How to make the most of a sunny, breeze-free weekend; by cracking out some pizza with the help of hungry offspring of course writes Sandra Tate…
I’m an incorrigible bread maker, making all our bread and brioche for as many years as I can remember. Most of our bread is now sourdough and is perfect for making a Kamado Joe pizza as it gives a resilient crust and base. If you don’t happen to keep a pet sourdough starter in your fridge it’s probably a step too far for you to start now, so I’m giving you a very good alternative dough recipe. As for toppings – we all have our favourites, but a good homemade tomato sauce is the bedrock of any pizza so I’m giving you my version. Over that we enjoyed a simple mushroom, basil & mozzarella version; a tuna, red onion & spinach; and my personal favourite of spinach and goats’ cheese with sun-blush tomato. We also have bowls of olives, rocket and basil leaves, and chilli oil to hand to add as it comes off the pizza stone.
The pizza dough will take 1 hour to rise so best to prepare that and the tomato sauce first, then get the Kamado Joe fired up with the heat deflector at the low level and grid with pizza stone above – your looking for a temperature of around 325°C/625°F.
Basic Pizza Recipe – makes 4-5 x 250mm pizza bases
For the dough
500g strong white bread flour, 10g fresh yeast, or equivalent of dried yeast, 50ml olive oil, 300ml lukewarm water, & 2 tsp salt
For the tomato sauce
1 can of chopped tomatoes, 1 clove garlic, peeled & crushed to a pulp, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp sugar, & 1 tsp salt
For the dough… Place crumbled yeast, warm water and olive oil in a large mixing bowl and leave for 5 minutes. Now add flour and salt and bring together into a dough with a plastic scraper, making sure that all flour is incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead for 5 minutes by stretching and turning (do not add more flour!) until the dough is smooth and elastic. Return it to the bowl and cover the rim with cling film to prevent the dough from developing a dry surface. Leave in a warm place for an hour until doubled in size. Turn out onto a floured surface, divide into 4-5 equal pieces and form into balls. Leave to rest for a few minutes before stretching.
For the tomato sauce…
Pour the content of the can of tomatoes together with the remaining ingredients into a frying pan and simmer over a medium heat. Use a wooden spatula to press the chopped pieces as the cook so that you achieve a smooth tomato paste. Simmer gently for around 12-15 minutes or until all excess moisture has been cooked away and you have a thick sauce remaining. Set aside until required.
Work on one base at a time, leaving the remaining dough balls loosely covered with cling film. Stretch your dough to 250mm and sit on a pizza pale that is well dusted with flour or semolina. Paste the base with a spoon of tomato sauce and top, sparingly, with chosen toppings. An overloaded pizza with not only be soggy when cooked, but also probably unwilling to leave the pizza pale when you try to move it to the pizza stone. Mine took around 12 minutes to cook – it seems rather a long time but experience has shown that a too hot pizza stone will burn the base before the topping it suitably coloured. If this is your first attempt at pizza cooking on your Kamado Joe be very vigilant!