Making a Pizza From scrAtch

Making a pizza is easy once you've nailed it. As with most Italian cooking, a pizza consists of only a handful of ingredients. You can make an average dough, use average ingredients and shop bought sauce and you'll end up with an average pizza. Chances are though, if made fresh and cooked in a wood fired oven, it will still be a million times better than something you'd buy at Pizza Hut, Dominos or maybe even your local Italian pizzeria so don't think you have to be a master at everything. That will come with experience and experimentation.

However..... if you go the extra mile and make an exceptional dough and sauce, using great ingredients and add them to a hand stretched pizza base..... the result will be exceptional. So.... here we go:



  • 1kg of 00 Caputo Pizzeria flour
  • 600ml cold water
  • 20g sea salt
  • 3g fresh yeast


Combine the salt, water and yeast and give it stir till all dissolved.

Add the flour and mixed till combined. Leave to stand for 20 mins. Kneed till smooth and stretchy. A machine with dough hook is great for this.

Set aside in an oiled bowl with cling film placed loosely over the top. Place in a fridge and leave for 3 days.

Take the dough from the bowl. I find this quantity of dough nicely makes enough dough balls to create 8 thin 10"-12" pizzas, so divide into 8.

Make it into nice round dough balls. The dough should be dry enough where you can handle it without the need for flour or oil. If it's mega sticky and all over your hands and work surface then it's too wet. Add some flour and kneed further.

So, dough balls.... It's very important you get this stage correct. A round dough ball will make a round pizza. A wonky dough ball will make a wonky pizza. Don't use flour as you want the dough balls to come together on the underside and stick together to 'close' the ball. You also don't want to dry the surface of the dough as this will create a tough 'skin' which will stop it from rising properly and puffing up in the oven. This is a great video below to show you how to do it. I can't do it like this guy though! He's got skillz!

At this point, if you don't intend on using all of the dough balls, wrap any you're not going to use in cling film and pop in the freezer to use for quick, easy pizza some other time.

Once you have your dough balls. Pop them into an airtight container at room tempt and let them triple in size. Leave enough space between them so they don't mingle into one massive blob. This can take around 4-8 hours depending upon room temperature. Now they're ready to make into bases. If you don't want to use them just yet, pop them back into the fridge to stop them rising excessively. This will slow down the yeast.

For Neapolitan style pizza ALWAYS HAND STRETCH. Don't use a rolling pin. This is very important. You get a very different, pizza if a rolling pin is used. Mix semolina and flour 50/50. Coat the dough and push down in the middle working out towards the edges. Don't touch the edges though. Always keep half an inch or so away from the edges. Once it's 6 or 7" in diameter, using only the ends of your fingers and not your palms, start to stretch the dough as per the video below. You can pick the dough up when you get a bit more confident and use your fists to stretch it but it works just fine doing it on the work surface. Watch my video below.

If you don't want a stunning, puffy, bubbly, chewy yet crispy crust (shame on you) then attack it with a rolling pin. In the eyes of the pizza gods you're going to hell. It's ruined. Seriously though.... it's your pizza, you know how you like it, hand stretch or roll if you like. My missus likes it rolled by the way as she prefers a thin crunchy crust.

There you go. You've got a pizza base (hopefully).



For the sauce. Take a tin of quality whole plum tomatoes (not chopped), add half a tube of tomato purée, half a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of black pepper and two teaspoons of dried basil. That's it. Whizz it up with a hand whizzer or blender. DON'T WHIZZ IT TO DEATH. Literally just enough until the sauce spreads nicely. The more you whizz it, the wetter it makes the sauce which in-turn will make your pizza base wet when applied.

Some people like to make complicated sauces with fried garlic, lots of spices and herbs and simmer it for hours on end.... personally I feel the more you mess with a sauce the more it starts to resemble a shop or takeaway bought pizza. Keep it simply, keep it fresh, keep it tasty. I'm quite lazy too so my sauce suits me just fine as it takes about a minute to make:)

Only apply sauce when you're ready to cook your pizza. Leaving your pizza with sauce on for a long time will cause your base to go soggy!

Apply the sauce, starting at the middle and using the back of a spoon or ladle to push it out towards the crust. Keep the sauce off the crust! Apply some fresh basil leaves, apply a little cheese. I use a 70/30 mozzarella/cheddar mix. Sometimes I use fresh mozzarella too. Personally I prefer the grated stuff. The fresh mozzarella looks fancier though.

Add your toppings such as mushrooms, cured meats, onions, artichokes...... whatever you fancy. The key thing here is not to go silly with the toppings. The reason a Pizza Hut pizza takes 10 minutes to cook is due to the sheer volume of toppings they add. They're cooked for longer and at a lower temperature. You can't add this kind of quantity of toppings to a pizza that's going to cook in 90 seconds at 400˚C.

Less is more when dealing with wood fired pizza toppings.

Apply a drizzle of olive oil over the pizza. Chilli oil if you fancy a bit of heat. Add a few splashes of Tabasco sauce if desired. I love the Habanero Tabasco sauce. Pop it in the pizza oven at around 350°C - 400˚C and cook till done! 90 seconds or so. Don't forget to turn it regularly.


Play with your temps till you get even cooking on the base and grilling on the top. This was cooked in a Uuni 2S and it came out bang on.
All pizzas in this article cooked on the Uuni 2S
Created By
Chris Phillips

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