Pizza – Overview

No spinning of disks of dough in this household (ceilings too low). But then again, no pizza stones either.

Do you know where you can buy a good pizza? Because I don’t. Pizzas baked in wood-fired ovens have finally arrived in North Wales but people seem to think it’s the oven that’s the important element and not the dough or the topping. I’m not bragging, but I can make a better pizza than any commercial pizza I have ever had even though it might take me 15 minutes in a convection oven without stones or baking steels. I’ve tried all sorts of methods, including a preheated stone, but a hot oven, 250C, using aluminium pizza tins is as good as anything else.

I use two pizza doughs, one I adapted from Carol Field’s The Italian Baker years ago (Pizza Dough 1), all yeast and cup measurements with a good slug of olive oil, and one adapted from The Cheese Board Collective Works, a very different dough at 80% hydration (Pizza Dough 2). The tuna pizzas below are Pizza Dough 1:

After fermentation I scale both doughs at 200g, give them an air fold and plonk them on oiled pizza tins and stretch and press out from the centre with my fingers. The first stretch and press takes them about half way, I cover and rest them then press them right out leaving a raised rim. They prove for about an hour.

A thinnish layer of tomato sauce, about one and a half tablespoons:

A layer of tinned tuna. Legs, the bakery cat, will kill for tuna water. So we have to buy tuna in spring water, drain it while the cat’s biting your ankle, and then add olive oil so it’s not too dry.

A scattering of bottled roast artichoke, olives, capers and goat cheese.

No egg for Sue. I always ask if she wants one, she always says I’ll see what it looks like when it’s baked, and usually declines. If you’re going the egg route, make a depression in the centre of the pizza a few minutes before it’s ready and crack the egg into the depression. In the early days I made a single pizza for us and a couple of friends. Cracked four eggs onto the pizza, they all ran to the centre to form a small lake. Twenty minutes later they were still liquid. Yuk.

Finally, and I’m in big trouble if I forget, when they come out of the oven, brush garlic oil around the pizza rims. Looks good and the immediate, delicious smell of garlic is fantastically appetising.

Even more finally, how about this for a car crash:

If you are using a peel use a wooden one and sprinkle it with semolina …