I had forgotten just how delicious a home-made pizza could be (I had also forgotten, until recently, how delicious a delivered pizza could be, but that's an issue for my thighs and my conscience to reconcile between themselves).

Please don't be put off by the idea of making your own crust (base) - it's really very easy, and by applying Jim Lahey's no-knead genius concept, the least labour intensive thing you could imagine. All you need is a bit of time; this is an over-night process. Other than planning a little ahead, it's a sinch, and as an added bonus, the recipe I'm going to share yields four twelve-inch crusts, and can be frozen for at least a month to be used at a later date.

The base here is thin, and slightly chewy, with a crisp edge.
I'm also going to share the two toppings used in the above pictures; a basic margherita, and an aged cheddar with Serrano ham and spinach. which, I'm half-ashamed-half-proud to say, I ate all of. To myself. In one evening.
For the base: (from Jim Lahey's recipe, featured here)

Makes four 12-inch pizza crusts

500g plain flour (Type '00' is my preference), plus more for shaping the dough

1g (1/4 tsp) active dry yeast

16g (2 tsp) fine sea salt

350g (1 1/2 cups) water

  1. In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon, and then your hands, mix thoroughly.

  2. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a clean tea towel and allow it to rise at room temperature for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled. It will take longer in a chilly room and less time in a very warm one.

  3. Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts and shape them. For each portion, start with the right side of the dough and pull it toward the center, then do the same with the left, then the top, then the bottom. (The order doesn't actually matter; what you want is four folds.) Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. Mould the dough into a neat circular mound. The mounds should not be sticky; if they are, dust with more flour.

  4. If you don't intend to use the dough right away, wrap the balls individually in cling film and refrigerate for up to 3 days or add foil around the cling film and freeze for up to one month. Return to room temperature by leaving them out on the counter, covered in a damp cloth, for 2 to 3 hours before needed, if frozen, defrost in the fridge overnight first.
Shaping and baking
  1.  Place a pizza stone, or a heavy duty flat baking sheet in the oven,middle shelf, and preheat to 200°          
  2. Take a ball of  the dough and generously flour it, and the work surface. Gently press down and stretch the dough out to about 8 inches. Lift the dough onto your fists and gently rotate/stretch it until it gets wider, to about 10-12 inches. Don't worry about making it perfectly circular, and if you find the idea of lifting it daunting, simply shape it on your work surface; keep gently coaxing it into desired size and shape, ensuring you flip it now and again to prevent it sticking.
  3. Once happy with the size and shape, gently lift onto a silicone baking sheet, or some baking parchment. It is now ready to be topped.

Toppings (quantities shown are for one pizza)

Less is more when you have a thin, crispy, flavouful pizza crust, so go easy on your toppings to avoid a soggy, under-cooked base.

For a tomato base that's easily adapted, simply heat 1 Tbs of good olive oil in a small saucepan, very gently. Add a thinly sliced clove of garlic and when it starts to smell fragrant (do not colour or allow oil to sizzle, you want a very low heat), add a good handful of peeled fresh  tomatoes, or a small tin of well drained plum tomatoes, an inch of tomato puree, half a teaspoon of sea salt and a good grinding of black pepper.

You can of course omit the garlic, or add a pinch of oregano or cumin.

Leave on the low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and thickened slightly. Blend with a stick blender or in a blending jug until mostly smooth. Leave to cool before spreading onto your pizza base with the back of a spoon

For a Margherita topping, tear up some buffalo mozzarella and scatter over the pizza,lift the parchment/sheet and base and place onto the pre-heated, red hot baking sheet.  Bake for 20 mins or until bubbling and browned. Grate plenty of Parmesan over the top, tear a few basil leaves, and add, along with a sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil.

For a more substantial pizza, after adding the tomato base as above, tear over some mozzarella as before, then add some coarsely grated  mature cheddar. Pre-heat your grill to high, whilst baking the pizza as before for 15-20 minutes in the oven. Remove, tear up some Serrano or Parma ham and scatter over the top, place under the grill for 3 minutes until the ham is just starting to crisp. scatter over some baby spinach and serve whilst still molten, being careful not to burn your mouth!


16/07/2012 1:47am

these look awesome! gorgeous presentation.

16/07/2012 3:38am

Your photos are great! A beautiful, rustic Margherita (my favorite) cannot be beat. Thank you for sharing this - I want to make it right now! Allen.

16/07/2012 4:24pm

Thank you both! Isn't it ironic, but my usual camera broke recently, and I've been borrowing a point & click. nothing fancy whatsoever, but with the right light it's given me some great shots.

24/07/2012 4:44am

I like homemade pizza, but haven't made one in a long time. After seeing how delicious yours looks and how easy it is to make, I'm excited to try yours. Who knows, it may turn out to be my new favorite!

26/07/2012 6:57am

I love thin pizzas with crunchy edges. I'd want more garlic and a cheesier top. Should be very careful not to overdo with the cheese, may become too heavy and be soggy as what you have mentioned. Thanks for the tips =) It is homemade pizza day today!

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10/06/2013 8:21am

Pizza is one of my favorite food items and I love to eat it home made. The pizza that you introduced above is simple and easy to make. All the ingredients are easily available in most of the kitchen. Thank you for introducing it to the world.

31/07/2013 12:50pm

I love thin crust pizza. They are lovely to eat. The cheese on the crust makes the pizza a delicacy. The page has many tempting pictures on page. I really like the way the article is drafted. The recipe is given in a very simple and easy manner. Thanks a lot for sharing this page.


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