pizza marguerita
A classic Marguerita Pizza – with tomato, mozzerella and basil leaves

Pizza and dough recipes are all over the internet and vary from baker to pizzaiolo but there are few things which crop up again and again in almost every post or video: sugar and yeast and olive oil in the dough.

Contrary to what you may see or hear, you don’t need sugar to get yeast going. Just dissolve it in warm water and add it to your flour. Flour has enough sugar in the carbohydrate to activate the yeast. This goes for bread making as well. The dough will also taste better if retarded overnight in the fridge and then brought back to room temperature before you bake. The cooler the dough, the more it will ‘pop’ in the oven as the gas in the dough expands rapidly.

Olive oil is not traditionally added to a pizza dough. It is 00 flour, yeast, salt and water. Olive oil will make the dough softer and difficult to crust properly on the hot hearth and is not needed. It is added when topping the pizza, as a drizzle and will help to fuse the ingredients together.

As a well known pizzaiolo in the US quite rightly pointed out, pizza is NOT bread! Pizza is a leavened flatbread which should just bubble up in places and not puff up like a slice of Kingsmill. As a word, pizza is related to and derived from the ancient greek pita and similar breads are found all over the continent from pissaladiere in France all the way to Turkey’s pida and middle eastern pittah. Traditionally cooked at high heat in a brick oven, these breads are a staple food combined with simple fresh ingredients and not a dumping ground for anything that comes to hand from the fridge. The modern pizza has regional variations even within Italy and changed character somewhat when taken to the US with the deep pan pizza of Chicago. The humble pizza continues to evolve with new toppings added daily as the concept spreads across the globe.

Our recipe, which is baked whenever we fire up the wood-fired oven, is a thin crust pizza made from approx 300g of dough, stretched out by hand on a floured wooden peel and then baked in a very hot 450C oven. It is always cooked in under 90 seconds and usually a lot shorter, sometimes 45 seconds at the beginning of baking!

Guide to wood-fired cooking PDF (4mb)
This PDF file is kindly shared by Forno Bravo.