We recently bought an Aldi Pizza Oven Special for the bargain price of £40 – you basically pop the pizza oven on any BBQ (gas or charcoal) and you can make pizza in under 6 minutes. We were in need of Italian supplies to make our pizzas 😉 and Matt from Yaldens recommended the Italian Shop in Maidenhead, so we decided to pay them a visit. They are apparently a major supplier of Italian produce and products to restaurants in the area including London.

It’s located on the outskirts of Maidenhead centre on a small industrial estate. It’s clearly a popular destination, when we arrived (Saturday late morning) there was a small queue so we had to wait for around 10-15 minutes to get in -I image however it wouldn’t be as busy as during the week. The staff were very friendly and the shop has an excellent selection of authentic Italian ingredients! 

There is a deli counter and a fresh fruit and veg section  -everything looked so fresh & tasty. The aisles are fairly narrow and they are operating a one way system at the moment but it’s well worth a visit if you need pizza supplies, proper Italian meats, cheeses and pasta. We will definitely be visiting again soon. Make sure you check their website for up to date opening times.

Matt at Yaldens also recommended an amazing Caldesi pizza base recipe which you make using Birra Moretti beer (this apparently adds an extra dimension to the crisp pizza base). It’s super simple to make, especially if you have a kitchen aid with a dough hook 😉 Probably considering cheating but I am all for ease 😉

Pizza alla Birra Moretti (source: www.caldesi.com)
Makes 4 pizzas

For the pizza dough
10g fresh yeast or 5g dried yeast
220ml Birra Moretti at room temperature
125ml tepid water
500g strong bread flour or ‘0’ flour
2 teaspoons salt

For the topping (we cheated & bought a tomato pizza topping from The Italian Store)
400g Italian tinned plum tomatoes
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

a little semolina for dusting under the pizza
2 x 125g balls of Mozzarella, drained and sliced
a handful of fresh basil leaves

Add the yeast to the beer and water, then mix with the flour and salt.

Knead for 8–10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic – I used the Kitchen Aid with the dough hook.

Shape into a ball, put in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film or a tea-towel. Leave in a warm, draught-free spot to rise until doubled in size.

After the dough has risen, split it into four even-sized balls and leave to rise until doubled in size again.

Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce: put the tomatoes in a bowl and squash them into pieces with your hands or blend with a stick blender. Add the oregano, the salt and the oil, and stir well.

Bake the pizzas two at a time. Put two baking trays, spaced apart, upside-down in the oven. This gives a flat surface to cook each pizza on. Have a thin wooden chopping board or pala (a thin piece of wood or metal used for transferring the pizza to the oven) and the semolina nearby.

Preheat the oven to its hottest setting – 250–280C is perfect.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Scatter some semolina onto the board or pala, pull the first pizza onto it and spread over a tablespoon of tomato sauce. Top with a quarter of the mozzarella and/or other toppings.

Slide the pizza into the oven and quickly pull the board or pala away so that it glides onto the hot, upturned oven tray. Repeat with the second pizza.

Bake for 7–10 minutes. The bases should be golden underneath and the cheese bubbling. Garnish with the basil leaves and serve.

Bake the second batch of pizzas in the same way.

Address: Denmark St, Maidenhead SL6 7BN

Website: www.italiancont.co.uk