Are you good at keeping a secret? It turns out the members of the Thomas family aren’t. Dad bought a pizza oven for Burralong, (I think we have Elles Belles to thank for planting the seed) which was a ‘surprise’. “Don’t tell anyone” he says. Sworn to secrecy.
Let me just say the news spread like wildfire and before I knew it, everyone was talking about the big oven unveiling, beyond excited for the Burralong Pizza Hut debut.
And let me just say it didn’t disappoint. Dad and I worked well as a team – me in the kitchen with the fun job of rolling out the dough, ingredients being thrown around left, right and centre while he and his mate ‘Bluey’ expertly (and very flukily I might add) presented us all with beautifully cooked pizzas that seemed to go on and on. Turns out that 2 kilos of flour makes for a lot of pizza dough.
If you’ve never made your own pizza dough before – do! It may seem fiddly but it’s really so easy and the perfect way to feed a crowd. Talk about a sense of occasion and they really do taste better having made them yourself. You can add anything you like. Keep it simple and go with some tomato and mozzarella or lay all kinds of toppings out on the table for your guests to get stuck in to.
Think finely sliced potato, rosemary, sea salt and an olive oil base, or try my favourite – pepperoni, mushrooms and chilli flakes. Feta cheese, olives, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, anchovies, pineapple, prawns, ham, salami and capsicum all work well and make sure you have heaps of fresh basil to sprinkle over the top.
I have Jamie to thank for the basic dough recipe. It works every time, uses inexpensive ingredients and can be made in advance so it’s all ready to go when people come round. And don’t worry if you haven’t got a proper pizza oven. Just send them through a normal oven instead, making sure you’ve got it cranked up.
I just want to get it on record that I wasn’t the one to blow the secret either. I know that loose lips sink ships.
I think I only told Amy.
Oh and Cork Daddy.
And maybe Mum.
But I wasn’t the one to ruin the surprise.
I told them all not to tell anyone.
homemade pizza dough (makes 8 large pizzas)
this recipe has been adapted from Jamie’s
1 x kilo of flour, plus extra for kneading (Italian ’00’ flour is preferred*)
1 x teaspoon of salt
600 mls of lukewarm water
2 x yeast sachets (7 grams per sachet**)
1 x tablespoon of sugar
1/4 cup of olive oil
- Pour the flour out on to a large chopping board. Sprinkle the salt over the top.
- Measure out 600 mls of lukewarm water in a large measuring jug and add the yeast, sugar and olive oil. Stir and leave to sit for 5 minutes***.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour and gradually pour the liquid in while mixing with a fork. You want to slowly incorporate the liquid in to the flour until it starts to come together and a dough starts to form.
- Sprinkling more flour over the top as you go****, knead the dough with your hands until you have a nice smooth and stretchy consistency.
- Line a large mixing bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, covering it with a damp tea towel*****. Leave the dough to rise in a warm spot for least an hour or until its tripled in size.
- Once ready to use, punch the air out of the dough and knead it again gently. Divide the dough in to 8 balls and roll them out as you need them. (Keep the balls of dough under a damp tea towel so they don’t dry out).
- It’s now time to go nuts with the toppings. In a hot oven – they shouldn’t take very long to cook, about 12-15 minutes each. (NB: the ideal temperature for a pizza oven is 425℃.
There’s nothing better than leftover cold pizza for breakie the next day either.
- *You can buy the ’00’ flour from Woolies.
- **The yeast sachets can be bought from Woolies.
- ***This is important so that the yeast starts to activate.
- ****The extra flour will allow you to work with the dough as it will be very sticky once you start the kneading process.
- *****The wet tea towel is important to prevent the dough from drying out.
- I drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil over the pizzas before serving as it gives the crust that little extra something.
- A special thanks to good family friends of ours – the Martin’s. Mum and Dad always rave about the pizza’s they have at your place and it’s one of the reasons why Dad went out on his little shopping trip. Dad says we’ve got a long way to go before our pizzas are anywhere near as nice as yours.
- I cover my pizzas in a tomato sauce which is made simply by sautéing some fresh garlic in olive oil before adding tomato passata and tomato paste, a teaspoon of sugar and seasoned with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Tear in a handful of basil leaves as well and if you’re a chilli lover like me, a light sprinkling of chilli flakes tops it off nicely.
If you make this pizza dough, please leave your comments below. xx