It started with some Amazon vouchers. I had no idea what to spend them on. I didn’t need anything and anything I wanted cost far more than the vouchers I had.
Then I found out about pizza stones. Now we all like pizza and I had recently been making my own bread and dough so I thought that making pizza at home could be a really nice idea.
So I used the vouchers to buy two pizza stones and frankly they are brilliant. They are not the cheapest option but they are in my opinion the best. They start cooking the pizza base from the moment that the dough is placed on them resulting in the lightest most deliciously crispy base ever. You will probably need to invest in a pizza peel too to lift the pizza onto the hot stone and off the stone.
Through trial and error (and picking the brains of others) here are my tips for homemade pizza making.
- Do not overload your pizza, the base of a stone cooked pizza is supposed to be light and crisp not soggy and collapsing under the weight of huge amounts of toppings.
- You can use just tomato purée as a base but a homemade sauce adds a lot more flavour.
- Take care cutting the pizza on the stone, grease will sink into the porous stone and make the stone smoke the next time you use it
- The pizzas take less time to cook than you may think so watch them carefully and make sure that any raw vegetables used are sliced thinly.
- Use proper pizza mozzarella either in a block or ready grated. The balls are too wet unless very thinly which is difficult to do.
- Unless you are very dexterous or have a large pizza peel and even large kitchen then keep the pizzas to a reasonable size. Manhandling a raw 16″ thin base into an oven is best left to professionals.
- Returning the pizza to the stone after cutting will keep it hot for ages. As it is very thin it cools very quickly otherwise.
- Enjoy it, making pizza at home, adding the toppings that you want, pulling the dough etc are all part of the fun. It is as much a part of the experience as eating it. Experiment and make many small pizzas with new and unusual combinations.
- Packets of pizza dough mix are fabulous, you can literally make the dough whilst the oven is warming up and that includes kneading and proving time. They are also as cheap as chips at around 55-60p for a pack containing enough to make two large pizzas. There are also gluten free versions available as well.
So let’s just have a quick look at the costings shall we?
Pizza (serves 4)
- One packet pizza dough mix (2 sachets around 60p)
- 1/2 pack re-grated mozzarella (75p)
- Home made tomato sauce (approximate cost 50p)
To make the tomato sauce , use fresh peeled tomatoes (350g) or tinned ones (300g), add garlic, a tsp of sugar, a splash of balsamic vinegar and herbs of your choice blend until smooth, add a squirt of tomato purée and reduce until thick. This will easily make enough for 4 pizzas and can be frozen.
Literally all you have to do is place the pizza stones in the oven and switch on to the temperature specified on the pizza base mix. Make up the bases according to the instructions, smear with tomato sauce (not too much remember!) add any other toppings that you require and then add sprinkle on the cheese.
The basic cost is less than £2 for two cheese and tomato pizza. I have just had an email from Dominos telling me I can feed 4 for just £5 per head. Hmmm even if my toppings came to £3 (which is highly unlikely) I can feed for for just £5.
That leaves me £15 to spend on wine, right?