We’re finally in our new flat and so excited to no longer be living out of a suitcase! Our shipment of belongings has also arrived, so we are almost all set – save for getting a sofa, table, chairs…well, basically any furniture at all other than a bed and some bar stools!
The even more exciting news though, is that my sourdough culture survived it’s trip across the world and is now alive and kicking – literally. And, in case you’re wondering how it made it here, yes, I did take sourdough with me in my hand luggage in a little 100ml pot. Lucky I didn’t get arrested for bringing strange foreign cultures into the country!
This does, however mean that, whilst we have nothing in our food cupboards yet other than bread flour, I was able to produce some food for us in the form of sour dough pizza.
I’ve been making this dough about once a week since I went to the Leith’s sourdough course. It’s one of the easiest doughs to make and the best part is that you can keep it in the fridge for 5 days, tearing pieces off as you need it for flat bread or pizza. It also freezes really well. You also only need to knead it once, letting it rest and rise for 12 hours in the fridge before you use it. The only downside is that you need to think 12 hours ahead plus a bit more if your sourdough culture is hibernating in the fridge.
But if you like thin, crispy pizza bases, this is the recipe for you. If you roll the dough out sufficiently and heat the oven up to kiln-like temperatures, you get the most delicious crispy base with no soggy bottom in sight.
It also tastes great as flat bread. Just roll it out and heat a frying pan or griddle to a high heat and cook for about 2-3 mins a side. It will puff up and char a little and taste superb dunked in hummus.
This time last year: Giant Jaffa Cake
Easy Pizza Dough
Recipe by Hilary Cacchio – method adapted slightly
Makes 3 x 30cm pizza bases
For the dough:
250g sourdough culture
350g strong bread flour
80g semolina (replace with bread flour if you don’t have any though it does add good texture)
15g/1 tablespoon olive oil
10g Maldon salt or similar
1 plastic bag
A little extra oil
1. If you have a stand mixer, place all of the dough ingredients in the mixing bowl. Using the dough hook attachment, knead for a couple of minutes. Leave to rest for 5 minutes then knead for a further couple of minutes. Repeat this process 4 more times. Leave to rest one more time for a few minutes. The dough should be smooth and stretchy. If not, knead a little more.
2. If you don’t have a stand mixer, place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix until fully incorporated. Tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 2 minutes – it will be quite sticky at this stage. Cover with an upturned bowl and rest for 30 minutes. Knead for 20 seconds then rest again under the upturned bowl for 10 minutes. Repeat this process 6 more times. If you don’t want to wait this long, you can just knead for 5 minutes then rest for a couple of minutes then knead again for 5 minutes.
3. Pour a dash of oil into the plastic bag to coat the inside. Place the dough in the bag and leave unsealed before placing in the fridge for 12 hours whilst it rises. It is then ready to use, or you can keep it for up to 5 days.
4. To make pizza bases: divide your dough into 3 equal pieces. Lightly oil your hands and work surface. Shape each piece into a boule then firmly flatten out using the ball of your hand. Leave to rest for 5 minutes or up to 10 hours if you cover them with some oiled cling film.
5. Pre heat the oven to 250°c/230°c fan/480°f. Roll out each piece of dough on a lightly oiled work surface to about 30cm in diameter. Lift onto parchment paper and put onto a baking tray. Top with the toppings of your choice.
6. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden and crisp on the outside.
7. To make flat bread: divide into 8 boules and roll out as per the pizza base instructions. Heat a dry griddle pan or frying pan over a high heat then cook the flat breads for about 2-3 minutes per side. They will puff up and be slightly charred when done.
Top tip: If you dough keeps springing back when you roll it out, leave it to rest for a few minutes and then come back to it – it should stay in place better that way.