Friday, April 16, 2010

If you wanna make a pizza get a stone.

Yesterday was my 39th birthday and I got a present that I had been eyeing up for some time but which always appeared to be just a nice to have whenever I stood in front of it in the shop, my wife bought me a pizza stone.
I'd heard this was the only way to do a good home cooked pizza and have always been disappointed by the bready base that home made usually has.
This thing is a revelation.

I decided to make two pizzas this evening, and still have two dough balls for more tomorrow if we want it. I asked my wife to make some dough in the bread machine at about three o clock so it would have time to prove.
She used a simple recipe that came with the bread machine that goes as follows.

Pizza Base
Water 1 cup
Melted butter 1 Tbsp
Sugar 2 Tbsp
Salt 1 Tsp
00 Flour 2 3/4 cups
Fast action yeast
Machine set to dough setting

This was left in the machine for a few hours after the mixing was done to prove, easy enough really, well especially easy as I didn't do it.

Sauce mix

Tomato Puree 3 Tbsp
Tomato Passata 1/2 cup
Extra virgin Olive oil 2 Tbsp
Dried pizza herb mix a large pinch
Salt and pepper to season

I combined all of this in a bowl with a whisk and then left it to stand a while to marry the flavours while I got the toppings ready.

I decided on a margherita and a bacon, mushroom and sweetcorn pizza.

Margherita pizza
Extra virgin olive oil
Torn fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper
Dried pizza herb mix a pinch
Torn Mozzarella 3/4 ball
Cheap grated cheese 2 Tbsp
Fine Polenta
Tomato sauce

For the second pizza I used the following

Bacon, mushroom and sweetcorn pizza
Dry fried bacon slices chopped into strips 2
Sliced mushrooms 3
Half an onion chopped into rings
Tinned Sweetcorn 2 Tbsp
Garlic infused olive oil
Torn Mozzarella 1/4 ball
Cheap grated cheese 2 Tbsp
Finely chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to season
Fine Polenta
Tomato sauce

Preparing the pizza is easy enough, you start by rolling out the doughball. I split the dough into 4 and weighed them off evenly and then left the balls on a tray under a damp cloth to prove again. Sprinkle your rolling surface liberally with flour and if you can throw a pizza then work away, I used to be able to do it, but it's a long time so rolling with the pin was easier.
Once rolled let it sit to rest for a minute or two and then spread about a tablespoon or two of the sauce on the pizza base, use the back of a tablespoon or the bowl of a ladel to spread it about, you don't have to cover it thickly in fact it's better if it's a little patchy as the base will then bubble through in spots.
Arrange your toppings on this, starting with the cheese and the mozzarella then just build the rest of the toppings on this. I showed olives in the picture that I ended up not using but I'll do those maybe tomorrow as there were ingredients left over to do more.
The margherita gets a liberal sprinking of olive oil on top when it's done and into the oven.

The margherita on the left was the first one and it buckled up a little as I still have no peel and had to improvise using a baking tray that we have the has no edge on one side so it actually worked a treat, the trick to getting the pizza off the peel is to put a healthy sprinkling of polenta flour under the pizza, it rolls off it like on marbles when you slide it off then. The first one was also a guess with time and a very thin base so those factors combined to make the pizza a little darker than intended. By the time I did the second one I had it working fine and timed it better too. Both pizzas got 7 minutes in the oven and were done, you may get different mileage with a non fan oven and a thicker base or more ingredients, don't overload the ingredients that will make the base not cook properly and be slimy.
The stone is the key to this being so tasty, you can see from the photos that the pizza has a proper stone oven crust and man it was very very tasty.
It's easily the best pizza I've made at home, and it's down to the stone, so a big thanks to my lovely wife for getting it for me, although she was also thinking of nice pizza when she did it, but who can blame her.

I also had a nice pint of my best bitter. Consett is where my wife comes from.

I was going to do a post on dips for a party I was having tomorrow, but the wife and child got an eye infection so for the sake of guests not getting an infectious lurgy I called the party off. I think I'll still do a hummus this weekend a pop up a post about it.


  1. Looks great! I'm sure it was yummy! Your wife seems lovely indeed! :)

  2. I really, really want a pizza stone. It's the next on my list of kitchen stuff to buy. I can work around my husband's 'not buying anything else for the kitchen' ban as it's flat and therefore won't take up any room. Heh.

  3. We have a rule, that if we buy a gadget it must be something new and not just a better version of something we already have. We've no room left at this point.

  4. I haven't used a pizza stone, but I have found that our heavy cast iron pan works really well. I keep burning myself taking it out of the oven though, I must remember to use mittens rather than just grabbing the nearest tea towel.

  5. The stones get very hot too, I must get myself a pizza peel at some point too, that'd come in very handy.

  6. The recipe seems pretty good...I'd love to try this recipe on my own and will get back to you over this. Thanks for sharing the recipe, my kids love pizza a lot. I think they will also like this.


  7. thanks for that Ryan, it definitely is easy to do and delicious.
    My 4 year old loves helping with making them too, we make him a mini pizza and he just adds his own toppings.

  8. Nice recipe - being a brewer, you should check out barm-sourdough. I made a starter about a year ago from the krausen/barm from one of my brews - a belgian. Still going strong. Makes lovely bread, and fantastic chewy/cripsy pizza bases...