Oh yes, I told you that the yeast would be back. Plus, with its sell-by date on January 31st, I had no excuse. I know supermarkets set sell-by dates way in advance of the real thing – but with an ingredient that I am still slightly wary of, I wanted to be sure!
A while ago, I did a biscuit challenge. I tried to re-create some of the shop-bought goodies we know and love, because making them at home means you know exactly what’s in there and you lose nasty additives and flavourings. After all, I don’t know any baker who keeps a nice jar of E-numbers in their kitchen! Now, I am trying to do more savoury things. Savoury inspiration doesn’t come naturally, especially savoury photography (sorry!). So I just thought to what I enjoy eating, at restaurants or at home. Pizza!
Pizza, for me, is something I don’t really think about making totally from scratch. Yet shop-bought versions are expensive and really not the best you can get. Before this creation, the most I’ve done is make tomato sauce and decorate a naan bread (delicious and quick, by the way!). I hadn’t yet tried a proper yeasty pizza dough. There are other savoury dishes like this (always shop-bought) and I’m looking forward to attempting some new savoury ideas…as and when yummy inspiration hits! For now, I’m happy munching on this!
This pizza dough was (happily) easy and delicious. It smelt strongly of olive oil – I was temporarily transported to Italy, the home of true good pizzas! My focus was on the dough, but I made a simple tomato sauce to top and then went crazy with toppings. When I go to pizza restaurants, I’m generally fussy and stick with the classic Margherita. At home I could have what I wanted and so on went the pineapple, bacon, mozzarella, tomatoes and mushrooms (for my sister, I cannot stand mushrooms.).
The recipe came from the gorgeous Supper for a Song book by Tamasin Day-Lewis. My Mum got it for Christmas and when she read it she said “I could cook my way right through this book”. SO true! I have just included the dough recipe as it has some helpful tips. Then just add sauce and toppings!
(Makes two large pizzas)
Ingredients (Pizza dough) : 500g strong white bread flour
7g sachet fast-action dry yeast
2tsp sea salt
1tbsp olive oil
about 350ml nearly hot water
1. Tip the flour onto a work surface, and add yeast and salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in the olive oil followed by about two-thirds of the warm water.
2. Begin to knead by tipping the inside wall of flour into the middle and gathering flour as you go. When it gets difficult to knead, add more warm water. Continue until you have a dough.
3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, stretching it away from you with the heel of you hand every so often, then furling it back towards you with your fingers.
4. Divide in two, shape into balls and place on an oiled baking sheet. Cover with a plastic bag and leave to rise in a warm place until they have doubled in size, about 1.5hours.
5. Preheat the oven to its highest setting, at least 230’C. Scatter semolina flour over 2 baking trays. Working with one ball at a time, knock down the dough, stretch it and then roll it out until about 5mm thick. Don’t worry, it will shrink and spring back to begin with but eventually it will obey your command. Keep the rim a little thicker. Repeat with other dough ball.
6. Spread over tomato sauce and add toppings. Bake for 15minutes before checking. Enjoy!