and find your favourite combos. Serve with a lovely green salad.
Here are some of my favourite topping ideas:
Mozzarella, anchovies, chilli, capers and parsley
Smoked pancetta, mozzarella, fresh chilli and tomatoes
Egg, prosciutto, artichokes, olives, mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil
Green and red grapes, rosemary, pine nuts and ricotta
Potatoes, mozzarella, rosemary, thyme and tomatoes
Slow-roasted shredded pork with thyme, Taleggio and lemon-dressed rocket
Spicy salami, courgette, basil, tomato and mozzarella