Lots of people ask me for my pizza recipes. I first learned to make pizza from my grandfather Albert Fascia (dcd. 2004). I have fond memories of him laying the sheets of dough out in front of the fireplace to leaven overnight draped in a damp tea towel. I am not faithful to his original recipe as I have explored deeper the art of pizza making, but I cannot deny the strong early influence his methods had on me.

Preparing the basic dough (l’impasto)

INGREDIENTS

  • Strong white bread flour (Type 00 best)
  • Semolina
  • Dried baker’s yeast
  • Honey
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Natural yeast (Lievito madre) * optional but highly recommended

INTRUCTIONS

Stage one – Dough sponge

  1. Add 350ml blood warm water to a bowl
  2. Add 250g white bread flour, 1 tbsp honey, 50g semolina flour
  3. Add 5g dried baker’s yeast and mix into a smooth paste
  4. Cover with cling film and leave at room temperature until a sponge develops full of carbon dioxide bubbles (overnight is best)
  5. Add 50g of lievito madre

Stage two – Finish the dough

  1. Add 2tbsp salt and a good slug of olive oil
  2. Add 250g more white flour
  3. Mix together to bring together a rough dough
  4. Dust surface with flour and knead into smooth elastic dough for 10mins. It may seem too wet initially, and more dusting flour may be added but as the glutens activate the dough will come together
  5. Place the dough patty back into the bowl and cover with damp towel.
  6. Allow to rise for minimum 24hrs before using. If you intend to use later, place in fridge after 24hrs (optimum usage time at 72hrs)

Using the dough

  1. Remove from fridge – dough will be hard and cold
  2. Tear/cut off a piece for pizza making as required. Be careful to handle gently to preserve the bubbles
  3. Form a rough shape square or round as required
  4. Prod and stretch into shape with fingertips being careful not to bash the bubbles out of the dough
  5. Once in desired pizza shape allow to rise again whilst you heat oven (min 30mins). The dough will re-soften and rise again
  6. Add toppings at last minute to prevent soaking dough
  7. Bake on pre-heated stone or baking tray for 10-15mins or until golden as preferred. Thicker dough needs longer.