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As Hugh says in River Cottage Everyday, 'There's pizza and there's pizza.' Once you've had a go at this easy dough and baked your first proper pizza, you'll never look back.


To make the dough, combine the flours and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast warm water

and oil to the flour, mix to form a rough dough, then turn out on to a lightly floured surface

and knead for about 10 minutes, until silky and elastic. Don’t be tempted to add too much

extra flour, even if the dough seems sticky – it will become less so as you knead.

Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it so it gets a coating of oil, cover with cling

film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size; this will probably take at least an


Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce, if using: heat the oil in a frying pan over a gentle heat.

Add the garlic and let it sizzle very gently for a minute or so. As soon as it starts to turn

golden, add the tomatoes. Let them bubble gently, stirring often, for 10–15 minutes, until

you have a thick sauce. Transfer to a jug and purée with a stick blender (if you do it in the

pan, the sauce will go everywhere), or just crush the chunks of tomato in the pan with a fork

until you have a reasonably smooth sauce. Season to taste with salt, pepper and the sugar.

Preheat the oven to 250°C/Gas Mark 10, or as high as it will go, and put 2 baking sheets in

it to heat up.

Punch the risen dough down with your hands to knock it back on a floured surface and cut

it into 4 or 5 pieces. Use a rolling pin or your hands (or both), to roll and stretch each piece

into a thin circle or square, or a strange, amoeba-type shape,

whichever you prefer; it should be no more than 5mm thick – thinner if you can get away

with it.

Carefully take one of your hot baking sheets from the oven, scatter it with a little flour or,

even better, some cornmeal, polenta or semolina, and lay the pizza base on it. Thinly spread

a little tomato sauce – a couple of dessertspoons should be enough – over the dough. Now

add the toppings of your choice and grind over some pepper. Bake for 10–12 minutes, until

the base is crisp and golden brown at the edges.

While it is cooking, roll out the next piece of dough, and prepare the next pizza in the same

way. Serve hot, in big slices, trickled with a little more oil.

Serving suggestions


Scraps of air-dried or cooked ham, or crisp nuggets of cooked bacon or chorizo

An egg, broken on to the pizza just before baking

A handful of sliced mushrooms, sautéed in oil with garlic until dry

Cheese – strips of buffalo mozzarella, coarsely grated hard cheese or crumbled blue or goat’s cheese

Coarsely chopped olives

Anchovies, rinsed and drained

Sardines in oil, drained and coarsely flaked


Roughly chopped rosemary or thyme

For adding after baking:

Shredded basil or rocket, or torn flat-leaf parsley, or thyme leaves

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For the pizza dough:

500g bread flour (usually white)

10g fine sea salt

5g dried or fast-action yeast 350ml warm water

2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil

Cornmeal, or fine polenta or semolina, for dusting (optional)

For the quick tomato sauce (optional):

2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely sliced

2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes (or 1 tin plus a jar of passata)

A pinch of sugar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

This recipe is taken from...

Every Day