When we first started saving for a house at the beginning of the year, the first step for us was to take an honest look at our expenses. Things we spent too much on, things we could cut down on, things we would continue to buy, things we could cut out completely.
The first thing we had to seriously cut down on was takeaways. We were really bad for “lets just order a takeaway” after a long day, or if we were just being lazy, and not really thinking about how much it cost. Obviously some options are cheaper than others, but on average we were dropping £20 between us on every takeaway and we were spending this at least once a week.
I’m personally a sucker for pizza – it’s not *just* the ease of ordering out that entices me, I just really bloody love pizza. I also really love cooking, especially trying new recipes. So, when a few friends suggested making our own pizza from scratch, I was baffled as to why I’d never thought of it as an option.
I think, subconsciously, I had in my head that pizza dough was a really arduous task and took an age to make. Well… I couldn’t have been more wrong. And, since perfecting our own pizza recipes, we’ve saved SO much money we would have spent on takeaways. That, and I think I even prefer them!
On top of all that, it’s actually really fun to both get in the kitchen together and make our own pizzas. Joe isn’t a super confident cook, so this is also great for him from that perspective, too!
I can’t emphasise how easy this is to make, and how cheap! We usually buy the dough ingredients from Morrisons, and the toppings from Aldi – I find our local Aldi doesn’t sell bread flour, or fast action yeast, but toppings are much cheaper than they are in “regular” supermarkets, so it’s definitely worth splitting your shop if you can. Depending on what we can get from which supermarket, 2 pizzas will cost £2-£3 to make. Obviously buying all the ingredients in the first place costs more than that, but not much!
Anyway, enough waffle – lets crack in to the recipe!
Quick, easy, homemade from scratch pizza
Makes: 2 pizzas Prep: 25 mins Cook: 10 mins Can it freeze? Yes! I make extra and freeze both the dough and the tomato sauce.
For the base
- 300g strong white bread flour (plus extra for surface dusting)
- 1 tsp (or, about half a sachet) instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 200ml warm water
For the tomato sauce
- 100ml passata or chopped tomatoes (whichever texture you prefer)
- Handful of fresh basil (or 1tsp dried)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed (or 1tsp puree/lazy garlic)
- Squeeze of ketchup (trust me)
- Squeeze of tomato purée (I prefer the extra concentrated ones)
- Salt & pepper to taste
For the topping
Whatever the f*ck you like. We usually buy:
- Pre-grated mozzarella (or torn mozzarella balls if we’re feeling fancy)
- A pack of pre-sliced cured meat of some description from Aldi
And that will get us through a LOT of pizza. But honestly – use whatever the heck you want.
Equipment you’ll need
- A large bowl
- A small bowl or saucepan
- A wooden spoon
- Greaseproof paper
- A baking sheet per pizza
- Rolling pin (or, more realistically, a wine bottle. Ideally without the label)
- A large-ish, flat surface
- A small towel of some shape or description
First up, let’s make the base…
- Put the flour into a large bowl and stir in the yeast and salt.
- Make a well in the middle and pour in the warm water and olive oil.
- Bring together with a wooden spoon until the dough is soft and fairly wet.
- Tip onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Can recommend listening to ‘One Love’ by Blue if you want to get a good rhythm going/get a bit of an arm exercise whilst you’re at it.
- Put back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and set aside. You don’t have to leave it to rise if you don’t have time, but if you do leave it for a short while it will rise more in the oven – depends on what kind of pizza base you’re after!
Next up, the sauce…
I personally prefer the sauce once it has been cooked and cooled down first, but it’s perfectly fine cold! If you’re like me, cook it before making the dough and leave to fully cool whilst you’re making it and letting it rise. If you don’t mind it cold, quickly make it whilst the dough is rising – it takes a matter of minutes.
- Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl if serving cold, a pan if cooking first.
- If cooking, simmer on a hob for about 30 minutes, until it’s lightly bubbling and all the flavours are mixing together. Allow to fully cool before you add to the base.
- If serving cold, leave to stand at room temperature whilst you get on with shaping the base.
Next is fun part: rolling out the dough, topping and baking…
- Cut 2 pieces of greaseproof paper and put on the back of a baking tray (it’s flatter – cooks better without the lip of the tray. Bonus points if you own one of those pizza baking trays!)
- Heat oven to 240C/gas 8.
- Split the dough into 2 balls. (If you’ve let it rise first, give it a quick knead before you do this!)
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough into whatever shape will fit onto your trays. Totally round? Awesome. We often have to make ours slightly more oval shaped to fit on the baking trays.
- It will rise in the oven, so keep that in mind and don’t roll it too thick!
- Lift the bases onto the greaseproof paper covered trays.
- Smooth sauce over the bases with the back of a spoon.
- Scatter with toppings!
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until crisp. Might take more like 15 if you’re oven is a bit shit like mine.
And that’s it! The easiest, quickest, tastiest, completely homemade pizza EVER. And, to make it even easier, you can batch-make the dough and freeze it in individual portions. (Would recommend wrapping it in greaseproof paper for when it defrosts, otherwise it will probably stick to whatever you’ve frozen it in). Just take it out of the freezer the morning before you want it, then all you have to do is roll it out and top it!
Even cheaper than a tempting Two For Tuesday…