Posted in Events & Adventures in Food, What's for Dinner Mom?

pizza dough revisited

Surprise, Surprise!  For the third Friday in a row we’ve been eating home-made pizza however this Friday was different.  After not being overly impressed with my yeast and home made bread mularky I decided to revisit the pizza base.  Would it be worth putting a little more effort into the base?  Quick answer. Yes, Yes, Yes!

Cooking for me has to be with simple, readily available ingredients and not a huge amount of time and pizza is definitely simple.
Step 1 Make dough, Step 2 Make sauce, Step 3 roll dough, Step 4 top and bake, Step 5 devour.

Pre-heat the oven to 220C (fan)

Step 1 : Base (Makes 2 large, feeds 4): Takes about 8 mins
300g STRONG flour, 1 tsp instant yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil, 200ml warm water, 1 tsp oregano.
Sieve flour, mix in yeast, salt, oregano make well add water and olive oil.  Combine with wooden spoon, then hands and turn out to floured board.  Knead 5 mins and cover with teatowel.

Step 2: Sauce:  Takes about 5 mins + simmering
Half an onion finely chopped, clove garlic crushed, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp tomato puree, 1 tin chopped tomatoes, 2 tsp oregano.
Heat oil, soften onion, add garlic 1 min, add all other ingredients and simmer gently while roll dough

Step 3: Roll dough: Takes about 3 mins
Flour the board and half the ball of dough in two.  Give it a gentle knead and then roll each ball to the size of your pizza tray.

Step 4: Top and bake: Takes as long as you want!
Spread the base with the sauce and top to your taste.  Try torn mozzarella, cooked chicken, jalapenos, chopped red pepper, pesto, halved cherry tomatoes, grated cheddar, salami, sliced mushrooms, sweetcorn etc..
Bake in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 5 : Devour

The easiest step was of course number 5 and I had plenty of willing helpers at that stage.  Our general consensus was that the dough was lovely and light and crispy.  I had based the dough recipe on a BBC Good Food recipe but the sprinkling of oregano in the dough was my twist.  I think I may also experiment with some chilli flakes in the dough next time.  What I loved about using yeast this time was that there wasn’t any waiting around and it also seemed to make the dough a lot more elastic and pliable and very easy to stretch and work with so I was able to get a nice thin crust that cooked quickly.

Having overdosed on pizza I will be giving it a rest for a while and I’m thinking of making Jamie’s Tikka Masala next Friday night.  I have been looking longingly at some Canon cameras lately but will have to stick with my battered Olympus for now and hope to get a couple of pictures posted soon.
Today being Mother’s day I’ve been  treated to delicious scrambled egg, crispy rashers, white pudding, lashings of brown bread and butter and hot tea for my Sunday brunch.   I’m bringing a beef hot pot to my own Mother’s this evening along with some lemon cheese cakes that we made yesterday.

Till next time. Sheila

Posted in Events & Adventures in Food

Fresh Bread

With yeast somewhere at the back of my mind as I shopped this week I spotted a box of quick action dried yeast on the top shelf of the baking section in my local supermarket.  While most foodies would aspire to eating non-processed, fresh, locally produced food the reality of most lifestyles dictate that the local supermarket is the port of call for most food shopping.  Maybe I’m just not organised or disciplined enough to get to the once weekly food market but price as well has got to be factored into the equation.  Generally speaking that lovingly produced artisan loaf of bread costs twice as much as the tight margined loaf on the rack of the supermarket.

So to my first forray into investigating the merits of rising dough.  Is it worth it?

I followed the recipe on the back of the flour packet (labelled as STRONG flour for bread making).  Flour, salt, sugar, the yeast and then tepid water to combine.  The dough was mixed then turned out and kneaded by hand for 10 minutes.  10 minutes can seem really looooooooooong sometimes.  Kids drifted in and out of the kitchen and the minutes tocked by.  The dough was then shaped and lengthened to the size of the loaf tin which it about half filled.  Next instruction was to allow the dough to rise until doubled in size.  This was to be somewhere warm.  The oven was still warm from earlier baking so I popped it in and then wondered how long this would take.

In the mood for cooking I made up a large batch of sweet potato and lemongrass soup.  3 pints would keep us in lunches over the weekend.  Meanwhile the dough was definitely swelling.  After an hour of rising I baked  my bread for a half an hour.  It looked inviting enough and had a nice golden brown crust.  The first few slices were eaten warm with butter melting into it and then dipped into the soup.  Tasty enough but wouldn’t rave about it.

I will give it a few more goes before I make a final judgement but for now my 45 minute brown bread is well in the lead.

Since last post we’ve dined on; pasta and bolognese sauce, red thai chicken curry with basmati, golden syrup glazed ham with york cabbage, mashed potatoes and white onion and parsley sauce, beef and mushroom stirfry with noodles, school made pizza (again) and lots of soup!  Baked brown bread, white bread and oat and apple lunchbox cookies.

Till next time. Sheila.