Pizza (and Calzoni) dough

A few years ago the VegHead and SheWhoMustBeFed holidayed in Tuscany. The accommodation, which was an old farm building renovated and restored, had a wood fired pizza oven built into the nearly three metre thick walls. One night we made a big batch of fresh pizza dough and fed ourselves and also the four young guys staying next door, and also the owner and his Italian friend. Suffice to say that this dough got the nod of appreciation from the Italians, all of whom found it simply amazing that didn’t just go and buy pre-made pizzas from the supermarket like every other tourist. Therefore I can say with confidence that 100% of Italians who have eaten a pizza made from this base have loved it (Of course, the gallon of red wine we drank between us may have clouded their judgement somewhat but never let the truth get in the way of a good story). We make a batch of this every Friday – it is Pizza Night on Fridays in the VegHead Household.

What goes in the dough…

  • 4 ½ tpn or ½ oz or 2 packages yeast.
  • 2 tspn sugar
  • 4 cups white, strong, stoneground, organic flour. Add a little more if the dough seems too wet
  • 1 tspn salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups warm water

What to do….

  • Put yeast and sugar in cup. Add ½ cup water (37-43˚C). Mix well. Wait about 5 minutes for yeast and sugar to activate.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add flour, salt, olive oil, 1 cup warm water and yeast mix. Mix with fork to get all liquid absorbed by the flour.
  • Place handful of flour on mixing surface. Dust your hands and spread out flour. Empty contents of bowl onto flour.
  • Knead dough 8-10 mins or until texture is smooth and uniform. If a little sticky, add more flour.
  • Place dough in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil lightly rub the oil over the surface of the dough mix to ensure even coverage). Cover with a cloth and place in a draft free area for about one hour.
  • Punch down the dough, preheat the oven to 260˚C (or if you’re lucky – tend to your wood fired pizza oven), and wait about 45 mins. The dough is now ready.
  • Cut dough in half. (I get 4 smallish pizzas out of this much dough).
  • Dust a rolling pin with flour and gently roll out on floured surface, until desired shape. Can use fingers if you like.
  • Dust pizza tray with fine cornmeal. Use a spatula or a peel to slide the dough onto the tray, or preferably just roll it over the rolling pin, and unroll it onto the pizza tray.
  • Drizzle with oil. Spread with tomato sauce. Add toppings. Cook for 8-14 minutes. (You may need to adjust cooking time if your oven doesn’t get really hot, or if you have a LOT of wet toppings which increases cooking time)