I have a soft spot for pizza (other than my tummy) and probably always will have. From the brown self-raising scone mix bases topped with mature cheddar and slices of tomato of my youth (mum desperately trying to sneak in some whole grains), past the deep cheesy messes from the only takeaway place in town as a teenager to take in the delights of first thin crust real pizza in Rome and then deep pan Chicago style pizza eaten in down town Chicago (whilst hunting for hotdogs as it happens) through to what I honestly believe is the best pizza I’ve eaten in years at Cal’s Own, I’ll never stop loving the bread and cheese. At it’s worst it’s a greasy mess when drunk, at it’s finest it’s a perfect meal from a few ingredients.

Pizza is also a surprisingly good way to have a use up of ingredients that need using, which was very much the case tonight.

I’d planned this to be a post about two simple pizzas I made this evening, one of which was based on Cal’s Own amazing garlic and parsley job, but then it all went wrong and I almost binned it completely. However, after some encouragement from Twitter and the realisation that I was still eating something pretty awesome, here it comes. Complete with lessons learned.

You will need

For pizza base

  • 400g of strong white bread flour
  • 280ml of warm water*
  • a small knob of butter or a slug of olive oil
  • a good pinch of instant yeast
  • a small pinch of salt.

For the toppings

  • A few inches of chorizo (that had gone dry and oily)
  • A handful of parsely (wilted beyond rescue)
  • A garlic clove (sliced as thin as possible)
  • Soft Polish cheese (bought because it was new and forgotten in the fridge)
  • A slug of olive oil

Do

  1. Stick the oven on at 200 degrees oC and pop a baking try in.
  2. I cheated and used my truste bread maker but if you don’t have one just mix all the pizza ingrediants in a bowl and then kneed until smooth and pliable
  3. Top out flat. A bit of oil on the rolling pin makes it easier to work with. aim for about 3mm
  4. Top one half of the pizza with fine sliced garlic, parsley and soft cheese
  5. Top the other half with cheese and finely sliced chorizo
  6. Splash a little olive oil on, especially over the uncovered areas
  7. Carefully transfer to the baking tray. This is hard. This is where I screwed up and everything ended up in a pile.
  8. Bake hard and fast. Probably about 10 mins.

Results

Well, even through it all ended up in a heap and had to be badly stretched into place on the red hot tray, then stuck to th tray and refused to come off, it was still pretty good. The piled up bits of dough were too chewy and under done, the thin bits too dry and brittle. I should have used way more cheese. The garlic burnt where it was exposed. However, all that said, it was still pretty damned good.

Lessons learned

  1. The dough was too soft. I should have used less water, probably about 150ml
  2. I should have bended the parsley and garlic with a good slug of olive oil and smeared it on. The exposed dry garlic just burnt.
  3. The dough stuck to my board. More oil needed when rolling out, or polenda (this has worked well int he past)

Raw ingredients (and the dough) pre chaos Nightmare.  Note the bundled up dough, the hole, the very thin bits and the mixing of the toppings. Ballsacks Maybe this will work out OK - looks... ok! Improved by adding garden, found watering can and a beers