At the very beginning of the lockdown back in late March, the husband turned 30 years old and, as we couldn’t celebrate properly, all he asked for was a good pizza and some beer. I searched and searched to see if anyone was offering takeaway or delivery, but at that point, everything was so uncertain that almost all takeaways had shut up shop completely. Stumped, I decided to have a go at making my own pizzas at home. I’ve always loved the thick, bubbly Roman pizzas, like the ones you get at Baked in Dennistoun, so that’s the style of pizza a tried to emulate. I’ve made this dough countless times now and I always love the results. The dough does proof for 24 hours, but it is absolutely worth the wait!
Roman Style Pizzas
Ingredients (makes 2 pizzas)
500g strong bread flour
7g fast action dried yeast
Half a tsp caster sugar
375ml warm water
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
200g tomato passata mixed with a pinch of salt, pepper and oregano
2 balls fresh mozzarella
Whatever else you want!
1. Start by placing the flour, yeast, sugar and 300ml of the water in a large bowl – I use my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, but you can do it by hand! Mix until it comes together into a rough dough, then add the salt, olive oil and remaining 75ml of water and combine. Mix/knead the dough either by hand or in a mixer for about 5-10 minutes. It will look pretty wet at first but stick with it and it will slowly come together. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside for 15 minutes.
2. Now time for the fun part! We’re going to stretch and fold the dough, this helps add strength and gives a much better texture. Put a little oil on your hands, then reach beneath one section of the dough. Pull it up towards you, then fold it over into the middle of the bowl. Work your way around the bowl, going underneath the dough, pulling it up, and folding it into the middle. It takes 30 seconds but makes a big difference. Cover with cling film again and repeat every 15 minutes for one hour, so three stretch-and-folds in total.
3. Once you’ve completed the third stretch and fold, get a large tupperware container and add some olive oil. Tip the dough into the container, coating it in the oil, pop the lid on and place in the fridge for 18-24 hours.
4. The next day, the dough should have grown substantially and there should be plenty of bubbles. Take it out of the fridge and coat two baking trays with olive oil, or line with baking parchment. Gently ease the dough out of the container onto one of the baking trays. Cut the dough in half with a sharp knife and place the second piece onto the second baking tray. With oiled hands, gently stretch the dough into the shape you want (I tend to go rectangle but round works too). Drizzle with a little oil to prevent them drying out, then leave to prove again at room temperature for 2 hours.
5. Preheat your oven to 220c (fan). Top your pizzas with the seasoned passata, the mozzarella, torn into pieces, and any other toppings you like, then bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve and enjoy!