Cooking Italian food is fun and easy, and once you know how to make an authentic Italian pizza dough the possibilities are endless!
Here's our guide to why it's best to make it yourself.
Dough tossing at our favourite
pizzeria in Rome.
Ready-made cheap pizza bases are widely available now in supermarkets and delicatessens. So why would anyone go to the trouble of learning how to make their own?
Easy! - Taste, cost and satisfaction!
Shop-bought products tend to be bland and tasteless. Homemade dough can include the best ingredients, taste absolutely delicious, be quick and easy to make and still produce a very cheap pizza.
As for the satisfaction - anyone who has ever kneaded dough knows how rewarding working the mixture with your own hands can be!
And of course, there's the satisfaction of your family and friends complimenting you on the beautiful light base they're tucking into.
Cooking Italian food differs from region to region and pizzas are no exception.
Different areas of Italy have different traditions : in the Sorrento district, for example, pizzas are often rectangular.
Neapolitans, who genuinely believe no-one else in the world knows anything about pizzas, like a thicker base with a rim; in Rome the bases are thinner and don't have a rim - Roman toppings tend to be thicker and stay in place without.
The ingredients for a basic authentic Italian dough are very simple : yeast, flour, salt, and water. Many people also add a little olive oil (although Neapolitans nearly die of shock if you suggest that!).
The best flour to use is the Italian 'doppio zero' (00) which is more finely ground and makes a lovely, smooth dough. However, it's not essential and any strong bread flour will work fine.
We also use brown flour sometimes for a change, although in Italy you will never find health concerns getting in the way of a 'proper' dough!
Use the best olive oil you can afford - extra virgin gives an amazing taste - and if possible, a fine sea salt rather than table salt.
If you don't want to use it immediately (say within fifteen minutes), don't leave it standing around - it will dry out and become hard and brittle.
It will keep well if wrapped in cling-film (Saran wrap) and left in the refridgerator until you need it.
It can also be frozen - we always save the left-over bits, knead them so they come together, and wrap them in cling-film. The kneaded dough will keep in a freezer for several months. More cheap pizza for a tiny effort!
If we're short on time, we do also make our dough in our bread maker - but don't tell our friends in Italy. They'd think all their efforts to teach us cooking Italian food had gone to waste!
Now have a look at our simple, delicious basic pizza dough recipe - you'll really taste the difference!
Here are more of our inexpensive, authentic Italian pizza recipes to delight you and your hungry family!
If you love making pizzas, you'll have fun making our authentic Italian pasta recipes too!