Pizza is known and loved the world over, but making one from scratch might seem challenging. But it's not difficult, and the results are fabulous. This recipe is for one of the simplest classic pizzas, the Margherita - tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
Make the pizza base
Combine the flour, yeast, salt and softened butter in a bowl. Add the water and stir until you have a cohesive lump of dough. Tip it out onto an oiled work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Kneading is a process of stretching the dough into a sausage, folding it in three, turning it 90° and repeating. After kneading, place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with plastic film and leave it in a warm place to rise until doubled in size - this should take about an hour.
Make the tomato sauce
Finely chop the onion, mince the garlic, and fry gently in some olive oil for about five minutes. Chop the tomato as finely as you can, and add to the onion and garlic. Add half a teaspoon of black pepper, and about a teaspoon of the basil, finely chopped. Stir well and let it bubble and reduce for about 10 minutes. Whizz it in a blender until smooth, and then pass it through a sieve, using the back of a tablespoon to force as much liquid out as possible. You should end up with a smooth paste.
Assemble the pizza
Preheat your oven as hot as it will go for at least half an hour. Put a pizza stone or tray in to heat up. Knock back the risen dough and take enough of it to form a thin disc. You can keep the remaining dough in the fridge and use it to make another pizza, or flatbread or naan. Roll the dough into a thin disc and place it on a sheet of greaseproof (parchment or baking) paper on top of a chopping board. You might want to cut any excess paper off, otherwise it may catch fire when you bake the pizza.
Brush olive oil all over the base, and then spread dollops of the tomato sauce around it. Cut the mozzarella into slices and put them on the pizza. Tear basil leaves off the bunch (if they are big leaves you may want to tear them smaller) and sprinkle them all over. Finally, scatter black pepper over the pizza.
Now, the tricky bit. You need to get your heated pizza tray or stone out of the oven and transfer the pizza to it as quickly as possible. I just slide the greaseproof paper and pizza onto the tray. Pop it back in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.