Nothing beats a pizza with an authentic Italian pizza base, and this  Margherita pizza is a keeper.

Serves 4

Ingredients

pizza dough, stretched (see dough recipe below)

12 tbs tomato sauce (see note below)

Extra-virgin olive oil

32g fresh mozzarella

12  basil leaves, roughly torn

Method

Place a pizza stone or tiles on the middle rack of your oven and turn heat to its highest setting. Let it heat for at least an hour.

Put the sauce in the centre of the stretched dough and use the back of a spoon to spread it evenly across the surface, stopping 1cm from the edges.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the dough.

Break the cheese into large pieces and place these gently on the sauce.

Scatter basil leaves (optional olives) over the top.

Using a pizza peel, pick up the pizza and slide it onto the heated stone or tiles in the oven.

Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, 4 to 8 minutes.

Note: In a food processor, whiz together whole, drained canned tomatoes, a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Keep leftover sauce refrigerated. 

How to make the dough

  • 600 ml of warm water
  • 7 cups (1kg) flour, type “00”
  • 2.5 – 3 tablespoons (25 grams) of fresh yeast or 2 teaspoons (7-8 grams) of dried yeast.
  • 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Note: An all-purpose flour should work just as well.

Method

1. Sprinkle the yeast into a medium bowl with the lukewarm water. Stir until the yeast dissolves.

2. Place almost all of the flour on the table in the shape of a volcano. 

3. Pour the yeast-and-warm-water mix, along with the other ingredients, into the “crater” of the volcano.

4. Knead everything together for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic, keeping your surface floured.

5. Grease up a bowl with some olive oil and put the dough inside. Turn the dough around so the top is slightly oiled.

6. Cover the bowl and put the dough aside to let it rest for at least four or five hours.

7. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

9. Dump the dough out of the bowl and back onto the floured surface. Punch it down, getting rid of any bubbles. 

10. Divide the dough in half and let it rest for a few minutes.

11. Roll each section into a 12-inch disc. Now’s your chance to decide how thick you want your pizza to be. Just remember, your crust will puff up a little bit as it’s baked.

12.  Transfer the dough onto an oiled pizza pan or baking sheet.

13. Bake each pizza for about 10 minutes before adding toppings