National Vegetarian Week Day 2: Ken’s Homemade Stone Baked Pizza
I’ve been living without a freezer for nine months. A conscious decision, largely driven by the house we moved to in September not having a freezer. We opted not to buy a freezer, or a microwave. Eat fresh, reheat by the oven, and cut down on stockpiling frozen food on the cheap.
One of the treats I missed from the world of frozen dinner delights was a pizza. Takeaway pizzas were grand living in town, but out of town there’s no delivery service and the cost of a takeaway pizza just isn’t worth it.
So, after the French trip (in which I cooked my first homemade pizza), and slightly spurred on by the wood-fired pizza at had at the Ballymaloe Lit Fest, I decided the first thing I would do when I got home was figure out how to make a pizza.
Given that it’s also National Vegetarian Week, I figured it was a good time to publish my own steps for making the pizza dough – the toppings I’ll leave to yourself but there are suggestions below. Last night’s pizza included half a large red pepper, some japapeno peppers, two mushrooms (thinly sliced), a medium white onion (halved and thinly sliced), some garlic, 150g mozzarella cheese and some fresh spicy rocket, all on a base of tomato and garlic herb sauce (3 tbsp).
- 500g type 00 flour
- 375ml warm water
- 1x 7g packet dried yeast (fast action)
- Pinch salt, pepper and paprika
- Extra flour for surfaces / hands
- Preheat the oven to 200c / 180c (fan) / Gas 5, ideally for about 20 minutes before cooking, or at least one hour if your first time using a new pizza stone
- In a large bowl add your 500g flour and 3tbsp olive oil along with salt, pepper and paprika.
- In a measuring jug, mix 375ml warm water with packet yeast until dissolved.
- Add yeast mixture to flour, stirring gradually until you've added the full mixture.
- Stir mix into a large dough ball (you may need to add a little extra flour if it's still too sticky) and transfer to a floured surface to knead.
- Knead out dough for 3 to 4 minutes, shape back into a ball and transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl.
- Once in the bowl (I reuse original mixing bowl, just cleaned and lightly oiled), cover the bowl with a cloth or cling film and allow the dough to rest for an hour at room temperature
- Remove dough from mixing bowl and transfer to a floured surface.
- At this stage you could cut the dough into four quarters using a large knife as what you have produced is enough for up to 4 10-12" thin pizza bases.
- Roll your dough out on the surface either by hand or with a rolling pin. You may need additional flour to sprinkle on the dough as you roll.
- Once at your desired size, transfer to pizza stone or baking tray and begin to add your chosen toppings.
- Transfer to oven on stone or tray to the middle shelf and cook for 15 minutes.
- The individual dough portions will keep for a day or so in the fridge if wrapped in cling film, or should last up to a month in the freezer for longer term storage.
The Stone Baked Effect
In terms of cooking, amongst the foodie gifts my brother picked me up for my birthday last week included a Jamie Oliver pizza stone. Pick it up in TK Maxx or here via Amazon. You’ll need to heat the stone for at least an hour before your first use; I pop it in the oven then before I use it when pre-heating.