Bread at 32p a loaf. Pizza bases at 12p

pizzaI’ve been experimenting this week to see if I could make a passable pizza that was quick, cheap and minimal on the mess front.

I cracked it and we’ve been whooping and cheering and eating a lot of pizza to celebrate.

The key is to use plain flour, not the strong stuff or the fancy pasta flour. This will mean you have instantly perfect dough with no kneading, proving or knocking back going on. And it takes only 20 mins from start to finish.

  • approx 1 kilo plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons active dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 500 ml warm tap water
  • Salt
  • Sunflower oil

Making the DoughYou don’t have to be too exact with this. If it looks too dry, add more water. Too wet, add more flour.

1) In a measuring jug put the yeast, sugar and fill to approx a quarter full with warm water from the tap.

Leave for 10 minutes until frothy then fill to 500ml level.

2) Put the flour in a mixing bowl or large pan sprinkle with salt then gradually pour in the liquid while mixing with a metal spoon. Add a glug of sunflower oil.

When it comes together in a ball and you can push your finger in without the dough sticking to it, then it’s ready.

3) Divide the dough with a pair of scissors into 5. Flour the work surface and a rolling pin. Form the dough into balls.

Roll out the first ball into an approximate circle that will fit into your frying pan.

4) Put your grill on to get it hot. Heat your frying pan until it’s really hot and then lay your pizza base in the dry pan. It will immediately start to puff up at the edges and bubble on the base.

5) Put your toppings on the pizza while it is in the pan. I used some old tomatoes chopped up, microwaved for 2 mins. Leave the thin juice in the bowl and use the lumpy bits.

My daughter wanted mozzarella and rocket (reduced price) and son Joe wanted mozzarella and chorizo.

underneath-pizza5) When the bottom is nicely coloured. Pop it under the grill and watch it bubble.

As soon as you have one pizza under the grill, you can get the next in the frying pan. Just remember to keep your eye on the grilling one because it only takes a couple of minutes to cook

As the easy peasy dough had worked so well, I made another batch but this time I made rolls and an enormous loaf.

Without kneading, or proving, or knocking back (all things that I’ve hated about bread making) I had perfect rolls which took 10 mins and a loaf that was delicious when toasted but a bit too springy as a bread. I decided that the only variable was steam. I repeated the loaf with a smaller tin and it was perfect.

The cost of the 5 pizza bases, including fuel costs (17p) is 63p. Yes, that’s 63 pence for 5 pizzas . The mozzarella is 65p a ball but you can use cheaper cheddar, the tomatoes were 60p, the chorizo £1.80. The rocket 59p. Onion 8p, capers 10p.

We’re looking at about £3.80 for all the toppings here (priced for 2 x mozzarella) So that would work out at £1.02 per pizza for fresh, delicious, filling food that is quicker to make than opening the cardboard boxes of the crappy shop bought stuff and re heating.

We’re also talking 32p for a loaf of brilliant bread

Go for it!bread-rolls

PS. And then . . . because I got a bit over excited about that cheeky little bread recipe, I decided to have a go at making pitta breads with it.

Roll out balls of dough into pitta shapes. Leave on a well floured surface for 10mins to rise a bit. Heat a tray in oven on full heat. Lift pittas on to tray and bake ’til puffed up.

Then I got really silly and thought I’d mix a bit of sugar and cinnamon into the dough and fry it to see if it resembled doughnuts (which should be made with milk and butter). They were a bit bloody lovely. Especially when dipped in the failed Heston Blumenthal milk chocolate mousse.

Yum yum.

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