This recipe creates one of those dreamy, light yet chewy, Italian-style pizza bases. If you can make the dough the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight, in my opinion you get a better texture and flavour. You can keep this for up to a day or two in the fridge, but no longer. When shaping the pizza, stretch the dough out thinly to 2-3mm if you want to avoid the more cakey, thicker pizza base. The edges can be left a little thicker, to form a crust. If you make pizza (or bread) regularly, a pizza stone is a worthwhile investment. Place the stone in the oven while it is heating up, and the stone will absorb and retain the heat and help to cook your product more evenly. A peel, for sliding your pizza in and out of the oven, is also useful. If you don’t have a pizza stone or peel you can use a baking tray lined with baking parchment or dusted with semolina flour.
Timing note: ideally make your dough at least 12 hours or the night before you want to use it.
Mix the type 00 flour and semolina in a large bowl and create a well in the centre. Crumble in the yeast and add approximately half your water. Leave the yeast to dissolve for 5-10 minutes, until bubbles start to form on the surface.
Add the olive oil and the rest of the water and knead, adding the salt at the end. You want a smooth dough that isn’t sticky. Place the dough in a ball shape in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and rest for 12 hours or overnight in the fridge.
Preheat your oven to 250°C / gas 9, or its hottest setting. Place your pizza stone in the oven while it is heating up. If using a baking tray, line it with baking parchment or dust with semolina.
Shape your pizza dough into a base by stretching it out in the air using your hands, or you can stretch it and then prod it out with your fingers on a work surface liberally floured with semolina. Alternatively, you can shape it straight onto your baking tray if you’re not using a pizza stone and peel. Add your toppings and let it rest for 10-20 minutes.
If you’re using a pizza stone, liberally sprinkle it with semolina and transfer the pizza onto it using the peel. Place the pizza in the oven. If you’re cooking it in a hot, wood-fired oven it may take as little as 3-4 minutes to cook. If you’re using a kitchen oven it will take 10-12 minutes. When it is done, the crusts should have taken on a lovely golden colour and puffed up, and your toppings should be cooked through. Check the centre of the pizza to make sure the base is not soggy before serving.
Picture copyright of Jonathan Gregson