Tear and fold, that’s the only way!!
When I say let’s have pizza for dinner tonight you’ll most certainly hear my children cheer with excitement and relish at the very thought of it. I was the same as a child and most definitely even more so as an adult. I have such fond memories of watching my mum make pizza dough, well I say fond memories, I use this term very loosely. Mum would make the dough and knead it in what could only be described as a wild woman manner. She would lay a blanket on the kitchen floor and tip the dough into a clean washing up bowl. My mum is a size 8, she is tiny but dear me does she have some welly. She would call it kneading the dough but in all honesty she was punching seven bells out of the dough whilst on bended knees. My sister and I would sit in ore and giggle whilst stealing the freshly torn mozzarella that would sit at room temperature on the kitchen side.
The resting was essential. The longer the initial first prove the more flavour and elasticity the dough will produce in the long run. The toppings would be very basic and that’s how I like it. Pizza nowadays is loaded with the contents of the larder and fridge… This is so wrong. Keep it simple, and please never use cutlery. Pizza should be torn or folded, never eaten with a knife and fork. My children find it so funny when they see people eating pizza with cutlery, I taught then to tear, fold and eat.
So here’s my pizza dough recipe for you. The dough freezes really well so make extra and freeze in portioned balls of 200g. Make the dough, prove, then portion the dough out into 200g balls, cover and allow to prove for a further 30 minutes to an hour. Ensure the dough is covered so no skin is formed externally.
Pizza dough… Recipe taken from ‘Southern Italian Family Cooking’
Preparation time: 1 hour 20 minutes Makes: 6 large pizzas
900g 00 flour
14g dried yeast or 7g fresh
550ml tepid water (see note below)
5 tbsp. Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Use a mixer with a dough hook attachment if you have one, if not a large bowl will work just fine.
- Tip the yeast sachets into room temperature water and stir. This will slowly activate the yeast.
- Into a large bowl add the flour and sprinkle the salt onto one side. Make a well in the center and add the Filippo Berio oil.
- Slowly add the water into the center of the well, a little at a time. Use a wooden spoon initially or use your hands to mix in the water, it may be a little messy but you are able to feel the consistency as you go.
- Tip the dough out on to a floured surface and knead for approximately 7-10 minutes. The dough should be soft, smooth and spring back when push with the tips of your fingers.
- Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl with a little flour on top. Lay a damp tea towel over the bowl and position in a warm area of the kitchen and leave to prove.
- The dough will need to prove for at least 1 hour 30 minutes however the longer the dough has to prove the better, it develop a wonderful flavour.
Carmela’s tip: I use the milky water from the fresh mozzarella bags to add in replace of the tap water to the dough. It’s full of flavour and no waste at all, my mother has been doing this for years and also uses the milk from excess ricotta. If the water or mozzarella milk is warm the proving will be accelerated, however I recommend tepid water and a slightly longer prove, to allow the flavour to develop in the dough.