I will admit, I am generally a ‘cut corner’ kind of cook when it comes to dough, thinking it is just too hard and that I haven’t got time etc.  However, after recently acquiring a Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer I have branched out and decided to give it a go. It was so worth it.  Super thin and crispy base (just the way I like it) topped with spicy pepperoni, olives and gorgeously molten and stringy bocconcini with a hit of fresh basil right at the end.  I can’t go back……ever.  The beauty of these pizza bases is they keep in the fridge for up to a week or you can freeze them for later use.  Simply sensational.

Prep time:  20 minutes        Resting time:   45-60 minutes     Cooking time:  10 minutes

$  Low budget

Makes 4 pizzas

Basic Pizza Dough:

1 cup of lukewarm water

2 tsp of dry yeast

1/2 tsp of caster sugar

11/2 tbs of olive oil

2 cups of ‘OO’ flour*

1 tsp of sea salt

For the Topping:

1 Jar of good quality tomato passatta or sugo sauce

2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese

100gm of pepperoni slices

1 packet of truss tomatoes, quartered

1 small red onion, finely sliced

1 cup of pitted kalamata olives

2 tsp of dried oregano

2 tsp of dried chilli flakes

8 bocconcini balls

A handful of basil leaves, finely shredded

Sea salt and pepper

Mix the water, yeast and sugar together in a small bowl and allow to stand in a warm place for approximately 5 minutes until starting to froth.  This means that the yeast has become active.  Stir in the olive oil.

Sift the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl (or your stand mixer bowl) and pour the yeast mixture in the centre.  Start working the flour into the wet mixture to form a dough.  If using a stand mixer have it on speed 2 and allow it to knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Alternatively, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough for 4-5 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.  Work the dough into a ball.

Lightly grease the inside of another clean bowl and place the dough inside.  Cover with cling wrap and place in a warm, draught free place (I sit it on top of the oven and put the oven on) for 45-60 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Dust a clean work surface lightly with flour and turn the risen dough out onto the surface.  Punch the dough once with your fist to ‘knock it back’ .  Neaten the dough into a ball and divide it into four equal portions.  Add a little more flour to the board if necessary and roll each dough ball out until it is 3-4 mm thick.  Roll the dough up onto a rolling pin and transfer it to a piece of grease proof paper.  This makes it much easier to transfer it to a piping hot oven tray and won’t compromise the crispiness of the base.

Preheat the oven to 260°C or as high as your oven will go.  Pop 2 trays in the oven to heat while you top the pizzas.

Spread each base with a thin layer of tomato sauce leaving a 1cm border around the edge.  Sprinkle over the mozzarella and then top with pepperoni, onion, tomatoes olives and tear up the bocconcini and dot it around the pizza.  Sprinkle over the oregano and chilli flakes and place the pizza on the hot oven tray.  Try not to let too much heat escape when you are placing the pizzas in the oven.  Bake in the oven, two at a time if you have an average sized oven  for 10 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the fresh basil leaves and season with a little salt and pepper.  Slice into 6-8 pieces and serve immediately.

* ‘OO’ flour is strong bakers flour and is available in the flour section of the supermarket.  Don’t worry about your pizza being the perfect shape.  A little bit rustic is the key here as this is ‘real’ pizza!  I freeze the dough in lightly oiled zip lock bags……