Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pizza

It was time to put my locally windmilled flour to the test with a batch of pizza dough, the first I've made in ages. I was impressed, it made a good strong dough with plenty of elasticity and a crust with a noticeably more pronounced bready flavour than you get with a mainstream commercial flour.

Margherita

The tricky thing with home made pizza is how best to bake it. I've had the most success with a pizza stone heated in an oven on the highest setting for a good half hour, but I've mislaid the bloody thing so had to make do with a thick baking sheet.

English summer pizza bianco - Jersey Royals, asparagus, Lincolnshire Poacher

The results weren't half bad, a few nice bubbles in the crusts and even a hint of charring in parts. Crunchy edges but a little bit soft and chewy inside. Perfect pizza is pretty much impossible with a domestic oven, but these were still far better than a bought in supermarket effort.

Spicy pork (leftover meatball mix), peppers, chillies

Photos of my topping choices are scattered through this post. I usually keep it simple with pizza but don't mind getting slightly experimental on occasion, as long as I don't break the three golden rules:

1. Don't overdo it.There is such thing as too much cheese. Soggy pizza is not a good thing.
2. Don't go Asian. Duck and hoi sin sauce is not a pizza topping.
3. No pineapple.

This is a fairly standard pizza dough recipe, essentially basic white bread plus a little olive oil and sugar.

For the dough
500g strong white bread flour
1 x 7g sachet of fast action yeast
1 scant teaspoon salt
2 level tablespoons olive oil
1 dessertspoon sugar
a pint of lukewarm water

Thyme butter flatbread

What to do
Mix the yeast, olive oil and sugar in a jug with the water and leave it for a few minutes. Sieve the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour the wet stuff into the flour well then steadily mix it all together with a fork or spoon to form a dough. You might need more water or more flour depending on whether it's too wet or too dry.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface then knead it for at least ten minutes. Put the dough into a bowl, cover it with cling film or a clean tea towel and leave somewhere warm for at least an hour. After an hour it should have doubled in size.

Pull off chunks of dough and roll or stretch out into thin pizza-ish shapes, about 2 or 3 millimetres thick. Top with whatever tickles your fancy and bake in your super-hot oven. They were taking around 7 minutes in mine.

This much dough should make around 5-7 pizzas depending on how big they are. It will keep in the fridge for a day or two if you don't use it all at once.