What I love about making pizza at home is that you're totally in control of the size, how it's baked and of course - the toppings! They're great for using odd ends up in the fridge and if you're having friends or family over for dinner, making a 'create your own pizza' station is a great way to connect over food and takes the pressure off making one-dish that everyone will like. Fancy pizza ovens are great but here I share all the tips to create your very own pizza at home using a regular oven.
For a step-by-step full visual cookalong, check out our Supper Club Plus video tutorial on how to make the perfect pizza dough.
Time to prepare: 20 minutes + 1hr dough rise time
Time to bake: 12 - 14 minutes
Makes: 4 x 30cm pizza bases
7g quick yeast*
330ml warm water*
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
Handful of polenta, for dusting
Easy tomato sauce
400g tin tomatoes, whole or crushed
6 tbsp tomato purée
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp dried Italian herbs or oregano
2 tsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
80g shredded mozzarella
Black pepper, to season
Easy tomato sauce
If you're making your own tomato sauce, put everything in a food processor or use a blender (or nutri-bullet/hand blender) to whizz everything together until smooth. This sauce will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To make the pizza dough, weigh the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add in the quick bake yeast and stir to combine. If you're using dried active yeast, you'll need to activate or 'bloom' this in the 330ml warm water first (see good to know, below*).
Add in the salt, olive oil and 330ml warm water, use a spoon to bring everything together then we can begin to knead the dough.
If you're using a standing mixer, use the dough attachment on speed 2 for 6 - 8 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl and test if the dough is ready every few minutes. If you're kneading the dough by hand, tip everything out onto a clean surface and knead for 8 - 10 minutes, lightly flouring the surface as needed if the dough is sticking as you go. When the dough has been kneaded enough, it should be smooth and elastic and create a firm ball. (See notes on dough test below*).
Use a very thin smear of olive oil to line a clean mixing bowl (this will stop it sticking) and place the kneaded dough ball in. Cover with cling film or a kitchen towel and leave to rise for 1 hour*, or until doubled in size.
Once risen, uncover the dough and use a fist to punch the dough firmly once to remove air pockets. Tip onto a floured surface seperate the dough into 4 equal dough portions. Any portions you're not using straight away you can store in the fridge or freezer for later*.
Pizza & Toppings
Preheat the oven to the highest temperature setting your oven will go to! This is typically 240ºC/220ºC fan oven/gas mark 8 or 9. Put whatever you'll be baking your pizza on (a pizza stone or a baking tin) in the oven too - as we want this piping hot to give our pizza a crispy base.
Roll the portioned dough on a lightly floured surface, using hands to stretch and shape it until you get to your desired size and shape pizza. On a sheet of baking paper, scatter over a handful of polenta and gently place your shaped pizza dough on top, pressing the dough down onto the polenta. Pull this sheet of baking paper with the pizza on top onto a chopping board (we'll use this to transfer the pizza over to the oven - you can also use a pizza paddle). Add your tomato sauce and toppings that need baked.
Bring the chopping board or pizza paddle over to the oven and, using the baking paper as a handle, swiftly pull the pizza from the chopping board onto the heated baking tray or pizza stone.
Bake for 12 –14 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the pizza crust is golden and firm to tap.
Remove from the oven when ready and scatter over fresh basil, freshly cracked black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Slice and enjoy!
(per 30cm pizza base)
18g protein, 88g carbs, 9g fat
Good to know:
Quick yeast (also known as instant, rapid or easy yeast) can be added straight into the flour. Stir into the flour before adding in the salt as direct contact can de-activate the yeast.
Active dried yeast (also known as traditional or baker's yeast) needs activating or 'blooming' beforehand. To do this, simple scatter the 7g into the 330ml warm water and leave for 5 minutes, it should bubble up and be foamy, then add it in to the flour mix with everything else.
No need to get a thermometer out for the warm water, test with your fingers for luke-warm or 'bath temperature warm' water.
For the easy tomato sauce, if you don't have tomato puree, simply sub in for 6 tbsp tomato ketchup and omit the sugar.
To test if your dough has been kneaded enough, bring the dough into a ball and gently press your finger in. If the finger indent gently refills, the dough is ready. If your finger indent is still there and there is no re-fill, you need to knead the dough for a few more minutes.
The warmer your kitchen is, the quicker the dough will rise. A great spot is any warm spot where there is no draft. An oven (turned off but the inside light turned on), an airing, utility or laundry cupboard are all great spots.
To store, wrap dough-ball portions in cling film and keep them in a ziplock bag in the fridge for up to 1 week or freezer for up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before using.
I love using this pizza stone which conducts and holds the heat to give a crispier, more evenly baked pizza base and crust.
For a full visual cookalong guide, check out my Supper Club Plus video tutorial on the homemade pizza dough.