Monday, January 12, 2009

Here is one of my 2009 goals completed. Home made Sour-dough bread according to this recipe. The dough is extremely wet and a bit gloopy. You really need to flour your hands. The finished loaf looks great though, (and smells great, wish I could waft it your way). The texture was quite airy, even though (because?) it hadn't been kneaded. This recipe is great, because you make up a batch, then leave it alone until you want bread. The texture is chewy and substantial, unlike supermarket bread that can dissolve on your tongue like fairy floss (cotton candy.) My Handsome Husband and I ate it straight from the oven, still warm, smothered in butter and honey. *groan of pleasure*

One benefit of this method is the dough keeps for two weeks, so it is always on hand ready to go. Today, my MIL came over for dinner, but by 5pm I still hadn't figured out what to cook. Then I realised I already had dough sitting in the fridge. Perfect, I'll make pizzas. Mmmm, so yum. One of the main reasons we rarely have pizza, is because you need to plan ahead a few hours. My usual dough recipe needs to be kneaded and left to double in size twice before you can turn it into bread or pizza bases. This can take all afternoon! With this recipe, you pull a lump of dough out of the fridge, roll it out and plop your toppings on. So simple! Who needs soggy frozen pizzas or greasy store bought ones?

My Pizza sauce:
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup BBQ sauce (or steak sauce)
1 clove of crushed garlic
1 handfull of fresh herbs (We have basil, oregano and chives. Sometimes I will put a pinch of rosemary and/or thyme in as well. Anything will work, really.)

Chop/process/pound herbs until the flavour is released.
Mix all ingredients in a covered bowl or screw top jar, and refridgerate until you need it. Don't keep it for much more than 24 hours though, it might grow legs and walk away.

Our Favourite toppings:
Pitted Kalamata olives
Grilled eggplant
Fetta cheese (an extra kick for the grownups)
Pineapple (for the boys)
fresh/semidried tomato
Grilled capsicum (char the capsicum by slicing it and placing it on highest setting of your grill, really burn the skin black! Let the capsicum cool enough to touch and then peel off the blackened skin. You will be left with a bright red, slippery piece of capsicum, that tastes smoky and so sweet.)
chopped onion or shallots
Top everything with lots of grated cheese. We use bocconcini or mozarella if we are feeling rich, but any mild, melting cheese works fine.

P.S. Making your own pizza means it is really easy to cater for finicky eaters. It is so simple to just keep the eggplant, or the onions, or whatever, to one side of a pizza. Use a long piece of chive on top of the cheese to show the halfway mark. Can you believe pizza chains charge extra for half and half pizzas?

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