There are some things in life that once you upgrade, you simply can’t go back. Shoes spring to mind, no one wants squeaky cheap shoes. Men too; after kissing a lot of frogs it’s refreshing to find someone even slightly close to a prince. And pizza, well the last time I ordered take out pizza I remembered all the reasons I do it so rarely. Soggy bottom, too-salty meat and indigestion. Oh and a feeling of having been fleeced – £15 for essentially bad cheese on soggy toast? Pah!
So here’s my pizza recipe – it’s the one I bang on about all the time. If you can’t find buttermilk despair not, your pizza will just have a slightly less sourdough style taste. You could just add a teaspoon of lemon juice to some milk and use that instead.
FYI: The gorgeous new updated photo is not by me, I wish it were, it’s by the lovely Lyndsey James.
Buttermilk crust pizza
Makes enough dough for 6 large pizzas though depends how thin you roll them.
- 650g strong white flour
- 7g sachet of easy-blend yeast
- 2 tsp normal fine salt (Or ground Maldon if you’re so inclined.)
- 30ml olive oil
- 50ml buttermilk (Next to cream at the supermarket, if you can’t find it use milk with a dash of lemon, or just milk)
- 325ml warm water (A little cooler than a baby’s bath.)
- A little semolina for rolling – not essential but makes for a crispier crust. Otherwise use flour.
To make the dough pop the flour, yeast and salt together into your food mixer bowl. Whizz together using the dough hook attachment set to a low speed. Then turn the speed to low and pour in the buttermilk and oil. Next add the water and leave on low speed until the dough looks elastic. Takes about 4 minutes. Remove from the mixer, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place until it’s doubled in size. This takes about 2 hours in this house but in most normal warm places takes about 1.5 hours. (Warning: this dough is stickier than most! Don’t worry if it doesn’t look as smooth and elastic as normal bread dough does. This is normal.)
Now you can knead by hand of course but this dough is sticky, so if you’re game then oil your hands, oil your work surface and use a dough scraper. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Once the dough has risen pop the bowl back into the mixer and knead using the dough hook on a low speed for about 2 minutes until your dough looks and smooth again. (By hand knead for about 4 minutes.) Now it’s ready. Either divide into pieces, put into plastic bags and freeze for a rainy day or start making pizza.
To make great upgraded homemade pizza turn the oven to the highest setting and make sure the shelf is at the top. Take some semolina and put a handful on your work surface, then take your slightly sticky pizza dough and cover the whole thing in semolina – all sides. Then you can start rolling. (Use a wine bottle if you don’t own a rolling pin.) The aim is to get it as thin as possible without breaking. I never worry about the shape. Any shape pizza goes in the Bell house.
Put your dough onto a baking sheet making sure the edges don’t escape over the edge. Nobody wants burnt crusts. If you’ve made an especially large pizza then fold the dough into half and then quarters to transfer it to the baking sheet. Spread some tomato sauce over the top (I simmer a tin of chopped tomatoes, 2 tbsp of tomato puree, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp of sugar on the hob for about 30 mins but you can use ready made stuff) and then some mozzarella cheese and whatever toppings take your fancy. Mr B likes some chilli chopped into the tomato sauce and then a general meat based topping. I like ham and pineapple but I was almost a child of the 70s so that might explain that.
Bake in the oven until the edges look brown and crisp and the topping is suitably cooked. About 10 minutes but keep checking. Serve with napkins and a large pair of scissors for cutting. Much better than those little pizza wheel thingies.
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