Wednesday 3 March 2021

pizza dough

Well we are coming up to the year mark now, since coronavirus has become part of our lives! As usual, it seems, we are in the middle of a lockdown, yet there is at least not the panic at the grocery store that there was in the beginning. A year ago we just barely managed to get flour and yeast when we decided that we would make pizzas on Saturdays to cheer ourselves up. Nearly a year later there doesn't seem to be any problem with food supplies and the Saturday pizza tradition is firmly ensconced - we only gave it a short hiatus when we were busy with other foodie traditions (like at xmas and Chinese New Year). Happily, we have a brilliant child's cookbook with an easy, fool-proof and perfect bread dough recipe that I have made slight modifications to and use weekly for our base. I make my pizza dough on Fridays so it has plenty of time to rise and I have plenty of time to do other things on Saturday. Here are the ingredients: 4 oz coarse, brown or wholemeal flour; 12 oz flour (plain or self-raising); 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp brown sugar; 1 sachet yeast (2 tsp), 10 fl oz warm water (not too hot, not too cold), 1 oz butter. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Rub in the butter.

Then add the water. It is very important that the temperature is not too hot or cold. I usually boil a kettle first and put some boiled water in my measuring cup which is already partly filled with cold water. I just dip in a finger to test the heat (so you never say "ow" but sometimes it's too cool - a bit like testing a bath).

Mix around with a wooden spoon at first, then use your hand.

Knead the dough. I do it directly in the bowl, sometimes adding a bit more flour if it seems too moist.

Knead for about 5 minutes until it looks happy!

I just pick up the ball of dough, add a bit of sunflower oil to the bottom of the bowl and use the dough ball to move it around so that there's some oil covering all the dough. I cover the bowl with a dish towel and don't go near it again till the next morning.

The dough has risen quite nicely overnight, and in the morning I reknead it. Usually it has gotten a bit dry or crusty on top, but with some kneading it will be back to a nice dough ball again. Then I leave it for the rest of the day, so it rises again. In preparing for dinner, the dough is divided into 4 

and each section rolled out separately. 

I prefer thin-crust pizza, so this recipe fits perfectly on 4 oiled, standard cookie trays. If a thicker pizza crust is preferred, obviously divide the dough only in 2 or 3 and don't roll out as much. In my house we like a tomato sauce base, and I have previously given that simple recipe here.

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