Simple pizza dough

Potato pizza resized

We make pizza fairly often at our place – with teenaged boys in the house, it’s a real crowd pleaser. However, pizza, like pasta, presents challenges when one member of the household is a coeliac and needs to have a strict gluten free diet. Most of the meals I cook work for the whole family and a gluten dinner for all is the norm. But pizza and pasta – not so much. There’s a fabulous locally made gluten free pizza base that my son eats and when we have pasta I just make two pots of pasta and divide the sauce between them, mainly because gluten free pasta is so expensive we’d all be eating baked beans for the rest of the week if the whole family ate it!  I wanted to learn to make my own pizza bases, starting with a regular dough (having failed miserably at all attempts to make a gluten free bread, I’m leaving a gf pizza base to another time) and I think this one is pretty good. It makes two good sized pizzas, and with a salad, an excellent Saturday night dinner. I love potato and rosemary as a pizza topping – it’s really pared back, and more what a real Italian pizza is meant to be like. If, however, your taste runs to super supreme, or even ham and pineapple, this dough will also be great. Suggested music to knead by – Vivaldi’s “Spring” from The Four Seasons, or a bit of Michael Buble, if you like to sing and cook.

Makes 2 pizza bases

400 g strong , unbleached flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil

In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt and yeast. Make a well in the centre and add the warm water and olive oil. Take off your rings, put down the spoon and use your fingers to mix the ingredients to a soft dough. It will be all over your fingers, but not for long. With your other hand scatter about a tablespoon of flour onto a clean bench top and scrape all the dough onto the bench. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding little bits more of flour if it is too sticky. It should end up being quite soft and elastic. Put the dough into a clean bowl that you have swirled a little olive oil onto the base and sides (no more than a couple of teaspoons), cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for about 30 minutes, when it will have about doubled in size. Turn the dough out onto the bench, again scattered with a little flour. Divide into two pieces and roll out into a rough circle – it does not need to be perfect – life’s too short. Place on a tray and top with your favourite toppings. Cook in a very hot oven for about 10 minutes and eat right away. My friend Toss has a wood-fired pizza oven, and if you do too, cook your pizza however long it takes to be just right – it will take less time because of the heat of the oven.