Stone Baked Pizza – without a wood fired oven

I am not averse to Domino’s Pizza, in fact I love Domino’s and their permanent two for one offer down in Kusadasi is a traditional treat we give ourselves at the end of every dental patient’s treatment – weird but there you go! But it is quite a long way to Kusadasi and when I saw a recipe on Masterchef Australia (totally brilliant foodie porn prog) for a guaranteed crispy home baked pizza I thought I would try it.

Getting a thin and crispy base is a problem with home cooked pizza unless you have a handie Jamie Oliver type wood fired pizza oven in your garden. I don’t, because I took it down and built a pool in place of it when I renovated the house, (something I have failed to kick myself over as I love my pool). So I needed an alternative and Masterchef solved the problem.

Unglazed tile

First – find an unglazed tile. Terracotta is brilliant but in my case porcelain was all that was available and it worked just as well as terracotta.

Next make up a batch of pizza dough. I normally use the following method – take 700g of plain (or bread) flour. Add a sachet of dried yeast (7g). Mix with a fork. Add two teaspoons of sugar (makes it crispy) and a teaspoon of dried oregano. Then add 60ml of good olive oil and stir.

Draw the edges into the middle to form a dough

Next comes the water, if you are making this in Turkey in stupid hot weather it doesn’t need to be that hot, just with the chill taken off should be fine as a slowly activated dough is better than a fast activated one. Anyway, add 300ml of water. Pour it on top of the oil and dry ingredients and mix briefly. Then tip the whole lot out onto your work surface and start to work the pile into a dough by bringing the outsides into the middle and squashing it all together.

Five minutes of kneading to break down gluten and form a soft elastic dough

Shortly you should have a lump of dough, not too sticky and kind of smooth and elastic. Knead this for five minutes (see piccie). They dump in an oiled bowl, scatter over some more oregano, cover with clingfilm and put out in the sun for half an hour until it has doubled in size.

Place in an oiled bowl, scatter with oregano and cover with clingfilm

After about 1/2 hour it should be doubled in size

Now take your ceramic floor tile and put it in a hot oven (220 degrees). You should be able to make three eight inch pizzas from this dough so split it into three, knead again briefly and on a floured surface push each lump out into a circle. Try and make it as thin as you can. Now cover again and leave to prove for a further 15 minutes.

Push out into a rough circle with your fingers

Proove for a further 15 minutes

You can top your pizza with pretty much anything you like. For this pizza I used some left over tomato sauce I had lurking in the fridge, a mozzarella cheese ripped up, some shavings of parmesan, one more drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of fresh rosemary.

Top with tomato sauce, chunks of mozzarella, shavings of parmesan, fresh rosemary and a drizzle of oil

Slide onto the tile and cook for five or six minutes

Brush the edges with more olive oil and serve

Once topped slide your pizza onto a floured board, open the oven and slip the pizza onto the hot tile in the oven. It should cook really quickly, say five or six minutes. The base will be baked, the sides will rise and the topping bubbling. Once out of the oven brush the edges with more olive oil for a nice shine and enjoy!