A super easy way to make pizza or flatbread dough and the best thing is that it sits happily in your fridge for days, waiting patiently to be used. No knead, a few stirs with a trusty wooden spoon and the flour’s gluten develops in the fridge and leaving it this way makes for a full flavoured dough.
Making pizza is always a load of fun, especially when kids are thrown into the mix. Jane’s niece and nephew were visiting this week so we had to get some pizzas in the oven! Jane and I don’t eat much white flour at all, but pizza night is our one exception. I like a whole wheat base, or other flour, but a white flour base just seems like a treat and traditional. After visiting the south of Italy last year, I don’t think Jane and I’s approach to pizza and pasta will ever be the same. We now have very regular Italian feasts and making your own pizza bases is superbly simple. We have used plain, all purpose flour here, but finer ground flours like strong/ bread flour or even ’00’ flour would be interesting. ’00’ especially makes for a pizza base with more texture, a bit more chewy.
I love the way that flavour develops in dough when left for a time, of course sourdough bread is amazing and its that patient build up to a fantastic bread that really makes it a special food, a cooking process that is riddle with magic and mystery. Yeast is just a very interesting thing! Given the right care and attention, it works wonders on our humble ground grains.
Vegan toppings are super healthy and we always try to get as many veggies on our pizza as possible. The pizza we made last night has toasted peanut pesto (very similar to the recipe in Peace & Parsnips) and white bean puree on for added richness. It also has a layer of reduced tomato passata, roasted Mediterranean vegetables and red onion. Overall, a highly OTT and delicious affair that left all around the table (vegans and non vegans) commenting how tasty pizza can be when cheese-less. I ate Marinara (just tomato sauce and the occasional, single basil leaf) in Italy for over two weeks and never got sick of it. I think I’ve always appreciated the base as much as the toppings!? We are not huge fans of vegan cheeses, other than the homemade variety. We are ever open minded however. We’d love to think that one day, some clever sort will invent a cheese that melts like a dream and is also full of healthy plant power. Otherwise, we’ll stick happily to nut and bean based cheese-like happiness.
Have you ever tried a pizza with a cauliflower base? Its not exactly traditional, but a delicious alternative to flour if you are gluten free or looking for something that radiates good health. We may get a recipe together soon and pop it on the BHK. In fact, we’re turning into a right pair of dough balls this week. We’re going baking mad. With loaves and cakes all over the place. I have just made a chocolate and coconut loaf that I’d love to share here soon. Chocolate toast! We’ve been lathering it with our neighbours home grown raspberry jam. We only managed a handful of raspberries this year from our juvenile bush. What a difference the length of a garden makes, Dawn’s razzers are rampant!
The Bits – 4 medium pizza bases
325ml water (lukewarm)
1 1/2 teas yeast
2 teas salt
1/2 tablespoon brown rice syrup (or sugar)
85ml olive oil
475g unbleached all-purpose flour
Extra flour and oil (for finishing the bases)
Sprinkle the yeast into the warm water, stir and set aside for a few minutes.
Add all dry ingredients to a container, mix with a wooden spoon/ spatula. Gradually pour in the water, mixing all the time. Then pour in the olive oil, mixing as you go. The dough with now be taking shape, give it a few more good stirs. Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 2 hours. Then cover again with cling film, loosely, and pop the dough into the fridge. Use the next day. This dough keeps nicely for 10-12 days in a fridge, you can use it little by little. We have made double the quantity, meaning you’re sorted for pizza or flatbreads for over a week. Very convenient.
Best to bring the dough out of the fridge an hour before you need it, let it get back to room temperature. You can scoop some out with a spoon if you’re not using the full amount. Maybe you’re just looking for a couple of quick flatbreads?
On a cool, well floured surface, knock the dough back by kneading it a few times. You will need to sprinkle extra flour over here. Sticky is good and will make a pizza base with great texture. Once the dough is knocked back, cut into pieces. One decent pizza base is about the size of a apple. Wipe your surface down and lightly oil a piece of baking parchment (makes things a lot easier). Rub some oil into your hands and begin to form the dough into your desired pizza shape. Do this by stretching the dough with your finger tips and the heel of your hand. I like my pizza thin crust, meaning roughly 1/2-1cm depth. Use more oil on your hands if its sticking.
Gently lift the parchment onto a baking tray and set aside for 15 minutes before adding your toppings. You may need to stretch out the dough again at this stage, it might shrink a little. Bake in a very hot over (220oC+ fan) for roughly 8-10 minutes. You may like to swap it around 2/3 of the way through cooking depending on your oven (one side can cook quicker than the other). You know your oven! The all have their own little characteristics.
This dough is highly versatile and can be rolled out into thin or thick flatbreads, depending on what you’re eating. Just remember to leave it for 10-15 minutes before putting it into the oven for the yeast to wake up and do its thing.
There is really very little good to say nutritionally about white flour in general, other than stock up on nice healthy toppings (go vegan!) and then enjoy the deliciousness. Maybe pencil in a few extra push ups or lengths of the pool (see below)….