I don’t usually cook the same thing regularly except when it comes to Fridays. Most Friday evenings I’m rolling pizza dough. Pizza means the weekend. Pizza means relaxing, no need for cutlery and no school tomorrow.
For years I made Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's pizza dough. It uses half plain flour and half strong and it was ready to use after an hour and a half. Then I used the Ballymaloe Garden Café dough recipe which is ready to use straight away and a great recipe to have.
This year though I aim to use half wholemeal flour in as many recipes as I can. Last year I made the switch to organic flour for everything I bake and now the wholemeal, rye and buckwheat flours are being used. Admittedly some Fridays I end up using wholemeal wraps as pizza bases and those are totally fine but lack the chewy crust, substance and theatre of creating our own bases.
My kids invariably end up helping. Nothing cures a toddler tantrum like a ball of dough that needs pummelling. I always sacrifice a golf ball sized amount for my youngest.
This latest dough recipe I’m using has wholemeal flour and, the key ingredient, parmesan. It creates a cheesy, biscuity crust that’s so delicious. Every scrap of this dough gets eaten.
The boys now roll and dress their own pizzas. It’s a lovely tradition and they enjoy throwing all kinds of toppings on.
For a while now I’ve been adding ground chia seeds to sauces as a quick way to thicken them and add extra nutrients. Bursting with Omega 3 fatty acids, fibre and protein chia also has thickening qualities that makes the sauce rich and spreadable within minutes. Chia seeds can absorb up to 30 times their weight in water. So no need to simmer sauce on the hob for half an hour. I blitz it all up in the Nutribullet blender and keep it in the fridge. Add whatever herbs you like. I use marjoram, oregano or basil for that classic pizza flavour. This sauce is also great on pasta or added to gravy for flavour and texture.
Makes 2-3 depending on size
225g plain flour
225g wholemeal flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
2tsp instant yeast
50g grated parmesan
150ml warm water
390g chopped tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp ground chia seeds
8 leaves of basil or 1 tbsp oregano leaves
Pinch of sugar or dash of honey or maple syrup
Salt and black pepper
2 balls of mozzarella
To serve: fresh basil leaves, fresh pesto, a green salad
1. Place the yeast and sugar into the warm water. Stir and leave for five minutes.
2. Place the flours, ½ tsp salt and parmesan into the bowl of a food processor. Blitz to combine. Add the frothy yeast water and blitz again till a rough dough forms. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead till it comes together to form a smooth dough. Set aside and cover.
3. To make the sauce place the chopped tomatoes, garlic, herbs and ground chia into the bowl of the food processor. Blitz till it forms a lightly textured sauce. Add salt, black pepper and a dash of something sweet to balance the tomatoes.
4. Roll the dough out as thinly as possible. Lay the dough onto two lightly floured trays and spread a few tbsp of sauce onto each one. Divide the mozzarella between the pizzas. Bake for 12-15 minutes till the mozzarella is bubbling and the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and drizzle with pesto or olive oil and fresh basil before serving.