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

Ingredients

Dough

  •  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

Sauce

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

Method

  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)

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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!

Ingredients

  •  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)

Method

  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.

Dulce de Leche Doughnuts

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This is the first recipe I ever tried when making doughnuts, and it was so good that I never tried another! The doughnuts are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and filled with dulce de leche; the most incredible and thick caramel sauce. They are then dusted in a cinnamon sugar, which takes them that extra step further.

I fry these using a large cast iron casserole pot. The original recipe doesn’t specify a temperature, but I have found 190°c (375°f) to be perfect. When frying, it is important not to fry too many at once; the room temperature dough will lower the temperature of the oil. The thought of these is making me hungry; I think I have to make another batch this weekend!

Ingredients

For the doughnuts

  • 1 sachet (7g) dried yeast
  • 75g (13 cup) caster sugar
  • 550g (412 cups) plain (AP) flour
  • 320mL (113 cups) semi-skimmed milk
  • 80g (13 cup) unsalted butter
For frying, filling and rolling

  • 1 litre (414 cups) vegetable oil
  • 200g (23 cup) dulce de leche
  • 75g (13 cup) caster sugar
  •  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Heat the milk until warm. Add the yeast and one teaspoon of the sugar and flour. Leave to sit for 10-15 minutes; you should see bubbles from the activated yeast.
  2. Add flour and sugar to a large bowl. Briefly rub in the butter. Pour in the milk and stir until it comes together. Knead with extra flour for 5 minutes until smooth and pliable.
  3. Leave to rise until doubled in size (around 1 hour at room temperature).
  4. Knock back the dough and divide into 12 equal balls. Divide evenly over 2 large baking sheets, and leave to prove until doubled again (around 45 minutes).
  5. Heat the oil to 190°c (375°f). Start with one doughnut; fry for 5 minutes, turning it over halfway through. Continue with the rest of the doughnuts (two or three at a time), making sure not to crowd the pan. Drain on kitchen paper.
  6. Warm the dulce de leche in a small saucepan until it has thinned slightly. Mix the cinnamon and sugar on a small plate. Using a piping bag and a small nozzle, fill each doughnut with dulce de leche, until a little oozes out. Roll in the cinnamon sugar.

 

The original recipe was from Jamie Oliver’s website; you can find the link here.