Is there a child who doesn’t love pizza? This popular Italian-origin treat arrived in this country in the mid-1950s and has grown in popularity ever since. We’re big fans of the pizza here at Selwood HQ and ClimbingFramesUK.
Pizzas are made from relatively cheap ingredients – unless you decide you want slithers of shaved rare truffles and freshly picked wild lettuce on yours, in which case it will cost you £100 – but take-away pizzas can add up cost-wise. In addition, take-away pizzas often contain high levels of salt, sugar and fat making them a very unhealthy choice.
It’s really easy to make pizza yourself. We have suggested you also make the base yourself, but you can also buy pre-made bases or slice up baguettes or French bread and use that instead as your base. Another great idea is to get your children to help out. Children can help to knead the dough if you decide to make your own base, and they can also decide on their own toppings. Put the toppings out in bowls and get your kids to choose what they want to go on each individual pizza base.
HOME-MADE PIZZAS – makes 4-5
• 250g strong white bread flour
• 250g strong wholemeal bread flour
• 1tsp salt
• 1tsp sugar
• 2tbsp olive oil
• 1 x 7g sachet yeast
• 300ml warm water
OR – 2 x Napolina large pizza bases
• 2 x 400g tins chopped tomato
• 2tbsp olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 x 125g balls Mozzarella, sliced thinly
Additional topping options
• Thinly sliced mushrooms
• Slices of ham
• Thinly sliced red and green peppers
• Freshly grated Parmesan or cheddar
If you are going to prepare the pizza bases yourself, you will need to start preparation two to three hours in advance to allow the dough to rise. Sieve together the flours in a large bowl and mix in the sugar and salt. Add the oil, the yeast and the warm water and mix until the dough comes together. Turn out on an oiled surface and knead well for 5-10 minutes until you have a smooth, elasticated dough. There are good instructions for kneading here.
Put the dough into a lightly-floured bowl, cover with the top of the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour and a half. The dough should double in size.
Divide the dough into four or five pieces and roll out into thin circles (remember the dough will rise again, so thin is best). Place on baking trays (you may need to bake in batches, depending on the size of your oven) and leave for a further 20 minutes in a draught-free place to rise again.
Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 200g C and prepare the topping. Liquidise the chopped tomatoes with the garlic and olive oil. Spread this on the pizza bases (after the 20 minutes additional rising time), and top with the sliced mozzarella. Get the kids to pick out their favourite additional toppings from the sliced mushrooms, grated cheese, sweetcorn and sliced peppers.
Cook the pizzas for 15 to 20 minutes. The bases should sound hollow when tapped.