UK BBQ Mag Autumn 2016 - Page 58

Once you have your dough balls. Pop them into an airtight container and let them triple in size. Leave enough space between them so they don't mingle into one massive blob. This usually takes around an hour at 20˚C or so. Now they're ready to make into bases. If you don't want to use them just yet, pop them in the fridge to stop them rising excessively. This will slow down the yeast.

STRETCHING

For Neapolitan style pizza ALWAYS HAND STRETCH. Don't use a rolling pin. This is very important. You get a very different, pizza if a rolling pin is used. Mix semolina and flour 50/50. Coat the dough and push down in the middle working out towards the edges. Don't touch the edges though. Always keep half an inch or so away from the edges. Once it's 6 or 7" in diameter, using only the ends of your fingers and not your palms, start to stretch the dough as per the video below. You can pick the dough up when you get a bit more confident and use your fists to stretch it but it works just fine doing it on the work surface.

Watch my video below ..

If you don't want a stunning, puffy, bubbly, chewy yet crispy crust (shame on you) then attack it with a rolling pin. In the eyes of the pizza gods you're going to hell. It's ruined. Seriously though.... it's your pizza, you know how you like it, hand stretch or roll if you like. My missus likes it rolled by the way. She prefers a thin crunchy crust.

TOPPINGS

Sauce

For the sauce. Take a tin of quality whole plum tomatoes (not chopped), add half a tube of tomato purée, half a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of black pepper and two teaspoons of dried basil. That's it. Whizz it up with a hand whizzer or blender. DON'T WHIZZ IT TO DEATH. Literally just enough until the sauce spreads nicely. The more you whizz it, the wetter it makes the sauce which in-turn will make your pizza base wet when applied.

Some people like to make complicated sauces with fried garlic, lots of spices and herbs and simmer it for hours on end.... personally I feel the more you mess with a sauce the more it starts to resemble a shop or takeaway bought pizza. Keep it simply, keep it fresh, keep it tasty. I'm quite lazy too so my sauce suits me just fine as it takes about a minute to make:)

Only apply sauce when you're ready to cook your pizza. Leaving your pizza with sauce on for a long time will cause your base to go soggy!

Apply the sauce, starting at the middle and using the back of a spoon or ladle to push it out towards the crust. Keep the sauce off the crust! Apply some fresh basil leaves, apply a little cheese. I use a 70/30 mozzarella/cheddar mix. Sometimes I use fresh mozzarella too. Personally I prefer the grated stuff. The fresh mozzarella looks fancier though.

Meats & Veg

Add your toppings such as mushrooms, cured meats, onions, artichokes...... whatever you fancy. The key thing here is not to go silly with the toppings. The reason a Pizza Hut pizza takes 10 minutes to cook is due to the sheer volume of toppings they add. They're cooked for longer and at a lower temperature. You can't add this kind of quantity of toppings to a pizza that's going to cook in 90 seconds at 400˚C.

Less is more when dealing with wood fired pizza toppings.

Apply a drizzle of olive oil over the pizza. Chilli oil if you fancy a bit of heat. Add a few splashes of Tabasco sauce if desired. I love the Habanero Tabasco sauce. Pop it in the pizza oven at around 350°C - 400˚C and cook till done! 90 seconds or so. Don't forget to turn it regularly. If using a conventional oven, set it as hot as possible and cook for approx 7-10 minutes until done.

Enjoy!

Currently cooking on an Encasta, Uuni 2S and Stone Baked Oven Co. Mezzo 76.

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