Frozen pizza bases are quite expensive – £2.89 for two (Waitrose). Considering they’re only really flour, water and yeast, that’s quite pricey. So I thought I’d have a go at making them myself. Plus it’s fun. Previously, when I’ve made pizzas from scratch, the bases have been too doughy and still uncooked by the time the toppings are ready, bubbling, and on the verge of burning. The solution is to pre-cook the bases for 5 minutes BEFORE you put the toppings on. And if you’re going to part-bake them (which kills the yeast) then you might as well freeze them so you can dig them out whenever you want. I thought it’d be a nice treat for my kids to make their own pizzas, adding the toppings they like.
This is just a basic white bread dough mix, using the proportions of ingredients that my Breadmaker Recipe Book recommends.
Recipe: Pizza Bases (for freezing or eating straight away)
Ingredients: (makes 8 x 15cm individual pizza bases)
750g (3 cups) strong white bread flour
280 ml (just over 1 cup) lukewarm water
2 tbsp skimmed dried milk powder
2 tbsp sugar
1 sachet dried yeast
2 tbsp oil (sunflower or olive) + extra for greasing
1 tsp yeast
little extra flour or oatmeal for kneading
Method: Bung all the ingredients in your breadmaker (I’ve found the order doesn’t matter although the book stipulates adding them in a specific order). Mix on the “dough” setting. If doing this by hand, start mixing with your hands and then knead for 10 minutes to make it nice and stretchy. Let it rise for a bit in an oiled bowl, covered with a teatowel or clingfilm, until doubled in size (the time will depend on how warm your kitchen is – but let’s say 45mins-1hr). Tip out the dough onto a floured surface (I use oatmeal because I like the extra crunch, nuttiness and fibre). Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Divide dough into 8 and roll/stretch out to flat pizza base shapes. Place on 2 or 3 oiled baking trays and bake for 5 minutes only (set a timer! I use my mobile phone). Cool on wire racks or trays and then bag up when completely cold, for freezing.
When you’re ready to eat, get your toppings ready (some kind of tomato pasta sauce [or passata, or chopped tinned tomatoes], olives, chopped ham, grated cheese, chopped mushrooms, peppers, salami, anchovies etc. Let everyone assemble their own (the only rule is: tomato sauce first, and some cheese helps it all meld together). Then bake for a further 5-7 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius until the toppings look golden and bubbling. Serve with a green salad or in wedges for a couples/family night in front of the TV.