Sourdough Pizza

Another dangerous path of culinary adventure that requires tightrope level skills to maintain the balance between joyous deliciousness, and an inevitable descent into morbid obesity. Thankfully, unlike flatbreads, this recipe takes many hours to execute, which will hopefully prevent it becoming a regular go-to carb snack.

There are literally thousands of sourdough pizza recipes out there that use wildly different methods, but this is the first time I’ve really been happy with the end product and content that it will give consistent results.

Sourdough pizza

I think it’s fair to say that the cooking method is probably more important than the ingredients for once – controversial, and something I never imagined I’d be writing.. If you’re lucky enough to have a proper wood-fired oven, you’re likely to get great results with literally whatever kind of dough you’ve got going. For me, the little burnt bubbles and flecks around the crust are the holy grail of pizza, and almost impossible to achieve with a crappy conventional oven.

If, like the majority of the population you don’t have access to a fabulous oven, I’d recommend at the very least investing in a decent baking stone and getting it as hot as your conventional domestic oven will possibly take you.

Ingredients:

  • 300g sourdough starter (See HERE if you don’t already have one)
  • 15g salt
  • 500g strong white flour (I particularly like Tipo ’00’ and always use organic)
  • 250g water

Method:

Like anything in the sourdough world, this recipe is all about time.

Make sure your sourdough starter has been fed recently and is raring to go – bubbly, lively and buoyant if you drop a teaspoon of it in water.

Mix together all of your ingredient and then knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth and silky.

Split your dough into three (or more) and shape it into tight balls. Pop them into the fridge (covered) until the following day. This is where the sourdough culture really does its thing, developing your dough and taking it from pedestrian to the sublime.

sourdough pizza dough

The following day, your dough is going to need a few hours out of the fridge (still covered) to come back up to room temperature.

Stretch or roll out your dough to the desired thickness using plenty of fine semolina and you’re all set and ready to go.

Add your toppings, bosh it in your super-hot oven and cook until it looks done and on the verge of burning.

sourdough pizza

Toppings:

TOTALLY. UP. TO. YOU – but just don’t overload it, or you’ll end up with a pie. If you’re making a few, you may as well make the first a classic tomato, mozzarella and basil margarita to act as a gauge and really show-off your dough.

Pizza

Alternatively:

If you’re looking for a faster (and slightly less awesome) pizza, click HERE for a non-sourdough version.

Godspeed.

As ever, get in touch via here or social media if you have any questions, suggestions or special requests!

Sourdough pizza

Pasta for Italian Day

What a great day. I’d forgotten just how much fun it is to make fresh pasta; very satisfying. I’d also forgotten how much hard work is required to knead the dough, especially when you have an audience of 8-year-old schoolchildren. This is the 10 minutes or so between the lovely eggs nestling in a flour well on your work-surface, and that perfectly formed, smooth ball of elastic dough (which is routinely skipped over in every TV cookery show you’ve ever seen).

Nonetheless, it’s a joyous and virtuous task with a far more delicious outcome than a trip to the gym.

Year 4 from St James C of E primary school did a Stirling job helping me roll and shape said pasta into lasagna, tagliatelle, angel hair (capellini) and farfalle. They learnt about the origins of pasta, its ingredients, geometry, gluten, composition and chemistry, the extrusion manufacturing process, not to eat raw pasta… etc. 

Italian day was a blast and has got me thinking about classes for parents too. 

Eggs and flour

The basic principle of making egg pasta is as follows – go on, dig that pasta machine out of the depths of your kitchen cupboard and get the kids involved.

Ingredients:

  • 400g Tipo ’00’ (super fine) flour
  • 4 Eggs

Method:

Beat your eggs and gradually mix in the flour. You can do this on a clean work surface by making a well in your mound of flour (like a volcano as the children cleverly observed) and cracking your eggs into it, or just bung it all in a food processor and pulse it a few times.

As it all starts to come together, give it a good knead as if you were making a loaf of bread. You’ll be surprised how what appears to be a particularly anhydrous mixture will turn into a beautiful smooth dough with a bit of elbow grease.

You’ll know when it’s ready as it’ll become smooth and silky to the touch.

At this point it needs to rest; wrap it tightly in cling film so the air can’t get to it and pop it into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When you’re ready, you can start to cut it, roll it out (using a rolling pin or a pasta machine) and form it into a plethora of shapes.

measuring pasta

If you’re cooking it fresh it will only take a minute or two in a pot of rapidly boiling salted water (traditionally as salty as the Mediterranean sea), or alternatively, you can dry and store it.

Have fun!

 

pasta machine

pasta shapes

Pizza Dough

Pizza dough is simply bread without the second proving. I can assure you that this basic recipe will knock the socks off any breadmachine dough, and you’ll be surprised by just how easy it is to get delicious results. It doesn’t take as long as you’d think and much like baking bread, it’s brilliantly satisfying.

Felix making pizza

This recipe will easily make 4 large pizzas.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg Tipo (00) Flour
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 14g Dried Yeast (or fresh if you have it)
  • 1tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 650ml Tepid Water
  • 4tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method:

Mix the yeast, sugar, oil and water together in a jug and leave it to stand for a couple of minutes.

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, make a well in the middle and slowly incorporate the liquid. You can do this on a clean work surface if you have the space.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic.

Pop it back into the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or a shower cap. The dough needs to be left in a warm place until it doubles in size. This usually takes about an hour.

fresh dough

Knock the dough back by giving it a very quick knead and then cut it into 4 pieces (or more for smaller pizzas).

The dough can be used straight away or wrapped in clingfilm and stored in the fridge for later.

It’s worth letting the dough rest for 10 minutes or so before rolling it out as it will be less springy and easier to shape. You’ll want the pizza base to be about 5mm thick.

Top your pizzas as you wish. I often cook a rich tomato sauce in advance, but passata or even purée will suffice if you don’t have the time – it just won’t taste quite as good.

Pizza ready to be cooked

Top tip: always drizzle your topped pizza with a little extra virgin olive oil before popping it in the oven.

Cook your pizzas at about 250°C for 7-10 minutes. Reduce the cooking time if you’re using a hotter oven such as the wood-fired variety.

freshly made pizza

I recently made Calzone for the first time – simply fold your pizza to make a large pasty shape and crimp the edge.

Fresh Calzone

Gorgeous Calzone

Simple. Street. Food.