It’s safe to say that time is very much on our side at the moment. I often find myself searching for ways to be productive, sheepishly trying to avoid the feeling that I have wasted yet another day completing irrelevant tasks. I believe I'm not alone in this - with society encouraging us to live life at a frantic pace, it’s no surprise that this new way of living has left us puzzling our lost normalities.
Although light begins to show itself at the end of this long and winding tunnel, (albeit somewhat blocked by our delusional and childish political leaders) those golden exit doors are still some miles away and therefore we must take a deep breath and continue along the creative path we have been following over the past few months.
I think we can all agree on at least one fact: pizza is the perfect distraction from any scenario. Recreating the euphoric state of satisfaction achieved by biting into a rustic artisan pizza in an Italian restaurant may seem impossible to do at home, especially when you're without vital equipment like a pizza stone or oven. Indeed this dilemma even had me puzzled, and I stood pondering the plethora of possibilities in my garden when the soft rays of spring sunshine fell onto the sleeping BBQ, and I realised it was time to awaken an old friend. With the help of Ken Folkish's Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast we can make a great dough, cook it on the BBQ, and finish it off under the grill - and we will have ourselves the perfect backyard adventure. So, let us begin...
This recipe will make around 8 - 12 pizzas depending on how thick you like your pizza bases - I will leave that one to you!
I have chosen my favourite recipe from Ken Folkish’s book Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast to make this dough - The Overnight White bread. It’s a brilliant recipe and the dough (as you might have guessed) can be used to make a great artisan loaf or even a focaccia - you will have to buy the book yourself to unravel those secrets! I will provide links to Ken folkish’s YouTube channel where you can find step by step guidance on handling and shaping the dough, and I will also include a tutorial on how to make the overnight white loaf itself.
1,000 grams of White Flour 780 grams of water at 32 - 35 22 grams of fine sea salt 2 grams of instant dried yeast - The recipe in the book suggests 0.8g but due to our typical British climate, I have increased the yeast in order to ensure that the dough rises.
1. Autolyse - Mix together the 1,000 grams of flour with the 780 grams of water in a large container. Mix by hand until incorporated. Cover and put aside for 30 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watchv=C4tgEQw4ibs&list=PLWqTac5vy0cfmXcQgnMAZl6z69kpmUzBI&index=3 2. Mix - Add the 22 grams of salt and the 2 grams of instant dried yeast to the container. Mix by hand, wetting your working hand before mixing so the dough doesn’t stick to you. Reach underneath the dough and gently stretch this section before folding it over the other side of the dough. Repeat this process 3 times. Use the pincer method (watch the link provided for guidance) to fully integrate the ingredients. Let the dough rest before applying 2 or 3 more folds. The target dough temperature at the end of the mix is between 25c and 26c. Cover the container and let the dough rise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoY7CPw0E1s&list=PLWqTac5vy0cfmXcQgnMAZl6z69k
3. Fold - This dough needs 2 or 3 folds. Apply these folds during the first one and a half hours after mixing the dough. After doing the last fold, cover and let the dough begin its journey overnight. When the dough has doubled in size, usually 12 to 14 hours after mixing, it's ready to be divided. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQHuWDEo3SA&list=PLWqTac5vy0cfmXcQgnMAZl6z69kpmUzBI&index=5 4. Divide - Moderately flour your work surface. Flour your hands before gently easing the dough out onto the work surface without tearing it. Dust the middle, where you’re planning to cut the dough, with flour. Cut the dough into 2 equal-size pieces with a dough knife (if you have one) - a normal knife can also do the trick. Note - you can now save half the dough for a great loaf of bread or focaccia or go right ahead and shape the lot into dough - let's presume you choose the latter. Dust the top of both pieces of dough with flour. Now cut both pieces of dough into 6 portions. 5. Shape the dough into balls - Shape each piece of dough into a medium-tight ball, being careful no tear or degas the dough. 6. Refrigerate - Place the dough balls onto a well floured tray making sure to leave a generous space between them. Now, flour the tops of the dough balls, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before shaping and adding toppings. Dough can keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. 7. Shaping into Pizzas - Watch Ken's tutorial for this step.
The Pizza Sauce
Before we move onto the toppings and cooking method, let’s make a beautiful pizza sauce.
Splash of olive oil 1 white onion (finely chopped) 2 garlic cloves1 bay leaf 1 tin of Italian chopped tomatoes1/2 tube of passata (tomato purée) 1/2 tsp of brown sugar Fresh/dried basil Salt and pepper
Fry your onions on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until soft, add the garlic and bay leaf and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add your Italian chopped tomatoes and sugar, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add your passata and continue to cook for 15 minutes on a low heat, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper and remove the bay leaf.
Using a hand blender or food processor, blend the sauce until it looks red and creamy.
I cannot resist simplicity when it comes to Pizza toppings - simple flavours that sing songs of an evening dining in the narrow streets of Rome or Assisi. But, that's not to say you can’t get creative. Here are some of my favourite pizzas to prepare in the Backyard Pizzeria.
Goats Cheese, Walnut & Honey
5 sundried tomatoes 1 small handful of walnuts (crushed) Goats cheese (sliced)1 ball of fresh mozzarella (sliced) 1 tbsp of organic honey Fresh basil leaves (to taste)
2 tbsp of tomato sauce Small handful of cherry tomatoes (halved)1 ball of fresh mozzarella Fresh basil leaves (to taste)
Wild Mushroom & Truffle
1 box of wild mushrooms (sliced) 1 ball of fresh mozzarella (sliced) Parmesan (grated) 2 tbsp of truffle olive oil (to serve) Rocket (to serve)
Note - Bake the mushrooms in truffle oil for 15 minutes at 200 degrees for more flavour!
So, you have your pizzas made and you’re all ready to open the doors of the Backyard Pizzeria. (A pizza paddle is useful for this adventure)
Firstly, light up your BBQ. This will need to be hot - aim for around 250 - 300 degrees.
Whilst your BBQ is heating up, turn on your grill to the highest temperature.
When the BBQ is at it’s target temperature, using a pizza paddle, pick up your pizza and place it on the BBQ.
Cook for 2 minutes. When the base of the pizza is beautifully charred and crusty, transfer it to an oven tray and place it under the grill.
Cook for a further 2 - 3 minutes or until the pizza crust is nice and brown.
Repeat this process for all of your pizzas, and sit down to enjoy the creations of your own Backyard Pizzeria!
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