I made my first pizza when I was 11 years old or maybe sooner. It was from the Ladybird children’s recipe book series. It took me hours to make the dough alone. I would cautiously warm the water, add the sugar and slowly pour in the yeast granules, watching the little globules scatter delicately into the water below. I then stirred it and glowed at the transformation taking place before my eyes. My favorite spot was leaving it in the sun near the swimming pool and watching it slowly bubble away. Mixing the dough was a feat I cherished. I spent more time than needed, kneading it. I loved the warm, squishy dough squeezing between my fingers.
I have since forgotten the exact recipe but here is my grown up version of it.
Ingredient for the Pizza Dough
3/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons honey
2 1/4 teaspoons active yeast
2 cups bread flour or all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra
Make the pizza dough
Drizzle the honey into the warm water and stir in the yeast.
Leave the yeast mixture to rise in a warm place for about 10 minutes.
In a separate mixing bowl, sift in the flour and salt.
Lightly rub in the sour cream.
Make a well in the center.
Pour the yeast mixture onto the flour and mix with a wooden spoon, stirring in one direction to develop the gluten. Do this until the all the liquid is absorbed. The dough will be slightly sticky.
Drizzle a little oil at a time into the palm of your hand and gently knead into the dough. Continue kneading the dough until the oil is finished.
Place the soft and velvety dough into a well oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Leave to rise in a warm place for a few hours or even overnight if you like.
Ingredients for the Pizza
1 cup or more marinara sauce, a good quality sauce makes all the difference
1 1/2 – 2 cups Shredded Mexican blend cheese
20 Kalamata olives, sliced
1 cup farmers cheese or ricotta cheese or 8 oz mozzarella cheese, torn into chunks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
black pepper and salt to taste
To assemble and bake the pizza
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Using extra olive oil press dough with fingertips into a large pizza tray. Stretching and pressing as you go.
Spread the marinara sauce over the dough.
Scatter on the shredded cheese.
Mix one cup of farmers cheese with the heavy cream, black pepper and salt.
Dollop over the pizza. Scatter on the olives.
Pop into the hot oven and bake for 20 mins.
Remove from the tray and slide the pizza directly onto the oven rack.
Bake for another 15 mins until desired crispness.
Remove and let it cool for a few minutes before digging in!
I use the microwave to keep the yeast or dough to rise.