Hello lovely people, I have been wanting to share my Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza recipe with you for ages. The trouble is I always forget to photograph the pizza once it’s cooked. I’m sorry, too many blonde moments! Yesterday though, I was resolute. That pizza was getting it’s picture taken no matter what.
Pizza Love And Baking With Kids:
So, I have been making pizzas with our children and many of their friends who’ve come to dinner, since, well, they could stand on a chair and smoosh pizza dough about. And over the years we’ve had various shaped pizzas, including; guinea pigs, batman (and pretty much every superhero a little boy could think of), lemons, flowers, cats, hearts and many more. It’s a great cop out. Invite your children’s friends for dinner, then get them to make it. First of all, they absolutely love it, secondly, I’ve never had a child who didn’t want to make their own pizza and lastly every single piece of their creation gets eaten. Also there’s no worrying about fussy eaters, just allow them to decorate their own pizza, whatever it’s shape, with a selection of toppings; pepperoni makes a great piggies snout.
Resulting in the perfect child friendly combination, messy hands, creativity and they bake and eat their creation. Because each child’s pizza is different, they happily chatter over the dinner table deciding whose is the biggest, most realistic, it literally goes on and on. I kinda miss those days. These days all 3 children can make large pizzas for the whole family, with a bowl of salad or homemade coleslaw to go alongside.
I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends!
These pizzas are made from scratch except for one teeny tiny cheat. I use a 500g bag of Ciabatta bread mix, instead of making the pizza bases from scratch. Although I have made ciabatta pizza dough from scratch in the past, Wright’s Ciabatta Bread Mix gives such a fantastically crunchy, crisp crust, that is reliable and a lot less work than making your own!
Recipe: Makes 2 Large Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza – serves 6 Adults.
500g Bag Ciabatta Bread Mix – Olive oil according to packet instructions, plus 2 tbsp extra – I use Wright’s – bread mixes are available from Morrison’s, The Co-Op, Sainsbury’s and Asda, as well as directly from their website.
Tomato purée – approx 4tbsp – I use Waitrose own brand
Optional – Dried Oregano/ Mixed Herbs – 1tsp per large pizza. When baking with kiddies I don’t add any herbs.
300g Mozzarella – drained weight
Toppings – I used a Spanish charcuterie selection : Serrano ham, Chorizo and Salchichon – use whatever you like, mushrooms, meatballs, sweet corn, bell peppers, sliced chillis, more cheese. The options and combinations are endless!
Making The Ciabatta Pizza Base
First of all, make the Ciabatta bread dough according to the packet instructions. I use my bread maker to mix, prove and knock back. Alternatively a stand mixer with dough hook attachment works well. Also you can make the dough by hand. Leave the dough to prove.
While the pizza dough is proving thoroughly oil 2 x 38cm x 28cm (14″ x 11.5″) baking trays. I prefer to use trays as it creates a crunchy pizza crust and avoids any molten cheese drips dropping and burning on the oven base.
Shaping The Pizza
As soon as the dough has reached the knocked back stage tip the dough on to one of the baking sheets. Rub the palms of your hands over the oiled baking sheet, this will stop the dough sticking to them.
Now comes the fun bit. Especially for children or the child within us! Using your hands pat the dough out so that it is flat.
If you haven’t got a child or someone else to do the other pizza base, repeat with the second half of the dough.
Leave the pizza bases, covered in oiled cling film, in a warm place until doubled in size, or placed on separate shelves in the fridge for a few hours until needed.
Time To Add The Toppings
When the pizza is ready to assemble, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F.
I find it easiest to have all the ingredients prepped and ready before I start assembling the pizza. In fact when I make pizza with little people, reckon on 1 x 500g batch of pizza dough to make 4-6 individual pizzas. I also have ham, cheese, sliced peppers (they make great light sabres) in bowls ready for little fingers.
Place 2tbsp tomato purée on each pizza base – smoosh with the back of a spoon or your hands to roughly cover the dough.
Now add the cheese and other toppings. I have learnt it is best not to overload with toppings, as you will end up with a soggy pizza base.
Baking The Pizza
As soon as both of the Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizzas are ready, place in a hot, preheated oven and bake for 20-30 minutes.
The pizzas are cooked when they are crusty around the edges and cooked through in the centre. I test this using a knife, the centre won’t be as crusty as the edges but you should feel resistance. If it’s still soft give the pizza another 5 minutes baking, reducing the heat slightly if the top is cooked.
Using a palette knife loosen the pizza around the edges and run it underneath. Slide the pizza out of the baking tray onto a large wooden board, or I have glass worktop saver (don’t use knives on glass it’ll blunt them) which I only use for pizzas. Cut into squares using a pizza cutter. I usually get 15 squares per pizza.
This Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza is so easy, adaptable and reliable that makes it perfect for parties, buffets, weekend meals, sleepovers the list is endless. The perfect food for Feasting, Sharing and having Fun!
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Homemade pizza can be so much fun. Since you are fully in control of the toppings you can add as much, or little as you like of your favourites. Also you can adapt parts of the pizza to suit individual tastes. For example by adding chopped jalapeño pepper to one half and not the other. Likewise, for those who dislike cheese, it is easily omitted.
Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.
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