Among the thousand ways to perepare pizza and the many different ones I tried out over the years, this is what for me works best in a home-oven (which normally reaches a temperature of 250°C). The most important thing is the quality of the flour — try to find a good Italian type 0 and a good semola.
Time: 20 min for the dough | 4–5 hour leavening time | 1 hour preparation and baking
a pizza peel and either a pizza stone or a large baking tray (alternatively aluminium baking trays)
Ingredients (makes 4 pizzas)
350 g flour type 0
150 g semola di grano duro
20 g fresh yeast
10 g salt
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
320 g lukewarm water
500 g sweet cherry tomatoes (or a good tomato sauce)
400 g mozzarella (a good “fior di latte”)
extra virgin olive oil
1. Melt the yeast in the lukewarm water and let it rest for 10 minutes.
2. In a bowl, mix the flour, the semola and the salt together, add the olive oil and the water then start to work the dough. It’s going to be a very soft and humid dough but do not add any extra flour. I like to use Richard Berthinet’s technique, which is the fastest way to get an elastic and compact dough. You can watch it here.
3. When the dough is elastic and smooth, place it in a clean blowl and spread some semola on top of it. Dampen a clean cloth and cover the bowl, then let it rise it in a warm place for four or five hours. I like to place it inside the oven when it’s off.
4. When you take it off it will have doubled in size. With the help of a scraper take the dough off the bowl and (without working it again!) form four balls. Spread again a little semola on top, cover with a cloth and let it rest again for about one hour. At this point turn on the oven at the highest temperature, so it will have one hour to warm up properly. Inside the oven place a stone or, if you don’t have one, a large baking tray upside down. This will warm up with the oven.
5. During this one hour you can start prepare the topping. When I make a simple pizza I like using fresh cherry tomatoes, which I cut in half and let drain for some minutes, a good mozzarella, Sicilian oregano and fresh basil leaves to put on top before serving. If you have a good tomato sauce that will be great too, of course.
6. By now the hour has gone so you can start preparing the dough. You can roll it out with a rolling pin or do so with your hands. I like it when it’s quite thin. Place the tomatoes or the tomato sauce on top, the mozzarella (make it into pieces with your hands), oregano, salt and olive oil.
7. Take it with the pizza peel, quickly open the oven and let it slide on the stone/baking tray. Bake for 10–15 minutes. (If you want to use baking trays oil them and place the dough directly on them). Spread some fresh basil leaves on top of your pizza and serve.