Let me start by asking you a question – what does Saturday night mean to you?
For some people it is a chance to let their hair down after a long week at work, perhaps having a drink with friends or going out dancing. For me its an evening to chill out and veg out in front of the TV. Perhaps not the most exciting Saturday night in the world but from a young age I’ve associated Saturday nights with good home cooked food and something interesting to watch on the TV, all snuggled up on the sofa.
Saturday nights were one of the few times my Dad was in the kitchen when I was growing up. Although he’s the better cook out of my two parents (sorry Mum!) it was down to Mum to put dinners on the table mid-week.
Come Saturday night my Dad would be a flurry of activity in the kitchen, either cooking up sizzling fajitas, a bold spicy curry or making pizzas from scratch.
On pizza nights, I remember him calling my sister and I to the dinning room table – there wasn’t a lot of room in the kitchen. All of the ingredients would already be laid out and we’d get our hands stuck into the mix of flour, yeast and olive oil giving it a really good knead.
For me the dough wasn’t the fun part, but instead loading the fresh pizza base with toppings! I always got carried away and mine would take by far the longest to cook.
Now, aged 24, I still love staying in on a Saturday night cooking with Jon and pizza or calzone is a firm favourite.
This easy pizza dough recipe has been used by us hundreds of times. And, as it makes enough for 4 medium pizzas we often have a couple of balls of dough tucked away in the freezer. (That’s right, this dough not only keeps for up to a week in the fridge but you can freeze it too!)
- 500g white bread flour
- 15g dried yeast (made up to the packets instructions)*
- 75ml olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Water to bind*
- *each brand of yeast will suggest a different amount of water in order to activate it. In total, you should need roughly 250ml.
- In a small bowl, activate the yeast according to the packets instructions.
- In a separate large bowl mix the flour and salt.
- Next add in the olive oil and yeast. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together until a ball forms.
- Tip out on to a very lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth, elastic and bounces back when gently poked.
- Place in a warm place for half an hour until the dough doubles in size. At the same time, turn your oven up as high as it goes (at least 250C/480F) to pre-heat.
- Cut the dough into four portions and roll out until half a centimetre thick.
- Smother the dough with sauce and toppings then bake in the centre of your oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and your toppings have cooked.
nce you’ve mastered the dough, all you have to do next is master your toppings. My only advice would be to avoid using more than 4 flavours and not to overload the pizza, otherwise the toppings will take longer to cook. A high heat is also essential so whack your oven up as high as it goes!
For now I’m just sharing the dough recipe – it’s up to you what you do with the top! But watch this space as over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing my first forray into making my own mozzarella which you can see on top of the pizza here!
Did you cook with your parents when you were younger? Is there anything you remember vividly cooking with them like I do?
Perhaps you cook with your children now? I’d love to hear in the comments.