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  • Writer's pictureMad Hatter

Overnight Pizza Recipe (Day 2) - Toppings & Baking

By now your dough should be well risen and if you stretch it, you will see how the Gluten structure has developed to trap the gas within the dough. It should also have a slight smell of alcohol ... this is fermentation - see the images from one to our "Kids Baking Classes" below:

First of all, let's prepare the tomato sauce - though you can also use store bought Passata (sieved tomatoes) if you wish - home made is always better ๐Ÿ˜€

The Tomato Sauce:

  1. Warm some olive oil (about 25ml) in a saucepan and add a clove of finely chopped fresh garlic. Let the garlic infuse and flavour the warm oil, but don't let it go too dark or burn - otherwise the sauce will taste bitter. Pour in a can of tomatoes (400g) and turn up the heat.

  2. Add about 10 leaves of fresh Basil to the sauce and let it simmer gently for about 30 minutes -stirring occasionally, to prevent anything sticking to the pan.

  3. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper - use a separate spoon to taste and add a little more if necessary.

  4. Let the sauce cool and then blend the sauce until smooth.

  5. Set aside whilst you prepare the Pizza bases.

  6. You can freeze any remaining sauce or use it as the base for an awesome pasta sauce - just add bacon, mushrooms, olives or whatever you fancy.

Pizza Bases:

The dough will make 7 small Pizza bases (approx 136g), but feel free to make them whatever size you wish.

  1. Divide the dough and shape into a round ball shapes

  2. Place the dough balls onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle them with a little flour

  3. Cover (to prevent a skin forming on the dough surface) and let them rest for about an hour - whilst you preheat the oven and prepare the other toppings.

The Oven:

If I'm using the wood fired oven, it takes a few hours to get up to temperature (about 450ยฐC) and the Pizza's cook in around 90 seconds!

You can get fantastic results in a domestic oven too, but definitely need to get the oven as hot as you possibly can. The oven I use goes to 280ยฐC - but most should do about 250ยฐC on the Fan setting.

You should use an upturned grill pan, metal tray or stone in the oven, to ensure that the Pizza base gets a boost from the heat and cooks fully underneath. You're trying to replicate the refractory stone of the traditional wood fired oven - which is why we need to preheat the oven and the tray/stone before baking.


We can't all be professional Italian Pizzaiolo's (pizza makers), spinning and throwing the bases in the air! Do whatever method suits you best - whether with a rolling pin or shaping by hand.

Take a dough ball, flatten gently and stretch the dough into a thin circle ... if it's too thick, it won't cook properly and by the time the dough is cooked, the toppings will be burnt! You're aiming to create a disc shape with a slightly thicker rim around the outer edge (called the "Cornicione") about 1cm wide. It's the mark of a true Neapolitan Pizza and helps keep the toppings in place!


Spread a small amount of tomato sauce on the Pizza base, but not fully to the outer edge - since you want the edge to rise when baked ("Cornicione"). Then put whatever else you like on your Pizza ..... but don't overload it, otherwise it won't cook properly and will go soggy! Less is definitely more ๐Ÿ˜€

You can use Cheese, mushrooms, ham, olives, pineapple .... be creative. Thinly sliced apple with berries, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar works well too (but no tomato sauce!!!). You can also use chocolate spread .... just go mad!

I'm quite a traditionalist and tend to go for the authentic Neapolitan Pizza's:

  • Pizza Margherita - tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. Originally created in Naples in 1889 in honour of the Queen of Italy and inspired by the colours of the national flag of Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

  • Pizza Marinara - another classic Neapolitan pizza from Naples, Italy. It has no cheese - just tomato sauce, thinly sliced garlic, and oregano. A great alternative to plain old garlic bread!

Parmesan Cheese also adds a great touch to all Pizza's and acts as a seasoning.


Transfer the Pizza to a peel or thin metal tray (lightly floured), so that you can use it to slide the Pizza onto the hot upturned tray/stone in the hot oven. Be very careful not to burn yourself!

Drizzle a small amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil onto the Pizza before cooking ( 5-10 minutes depending on how hot your oven is)

Once done, carefully remove and slice ....... Enjoy ๐Ÿ•

To learn more techniques and how to bake Real Bread, join us on one of our "Baking Bread" courses ๐Ÿ˜€๐ŸŽฉ

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