Pizza Margherita

Serves 4
  • - chopped fresh herbs, eg basil or parsley
  • - 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • - 500g buffalo mozzarella
  • - oil, for greasing
  • - 1/2 tsp salt
  • - 125ml lukewarm water
  • - 500g '00' flour
  • - 1/2 fresh yeast cube

How to prepare:

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, 1 tsp flour and the lukewarm water. As the yeast begins to dissolve, the mixture will bubble and appear foamy on the top.

While the yeast is dissolving, combine the remaining flour and the salt in a large bowl or food processor. Add the yeast mixture and bring it all together with a spoon, then work the dough with your hands until it forms a ball. Turn it out onto a floured work surface and continue to knead for about 10-12 minutes. The dough will gradually become more elastic.

If you're using a food processor, simply pulse it a few times until the dough comes together. Knead by hand for a few minutes if you like but it usually isn't necessary. (It's a nice therapeutic activity, however.)

Shape the dough into a round.

Oil a large bowl and place the dough upside down in the bowl to coat the top with oil. Then turn it right side up again. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or a sheet of clingfilm and leave it in a warm area to rise for 3-4 hours.

To prepare the topping, dice the mozzarella and put onto a plate - the key is to let it dry, so put it in the fridge for 1 hour then drain off the excess moisture.

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Press down the centre of the dough to knock the air out, then fold the sides over and reshape into a ball. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and roll it out to fit your pizza pan or stone.

Spread the chopped tomatoes over the pizza in an even layer. Bake for about 10 minutes then remove from the oven. Place the diced mozzarella on the pizza along with the basil or parsley.

Use a spatula to loosen the pizza from the pan and place it directly on the oven rack for another 3-5 minutes or until the mozzarella has melted and the crust is browned (this last step is especially important if you don't have a perforated pizza pan and want a crisp crust).

Let the pizza rest for a minute before slicing to allow the cheese and other toppings to set.

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