Category Archives: yeast

Recipe: Pizza Base revisited

A naked uncooked Pizza base

Ingredients;

1kg of Farina Tipo 00 Flour
1 teaspoon of salt
2 x 7g packets of dried yeast
1 tablespoon of honey
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
625ml of tepid water (tepid = 2 parts cold to one part boiling)
1 handful of cornmeal

Makes 6-8 Pizza bases


One of the earliest recipes I published on NotJunkFood was for pizza bases, that recipe is a good recipe to use if you do not have access to pizza/pasta flour (also known as farina tipo 00). Thanks to Roma, Superquinn and Dunnes Stores, farina has become much more widely available in Ireland recently and as a result I have had the chance to experiment with my original recipe and I’m happy to say that the following is my updated pizza base recipe.

Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl or onto a clean work surface and make a well in the middle of it.

Mix the yeast, honey and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork (or your hands) start to stir the liquid in the well while bringing in the flour until the dough starts to come together. Then work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth, springy dough.

Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and dust the top of it with some flour. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Now place the dough on a flour-dusted surface and knead it around for a 2-3 minutes to push the air out. As you are doing this, work the dough into a giant sausage shape. Divide the dough into six or eight pieces (eight if you like a thin and crispy base) and put them to one side.

Take one of the portions and make it into a ball, then stretch that into a roundish shape about 3-4 inches across and place on a floured surface and grab your rolling pin. Rolling away from you and turning the pizza regularly, roll the pizza base out until it is thin (about an eighth of an inch or less) then flour the pizza base and place on a baking tray lined with cling film – if you don’t have a suitably-sized baking tray, you can substitute with a chopping board or any flat surface that will fit in your freezer.

Fold the cling-film back over the top of the pizza base ready for the next one to be placed on top and repeat until all the portions have been rolled out.

At this point, you can dress one of the pizza bases using some Italian tomato sauce and your preferred toppings, on a baking tray or preferably a pizza stone, either way you will need to sprinkle some cornmeal on before placing the pizza on it to prevent it from sticking.

Then place in a hot oven (approx 220 degrees C) for about 8-10 minutes, sprinkle with dried oregano and enjoy.

Recipe: Beer Bread Rolls

Beer Bread Rolls on a cooling rack
Beer Bread Rolls on a cooling rack

Ingredients;

3 x 7g packets of dried yeast
1 large tablespoon of honey
625ml beer (I like Hoegaarden but I’ve also done this with Smithwicks as well)
500g of strong white bread flour
500g of plain flour
30g salt
Plain flour for dusting

Line

Lets talk about beer for a moment, I mentioned two brands of beer above that I have tried this with, Hoegaarden creates by far the better flavour of these two, but any beer should work, just be aware that a lot of the flavour of the bread comes from the beer so make sure you use a beer that you like to drink and you shouldn’t go too far wrong 😉

Sieve your flour into a large mixing bowl (the bigger the better) and add the salt and make a well in the center.

The next part of this recipe goes against the grain for most guys, we need to warm the beer in a saucepan until tepid. Then dissolve the yeast and the honey in half of this and hold onto the rest. I know it’s difficult to do this to a beer you like but trust me it’s worth it.

Now pour the yeast mixture into the well you made in the flour and with an open flat hand start making circular movement in the liquid moving from the center outwards (bringing in the dry ingredients) until the yeast/beer mixture is soaked up. Next you want to add the remainder of the beer and continue to mix until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated and you have a moist dough.

Now for the most important part of making bread and also the most fun, kneading. Start by flouring a work surface well and placing the dough on it, what you want to do is roll, push, pull, fold and punch your dough for about five minutes or so. If any dough sticks to your hands just rub them together with a little extra flour and it’ll fall right off.

Flour both your hands and the top of the dough lightly and form the dough into a large roundish shape, place it back in the mixing bowl and score the top of it.

Now we’re going to leave the bread to prove for the first time – we want it to roughly double in size. I’ve found it’s best to cover the bowl with a slightly damp tea towel and leave it in a warm draught free place. This can take up to one and a half hours, so there is no point sitting there waiting for it to happen leave it alone and check in every fifteen to twenty minutes until the dough has doubled in size.

At this point you want to knock the dough back by kneading it again for about a minute.

Next, divide the dough into twelve balls and set them on a greased baking tray ready to go into the oven. You want to leave some space between each one, as they prove again they may expand into each other however once cut the joined bread rolls should pull apart easily.

Then cover them again and leave them to prove again until they double in size. They may be a little slower to double this time but don’t panic, it usually takes considerably longer for the dough to rise the second time so hang in there and just be confident, it will.

While they are proving, heat your oven to 225 C.

Once they have doubled in size dust the tops with a little flour. Next you want to place the baking tray into the oven as carefully and gently as possible, after all your hard work to this point you don’t want to spoil them by knocking any of the air out of them. Also, be careful not to slam the oven door 😉

They should only need twenty to twenty five minutes to bake but you can check if they’re done by picking one up and tapping the bottom if it’s sounds hollow they’re done. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool on a rack for about forty-five minutes.

You can of course use this recipe for all sorts of bread, just shape it into whatever you want before the second proving and cook in the same manner.

Recipe: Pizza Base

A naked uncooked Pizza base

Ingredients;

1kg of strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 x 7g packets of dried yeast
1 tablespoon of golden caster sugar
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
625ml of tepid water (tepid = 2 parts cold to one part boiling)
1 handful of cornmeal

Makes 6-8 Pizza bases

Line

Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl or onto a clean work surface and make a well in the middle of it.

Mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork (or your hands) start to stir the liquid in the well while bringing in the flour until the dough starts to come together. Then work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth, springy dough.

Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Now place the dough on a flour-dusted surface and knead it around for a 2-3 minutes to push the air out. As you are doing this, work the dough into a giant sausage shape. Divide the dough into six or eight pieces (eight if you like a thin and crispy base) and put them to one side.

Take one of the portions and make it into a ball, then stretch that into a roundish shape about 3-4 inches across and place on a floured surface and grab your rolling pin. Rolling away from you and turning the pizza regularly, roll the pizza base out until it is thin (about an eighth of an inch or less) then flour the pizza base and place on a baking tray lined with cling film – if you don’t have a suitably-sized baking tray, you can substitute with a chopping board or any flat surface that will fit in your freezer.

Fold the cling-film back over the top of the pizza base ready for the next one to be placed on top and repeat until all the portions have been rolled out.

At this point, you can dress one of the pizza bases (simply using passata and cheese) on a baking tray or preferably a pizza stone, either way you will need to sprinkle some cornmeal on before placing the pizza on it to prevent it from sticking.

Then place in a hot oven (approx 220 degrees C) for about 8-10 minutes and enjoy.

You can wrap the cling-filmed pile of bases in tinfoil and put them flat in your freezer to be used later.  The bases, once dressed, will cook from frozen in 8-10 mins as well – perfect for a quick dinner when coming home late from work.