A delicious & straightforward homemade pizza. The base is made from spelt flour before being topped with sheep's cheese and succulent strips of yellow pepper.
Homemade pizza is a winning meal for Mr E & I. Easy to make, comforting, delicious, stringy cheese, topped with our favourite flavours, what's not to like? Whether it's a simple margarita with tomatoes & mozzarella, a feta topped pizza with pesto or even one with butternut squash, goats' cheese and thyme; we regularly choose to make our own.
For the past couple of years we've loved making our own pizza bases. They're delicious and so easy to make. After a quick mini-workout of kneading, the dough is set aside to allow the yeast to work its magic. In fact, I often make our dough in the morning and allow it to prove for several hours in the fridge. It sounds strange, I know, as most recipes call for bread / pizza dough to be proved at room temperature for an hour or so, but by popping the covered dough in the fridge and forgetting about it for a few hours more flavour is allowed to develop resulting in an even tastier pizza! Half an hour before you're ready to eat, simply remove the dough from the fridge, shape it, top it and bake it!
Up until last week I have been using a mixture of wholemeal and white wheat flour to make our pizza dough. It's lovely, with the wholemeal bringing extra flavour and goodness to the meal. However, having some spelt flour in the cupboard from making our Spelt and Quinoa loaf, I decided to use that in our pizza base. I must admit that I was a little nervous as to how well it would work as spelt dough has a tendency to spread outwards rather than upwards - I didn't want our 10" pizza to become a 20"! Thankfully I didn't have anything to worry about, the spelt worked a treat, creating a delicious, tasty base for our chosen topping.
Our topping of choice was Parlick Fell sheep's cheese and strips of charred yellow pepper. Living largely as a vegetarian, though Mr E being a fully signed up member, we tend to eat quite a lot of cheese. Whether its a mature cheddar, crumbly Wensleydale, or salty feta, it's rare for cheese not to be purchased in our shopping trips. We love trying new cheeses too. A couple of weeks ago we tried Parlick Fell, a sheep's cheese which we weren't familiar with. But having been told by another shopper how delicious it was we just had to try it. Parlick Fell is a white, firm, smooth, vegetarian cheese with a slightly tangy, nutty flavour with a cheese strength of '4'. It is made in Longridge, Lancashire (to the North West of the UK). Once opened and a chunk tried, Mr E and I fully understood why the stranger had recommended it to us. It really was delicious.
With hot, bubbling cheese, a thin, crisp pizza base and succulent charred sweet peppers this pizza was a winner. It was simple to make, and rewarded us with a filling, comforting meal. It rarely gets better than a homemade pizza!
So, let's get to it and bake.
Spelt Sheep's Cheese Pizza Yum
Serves: 2 adults, generously
Time: Dough 15 minutes, plus proving time. Tomato sauce 15 - 20 minutes. Baking time 10-12 minutes.
You will need:Bowl
1 large flat Baking Tray (ideally with no sides)
Large Chopping Board
For the pizza dough150g White Spelt Flour
100g Wholemeal Spelt Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Easybake Yeast
2 tsp Vegetable Oil
150ml Lukewarm water.
For the tomato Sauce (this will make sufficient for 4 or 5 pizzas) (freezable)400g tin Tomatoes
pinch of Sugar
pinch of Salt
generous squirt of Tomato Puree
generous squirt of Garlic Puree (or 1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves)
1-2 tsp dried Basil (or fresh)
Pinch Celery Salt (optional)
For the topping1 Yellow Pepper
2 small handfuls of Grated Mozzarella Cheese
80g Parlick Fell Sheep's Cheese, grated
How to make it:
1. Make the pizza dough. Place the flours, salt, sugar and yeast in a good size bowl keeping the salt away from the yeast at this stage. Combine with your hand. Make a well in the flour. Add the vegetable oil & most of the water. With your hand mix the flour into the liquid aiming to make a dough. Add the remainder of the measured 150ml of water. Once all of the flour has been picked up with the dough and the bowl is 'clean', place the pizza dough onto the work surface.
2. Knead. Knead the dough for 5 or 6 minutes until it is smooth, stretchy and pliable.
3. Prove. Place the prepared dough into a large clean bowl and cover with cling film. Either place the covered bowl in the fridge (if you don't require the dough for several hours) or set aside at room temperature if you're looking to eat within the next hour or two. Leave the dough until it has doubled in size.
4. Make the tomato sauce. Meanwhile, place the tinned tomatoes (cutting the tomatoes up if you buy whole tomatoes, like us, and discard the hard core), sugar, salt, tomato purée, garlic purée, basil and celery salt (if using) into a pan. Stir to combine. Place on the hob over a low to medium heat and allow to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced by about half. Stir regularly to avoid the mixture from sticking and burning. You're aiming for a thick sauce. Set aside to cool.
5. Prepare the pepper. Char the pepper with either a cook's blowtorch or gas flame on the cooker. Do be careful doing this. Once charred, wrap the pepper in cling-film. When cooled unwrap the pepper and peel off the chargrilled skin, rinse under a running tap. De-seed the pepper and slice the flesh into strips.
6. Bring the pizza dough to room temperature. If your dough has been placed into the fridge to prove, remove it from the fridge and allow it to come back to room temperature for at least 15 minutes before shaping the dough.
7. Preheat the oven to 250C / 230 Fan / Gas 9. Cut a piece of greaseproof paper which is as large as your chosen baking tray. Place the tray in the oven to be heating (without the greaseproof paper).
8. Shape the pizza base. Liberally flour the clean work surface. Place the pizza dough onto the work surface and knock-back briefly. Stretch the dough into a circle to form your pizza base. Aim to do this carefully so as not to tear the dough with your fingers; though if this happens simply patch it up. The dough will make a base about 28 - 30cm diameter. Remember you don't want it too thick so it's not cooked through; but not too thin so the dough tears. The crust is likely to be a little thicker than the body of the pizza.
9. Transfer to greaseproof paper. Place the stretched pizza dough onto the piece of greaseproof paper. Slide this onto a large chopping board. This will allow you to transfer the dressed uncooked pizza onto the heated baking tray far more easily.
10. Dress the pizza. Place 3 or 4 teaspoons of the cold tomato sauce onto the pizza base & spread out. Scatter on the grated mozzarella. Scatter over the grated sheep's cheese. Distribute the strips of pepper evenly.
11. Bake. Remove the heated baking tray from the oven. Slide the uncooked pizza from the chopping board onto the baking tray. Place the tray back in the oven and bake for 10 - 12 minutes. You may need to rotate the tray after about 8 minutes.
Notes:a) A couple of teaspoons of shop bought passata can be used in place of the homemade tomato sauce.
b) If making a homemade tomato sauce, divide the remaining cold sauce into 3 or 4 small Tupperware containers. Place in the freezer ready for your next homemade pizza. Allow to defrost fully before using.
c) To avoid using too much cling film in the home, consider purchasing a shower cap for use when covering bread & pizza dough which is being proved. The shower cap can be wiped clean and re-used.