Spinach, Red Onion & Goat Cheese Pizza
Once you've tried a home made pizza, you'll never think of buying a frozen one. Or any ready made bases for that matter.
Making pizza from scratch is a fun thing to do on a Saturday evening and it gives you a lot of satisfaction once it's finished. The smell of the yeasty dough is almost therapeutic. Making fresh pizzas is very easy to do once you understand the basics: perfect conditions - not too cold and not too warm for your yeast, perfect time - a good time for yeast to rise, and perfect kneading - good workout for your hands to make the most delicious and crisp base. If you get all that, then you can start mastering the art of endless pizza possibilities. And if you get addicted to it, you can start investing in a good pizza stone and other handy accessories which will definitely improve the experience.
This dough is really foolproof. I have never had any issues with it and it always comes out really smooth and incredibly soft. If you follow all the steps below, you will definitely have a great result and will not have a one single problem with it, even stretching this dough will be insanely easy. Have fun and eat more home made pizza!
- 250g white flour
- 1tbsp of olive oil
- 1/2 sachet of fast action dried yeast
- 150 ml of warm water
- a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt
- big bunch of fresh spinach
- 1 red onion
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- some goat cheese
Put the yeast and sugar in a tall glass or a jug and cover with warm water. Stir a little bit and let it rise for 10 minutes (you will see a froth forming on top and that means it is ready). The ideal temperature of water is between 120° to 130°F (use thermometer if you are a beginner). This is very important to create the best environment for the yeast to develop and give best flavour and texture. If the water is too cool it might take too much time or never develop at all. But it is important that the water is not too hot as well as it might kill the yeast completely (kill point occurs at 140°F).
In a large bowl combine flour and salt, mix it a little bit, and then add the foamed up yeast. Give it another quick stir with your fingers and then add the olive oil.
Now knead the dough for about 7 to 10 minutes until elastic, springy and soft. This step is really important. You need to knead the dough for at least 5 minutes for the gluten strands to develop to get a crunchy crust with a soft, chewy interior. This task might be challenging at the beginning and will make you want to quit half way, but trust me, it will be well worth it.
To make sure the dough is ready poke it with a finger and it should spring back into shape. It cannot be sticky but has to be moist to touch.
Roll the dough into a ball and put it into a lightly greased bowl. Cover the top of the bowl with some plastic wrap or a damp clean teacloth and put it aside to a warm place for about 40 minutes to an hour for the dough to rise. It needs to double in size, so it might take a bit longer if your room is not warm enough.
While the dough is rising prepare your topping. Glaze the onion in a pan with some olive oil and garlic. Add spinach and fry for a couple of minutes and put it aside. Shred or crumble some cheese.
Preheat your oven to the max. Stretch your dough evenly to form any pizza shape you like. Put the dough onto a very lightly oiled baking tray and arrange your topping. Bake until the dough is golden brown. If you are using a pizza stone, leave it in the oven while preheating and let it warm up for 10 minutes. Then take the stone out, place your pizza and put it back into the oven. Bake until golden (shouldn't take more than 10min.)