Today I fancied pizza, so I went hunting for a 50% off voucher from a leading pizza supplier and simply couldn’t find one that worked. So in the end, I swore gently to myself and decided I’d see what flour I had and grabbed the bag out of the cupboard, it was self raising, ‘whats the worse that could happen’ I thought to myself. ‘Not much’ was my considered response. (the beauty of living on your own is that you sink into little chats to yourself, but as no one knows you do that, they can’t identify you’ve gone completely barking – its genius really!) I made up a yeasty brew, my considered method was tip the dry yeast into a small amount of warm water, add extra for luck and a little bit of sugar, swirl around a bit with warm water until its dissolved and starts to smell yeasty and throw it in with more water and a little salt. Some methods suggest that you measure your teaspoon of yeast and the exact ratio of flour etc etc… If you add more yeast, you get a quicker rise, simples, all that waiting for bread to rise is simply the yeast multiplying, so if you start with more, it will be quicker and if it needs more water, add it and if it needs more flour add more of that. I got the warm water from the coffee machine, sans coffee pod and a splash of cold water to cool it down, none of that filling the kettle for a splash of hot water.
And we could talk about kneeding, which stretches the gluten etc etc.. So does leaving it to rise. So mix the water in, make sure there are no dry bits at the bottom of the bowl and leave it for an hour or so, then when its risen and you’ve made your toppings etc, knock it back and work it for a couple of minutes and you will have dough that is perfectly good enough without all of that kneeding, unless of course you fancy a good kneed, and then go ahead, pummel for all your worth, but if your busy and have other things to be getting on with, don’t give it a second thought.
Put it in your tray, push it out and let it rest for a bit, and then it will relax and you’ll be able to get those corners sorted. Otherwise the dough is fighting against you and you can’t push it into the corners. You can top it straight away now, it doesn’t need to rise again.
In between showering and working and waiting for the dough to rise I reduced one tin of tomatoes, maybe 30p and added a little balsamic vinegar and a dash of olive oil and grated some cheese that I had bought at a buy one get one free which worked out at 500g of mature cheddar for £2.00. of which I used about 350 g, I’ve no idea what the flour cost, but it wasn’t alot. The tomatoes need to be relatively cool, at least not boiling hot.
And when we wonder down the path, we discover,