Posted in Berlin, Recipe

The Best Pizza in Berlin

…comes out of your own oven!

pizza

Sironi Bakery in Markthalle Neun not only offers delicious pizza, focaccia, ciabbata, maritozzi, and giant loves of freshly baked bread – but did you know you that at the Sironi counter you can also pick up bags of Italian flour to take home and make your own? Last week I bought a kilo bag of their Italian 00 flour to make pizza. Bonus: at the time I didn’t even realise, but it’s organic as well.

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Pizza is pretty simple:

1 kilo flour (this will give you about 6-8 pizza bases)
1 tablespoon salt
2 sachets of yeast into 650 mls of room temp-ish slightly warm water
1 tablespoon honey (or you can use sugar. Some people say honey adds colour and crunch to the crust (I agree). Try it!)

Add the tablespoon of honey and 2 sachets of yeast to the water, mix and allow the yeast to get busy for a few minutes.
Empty your flour into a large bowl with tablespoon of salt mixed through. Start adding the yeast mixture to the flour, mixing with a fork as you go. (You can use a flat work surface if you have ninja flour handling skills, but I’m too messy so I use a bowl.)

Flour a clean work surface and turn your dough out of the bowl. Knead the heck out of your dough for about 10 minutes. Daydream about eating pizza to help pass the time. Words that describe what you’re looking for: smooth, elastic, springy. This takes about 10 minutes to achieve, and your dough won’t rise if you don’t knead it for long enough, so hang in there! Stretch the dough away from you, stretch it between your hands, turn, repeat. After kneading, place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with a clean teatowel and leave somewhere cosy (no draughts please) until the dough has doubled in size – at least an hour.

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Omg gigantic dough pet! Turn your dough out onto a clean work surface and divide it into 6-8 pieces, shape each into a ball. How many pieces you cut your dough into, depends on what size pizzas you like. Freeze some for another day, or use them all fresh if you’re having a pizza parrrrrrty.

Flour each ball of pizza dough and cover with clingfilm, leave to sit for 20 minutes. Crank up the oven to VERY HOT (I set mine to 250 C, it never seems to quite there, but it tries). Put your tray in to heat up, which helps with cooking the base. Use pizza stone as per instructions.

Now flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll out your pizza bases to desired thickness. Transfer the base to the pizza stone or tray.

For tomato sauce:

1 tin tomatoes (organic if you can, there is a difference in zinginess, taste and brightness of colour)
3 cloves garlic
salt, pepper
olive oil

Using a blender, blend the tomatoes and garlic together and season with salt and pepper. Don’t cook the pizza sauce, it will cook on top of the pizza, and the taste will be much more vibrant (plus you save time and pots).

Slather the tomato sauce on to your pizza, add whatever toppings you like. Roll over the edges of the pizza base to create a little border to stop toppings oozing out the sides.

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Pop it into the oven and keep an eye on it, can take 12-15 minutes at 250 C (my oven).

Of course, nothing compares to the real thing. You’ll still find me queueing for my fix of a Sironi Margherita slice. I only hope you try to make your own pizza sometime, it’s fun, it tastes great, you save money, and time.

Breaking down the cost, I think the Sironi flour was around €3.50, the organic tinned tomatoes were about 80 cents, and mozzarella 55 cents. You could make four good size pizzas with those toppings, and have 4 bases stashed in your freezer for a rainy day. You can also use organic bread flour (type 405) to make the pizza base, which you can find in supermarkets here for about €1.

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