Classic Pizza Dough
(adapted from the 'Pizza Express Cookbook')
Yield: 4 pizza bases
300ml (1/2 pint) warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
14g fast action dried yeast (Sainsbury's do packs of 7g sachets)
450g (16oz) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Measure out 300ml of warm water (about 27 degrees, if you have a thermometer, but as I don't I just finger-test it!), and then measure the sugar into it, stirring until dissolved.
2. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, before adding the fast-action yeast and salt.
3. Pour the sugar water into the dry ingredients. Lightly flour or oil your hands, then work the flour and liquid together until it becomes a coherent mass.
4. Sprinkle your work surface with a generous amount of flour and proceed to knead the dough for five minutes. There are a few different methods for doing this; mine involves lightly pulling at one corner and refolding it into the centre. I use the heel of my hand to keep the ball rotating on the surface. Sprinkle some more flour if the mixture is still sticky after a few minutes; or if you find it to be too dry, add a little more warm water.
5. Once your dough has been kneaded, rinse your mixing bowl, sprinkle with a little more flour, and place your dough ball in the centre. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave to stand for an hour.
6. After an hour, your dough should have risen to roughly twice its original size. Divide your dough ball into two, rolling them into individual balls and pinching together any cracks. Place back under a damp tea towel on a lightly floured board for twenty minutes.
7. After the additional twenty minutes, your dough will be ready to stretch out. I use this dough for both pizza bases and Pizza Express style garlic bread!