No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


200g (1 mug) strong white flour
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
125ml (1/3rd mug) lukewarm water
1 teaspoon fresh yeast, crumbled
Splash of olive oil

Tomato topping – passata, 1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes or similar
100g Cheddar cheese grated

1. Place flour and salt (if using) into a mixing bowl. Measure the water in the same mug and add 1 teaspoon of yeast. Stir to dissolve then add to the flour.

2. Have a little water to hand to add if necessary, remember, it is better for your dough to be wetter (slack) rather than drier (tight). Begin to mix by stirring the ingredients together with your fingers. Stir round in big circles, pulling the flour off the sides of the bowls into the middle. As it forms into a solid mass, keep turning it over and pressing it down to pick up the flour at the bottom of the bowl – but make sure it stays soft. Don’t be afraid to add more water to keep it soft! When all the flour has been mixed in, wipe the bowl around with the dough, turn it out onto the worktop and begin to knead.

3. Knead by flattening the dough out, folding it over, stretching it out and so on and so forth. Once the dough is smooth either leave it, covered with a dry tea towel, for an hour or so, or go straight to step 4.

4. Without knocking it back (that is; kneading a couple of times), form the dough into a round bap shape. Have plenty of flour to hand and scatter flour over the dough and worktop. With a rolling pin, roll it into a circle around  25-30cm (10-12”) across. Keep turning the dough around and refreshing the flour. The dough should slide on the flour.

5. Pour the tomato topping over the pizza and spread it out with the back of a spoon, leaving it 1 cm from the edge. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the tomato, and leave to rise - on your worktop is fine.

6. When the dough at the edge of the pizza has become puffy, place in a hot oven, 220C, 425F or gas mark 7 for 15-20 minutes. When they're done the pizza will lift up all along one side when you check underneath, using a palette knife or similar. The bottom should be browning from the edges.

To get a crisp bottom to the pizzas, there are several things you can do:
• Make sure you keep the wet topping away from the edges – and don’t overload the pizza;
• Have a heavy metal tray at the bottom of the oven to use as a pizza stone. If you do this, have your pizzas on baking parchment on an up-turned tray – then you can just slide the pizzas into the oven.
• Finish them off in a large, dry, frying pan

Variations to the base:
Obviously, you can individualise the toppings on any pizza to suit you and your family. However, you can also add other ingredients to the dough - my current favourite is to use a teaspoon of bouillon powder instead of the salt, add a teaspoon of mixed herbs, several chopped oil-soaked sun-dried tomatoes and a good glug of the oil from the jar. The oil makes a real difference to the crust which, to my mind, begins to resemble a shortcrust pastry.

No comments:

Post a Comment