Four months ago I did a step by step feature for the lovely Jamie Magazine on how to make sourdough. This left me with a brilliant little starter dough which has fuelled an obsession with all things bread related. Here’s a link to their website which shows the resulting loaf and talks you through how to make your own starter dough. It is so worth having it in the fridge and it takes minimum effort to keep it alive, just a little feed once a week. It will only get more tasty over time and makes the process of bread baking completely wonderful, look at this beauty from earlier this week:
Last night James and I made a couple of pizzas from the starter dough which gave them a super tasty crust. I wanted to make his in the shape of a heart but he wasn’t having any of it. The tomato sauce is one of my favourite things – great for this purpose but can also be loosened with a little stock for a delicious soup or used as is or with a few anchovies / olives / etc for a great pasta sauce. The recipe makes more than you need for two pizzas as I fully intend to have it with some pasta.
Here’s how to do it:
Sponge: 75g starter dough, 220g strong white bread flour, 220ml tepid water, pinch salt
Dough: 250g strong white bread flour, 50ml water, 1 tbsp olive oil
Sauce: 1 onion, lemon zest, thyme, 8 tomatoes, handful cherry tomatoes, oil, chilli flakes, dried oregano, 4 garlic cloves
Toppings: at your discretion…
The day before you want to eat your pizza, mix the starter, flour, water and salt in a large bowl. Cover and leave to sit for about 4 hours, you should be able to see little bubbles coming to the surface.
Add the remaining flour, water and oil for the dough and knead for 10-15 minutes (8-10 minutes in an electric mixer) until it is smooth and elastic. When prodded the dough should spring back out at you. Place this into a clean bowl, cover and leave for another 4-6 hours, until doubled in size.
If at some point you need to got to bed you can put it in the fridge – it will continue to rise very slowly, but just make sure you bring it back to room temperature before using it.
For the sauce, preheat the oven to 220c and heat a little oil in a pan. Add the sliced onion with a grating of lemon zest, the leaves off a few sprigs of thyme and a good pinch of salt. Cook these over a very low heat for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, halve the tomatoes and place in a roasting tray with the cherry tomatoes and a good couple of pinches of chilli flakes, a teaspoon of dried oregano and the peeled and squashed garlic cloves. Season, drizzle over some olive oil and roast for 15-20 minutes, until completely soft.
Place the onions and the tomatoes in a blender and blitz until completely smooth. Return to the onion pan and bubble down until thick enough to spread on the pizza. Taste and season, sometimes a pinch of sugar really works to make it perfect. Set aside.
Turn the oven up as high as it will go and place a baking sheet in it to heat up. Lightly flour a work surface and turn your dough out, cut into two and return half to the bowl and cover. Roll out the dough and spin it if you’re brave enough (perhaps like this guy) – we just went for rolling as any attempt at spinning turned into tearing. Dust the hot baking sheet with flour, place the pizza on top and spread the sauce all over. Top with whatever ingredients take your fancy and bake for 10-15 minutes. Cut and serve immediately. Repeat with the second lump of dough if you’re as greedy as James and me.