How to make and stretch your pizza base, this takes practise, but don't be scared, it's fun to give it a go. Start with the traditional round shape but then explore other shapes, square, rectangle or oval. Even when I think my shape looks really bad it still tastes great. Below is our classic simple margarita topping, I have included my recipe at attempting an authentic homemade pizza sauce. Experiment and have fun with the flavours and toppings.
To Shape the Dough
Remove the dough 30 minutes before using from the fridge if it has been chilled overnight. If you are using the same day dough, then be gentle when you are stretching the dough as you don't want to remove any air bubbles.
Add a little extra flour to the bench and the dough ball. Use your fingers or knuckles to gently stretch the dough out. Once the dough is about 16cm, place the dough over the tops of your hands and see the weight of the dough to stretch further to about 25cm. Careful not to make the dough too thin in the centre.
To Cook the Pizza
- Preheat the oven for at least 30 minutes before baking, at the highest temperature 220˚c. If you have a pizza steel* place this on top of the middle shelf in your oven to preheat too.
- Place your stretched dough gently onto your baking tray or heat resistant silicone baking sheet and add the toppings.
- Stretch the pizza slightly again on the outside edge before placing in the oven.
- Use the large pizza peel* to place your pizza in the oven. If you want a crisper pizza turn on the grill too and cook for 5 minutes. If you don't have a pizza steel the pizza may take 10-12 minutes to bake.
- Once cooked remove from the oven with your pizza peel and let it sit for a few minutes before cutting. Top with fresh herbs or leaves.
- 1 mozzarella ball
- tinned whole peeled tomatoes (or use a pre made pizza sauce)
- fresh basil leaves
- Italian spices – I use arrabbiata
- squirt of tomato paste for a richer sauce
Why use a pizza steel? If you love making pizza maker and serious about making the perfect pizza crust, a pizza steel is the best gift for you. While pizza steels are strong and almost indestructible they will require some care. and benefit from being seasoned from time to time (like your favourite cast iron pan). Unlike pizza stones, steels won’t shatter or break. If you’re into multipurpose tools, your pizza steel can also double as a griddle on the stovetop.
Pizza steels (also known as baking steels) are made purely from steel, and they are extremely efficient at conducting heat. The steel absorbs, stores and leads energy about 18 times better than stone. Therefore the heat moves quickly from the steel to the pizza crust baking your pizza faster.
A pizza peel is a tool you use to place pizzas in the oven without spilling any of the ingredients off the top of your pizza. I would describe it as a giant spatula which you place your pizza on before baking it in the oven.
As well a large pizza peel makes it so much easier to remove your pizza from the oven without ruining your pizza or burning your fingers.