Technical Challenge Week 7 – Margherita Pizza

I love making pizzas – I’ve been making these at least once a month for the past couple of years, so I think I would have been pretty good at this challenge! The most important thing is to make sure the mozzarella has been drained and squeezed in kitchen roll to remove as much moisture as possible. If this isn’t done, you may end up with a soup of liquid in the middle of your pizza!

Makes 2 Pizzas



  •  5g (1 tsp) fast-action dried yeast
  • 260mL (1 cup) warm water
  • 400g (3 1/cups) strong white bread flour
  • 1/tsp salt
  • 2 tsp oil
  • large pinch of sugar
  • basil leaves, to garnish


  •  1 can (400g) plum tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • large pinch of sugar


  1. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together in a large bowl. Add the water and oil on top, and mix together with a spoon until you have a shaggy dough.
  2. Knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
  3. For the sauce, chop and fry the garlic in a little oil for a minute, then stir in the tomatoes.
  4. Add the sugar and salt and simmer for 10 minutes until it is a thick, sauce-like consistency. Leave to one side until needed.
  5. Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF). Split the dough in half and using your hands, press out into a large circle. Try not to press the outside rim to ensure a thick crust.
  6. Add the sauce to the middle of the pizza, and spread outwards leaving an inch rim for the crust. Slice your mozzarella and place on top.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cheese is brown and bubbling. Remove from the heat and add basil leaves to garnish. Enjoy!

Technical Challenge Week 3 – Cottage Loaf (Walnut and Berry Bread)

2017-09-16 09.23.46-22017-09-16 09.30.07-2

The technical challenge from week 3 was a cottage loaf. I thought it would be a bit boring to do a loaf of white bread – so here is my favourite bread recipe reimagined as a cottage loaf!

My Walnut and Berry Bread is delicious as-is with butter, but is also great toasted. I try not to make this too often because it rarely has time to cool down before the loaf is gone!

I like to change up the fruit I add to this recipe – my current favourite is a mixture of currants, flame raisins and dried cranberries. However, if you can’t find or don’t like any of these, feel free to add whatever you like!


  •  150g (11/cups) white bread flour
  • 150g (11/cups) wholemeal bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 200mL (1 cup) warm water
  • 100g (3/cups) walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 100g (2/cups) dried fruit (see above)


  1. Mix together the flours, salt, yeast, and cinnamon. Add the sugar and oil to the water and mix briefly.
  2. Add the liquid to the flour, and mix until you have a have a dough – add a little more water if the dough is dry. Knead for 5 minutes until soft and springy.
  3. Add the fruit/nut mixture to the dough and knead thoroughly until well incorporated.
  4. Take two-thirds of the dough, and roll into a ball. Place onto a lined baking tray and flatten slightly with one hand. Take the remaining third and repeat on top of the larger ball. Flour two fingers and push down through the centre of the dough from the top down to the bottom to bond the two sections together.
  5. Cover with oiled clingfilm or a damp tea towel and leave to rise for around an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Remove the covering and make 8 slits in each tier of the bread. Place into the centre of the oven and add cold water to the bottom of the oven to create steam.
  7. Bake for around 35 minutes. Turn the loaf over and check if it sounds hollow – if not, place back into the oven upside-down for 5 minutes.
  8. Remove and cool on a wire rack.


This recipe has been adapted from Delia’s Walnut and Raisin Bread – find it here.