Everyone loves pizza. It's easy to create restaurant quality pizza at home with the Charlie Oven. Check out our topping combinations. It's easy to turn an everyday pizza like Margherita into something special by adding ingredients like Bresaola, rocket, parmesan shavings and truffle oil to finish the dish.
Homemade Pizza that tastes like it came from a Pizzeria
Making pizzas from scratch at home is very economical as well as lots of fun. Yes, you can buy the dough, but it's easy to make. The key to perfect pizza is following a few tips to stop it from sticking, and adding a few simple ingredients will make it taste more as if it came from a pizzeria.
500 g strong bread flour or Tipo '00' Flour - we love Maputo Flour
7 g of fast-acting yeast sachet.
9 g of fine sea salt
320 g water at room temperature.
A pinch of sugar - this helps to activate the yeast
Cooking mozzarella like Galvani Mozzarella Cucina
Slice this cheese into small chunks. It is perfect for pizzas as it has a lower water content than fresh mozzarella, which can make the pizza too wet.
Tomato sauce - either use a tin of tomatoes from the cupboard or buy a can of pizza sauce. A good quality tinned tomato like Mutti works beautifully and is cheaper.
Dried Oregano - make sure to add a dusting on top of the pizza or add a ¼ tsp to your tomato sauce.
Parmesan - this is the secret to delicious pizza, that salty kick balances out the milk mozzarella. Just a light dusting of finely grated Parmesan is enough.
The toppings are your choices, like black olives, chorizo, salami, pepperoni, tuna, peppers, chills, artichokes, and onions. You choose!
- Cooking mozzarella like Galvani Mozzarella Cucina
- Slice this cheese into small chunks. It is perfect for pizzas as it has a lower water content than fresh mozzarella, which can make the pizza too wet.
Make The Dough
For the dough, place the dry ingredients into a bowl of a food mixer with a dough hook. Make sure to keep the yeast and salt separate. Yeast doesn't activate well when combined directly with salt.
Make a well in the centre and add the water.
Mix until it forms a rough dough, then turn out onto a surface and knead for 6-10 minutes until you get a smooth pliable dough. Alternatively, pop the lot into a food mixer and set to mix on the dough setting for 6 minutes.
Place the dough in a bowl and cover well and leave to rest, the yeast will activate, and the dough will double in size within 30 minutes, then gently knock the dough back.
Spilt the dough into four sections and shape it into four dough balls. A tip is to cup your hands around the dough, moving it on the surface until it forms a tight ball of dough. Then, cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Now the dough is ready to use.
Heating The Charlie Oven
Place a pizza stone or two in the Charlie position the racks from the middle section upwards (avoid going too close to the flames). The pizza stones must go into the oven at the beginning of the heating process.
Add a couple of handfuls of charcoal on top of the grates. Place the charcoal so that it sits right at the back of the oven primarily on the last grate section.
Use good quality charcoal like Whittle and Flame. It is worth investing in quality as the burn is cleaner, hotter and faster to get to temperature. Add a natural fire lighter or two, light, open the vents, close the door and wait 25-30 minutes until the temperature dial reads 360 °C. Choke the air vents so that they are barely open. The oven will continue to rise in temperature and be ready to use at 375°C.
Shaping The Pizzas
Use a generous amount of semolina flour on your counter top for shaping the dough. Semolina won't stick to the dough.
Place your dough ball on top of the semolina and start by pressing your fingers into the centre of the dough and working your way out, leaving the rim of the dough higher. Press gently as you've created air pockets with the yeast and you don't want to over work the dough at this stage.
Next you can lift the dough up and holding onto the rim (very gently) you can stretch the dough along the rim, passing it through your fingers.
Lastly, you can place the dough over the top of your hands, making a fist shape with your hands to gently stretch the dough out.
Now you are ready to make your pizza. Before you start topping your pizza, we find that placing the dough directly onto the pizza peel first makes it easier to then load into the oven. Make sure the dough moves freely underneath and is not catching on the work surface. Add more semolina if it catches.
Adding Your Toppings
Get all your toppings out and ready to go. It saves time and allows everyone to pick their favourites.
Start with a little tomato sauce. The the number one mistake people make is adding too much tomato sauce. Putting too much on it won't cook in time and may make the centre soggy. So instead, take a dessert spoonful and put it in the centre of the dough, then using the back of the spoon, spread it in circles over the dough.
Add your favourite toppings. Again, don't over do it as the pizza will not bake well if it is overloaded.
Finish with some grated parmesan and a swirl of olive oil. Now it is ready for the oven.
Baking in the Charlie Oven
Using your pizza peel, place the pizza directly onto the pizza stone and shut the door. Leave the door shut for at least 2 minutes and not more than 3 minutes.
Check to see if it is ready (this will depend on the thickness of the dough). If it is not ready or more cooked on one side, swivel it around and place it back in the oven with the door closed for 30 seconds to a minute. Remove and serve!