If you are self isolating or looking for inspiration when home schooling your children try this recipe with them. It isn't meant to be a structured lesson, rather a tool for discussion and showing your children a little bit more of the science behind our food and how, if you make a dish from scratch, something that is deemed to be unhealthy, can actually be healthy and enjoyable to make to. Hopefully tasty as well!
Makes 4 individual pizzas
Calories: 606 kcal
Carbohydrate: 88g of which sugars - 6.7g
Fat: 16g, of which saturated fat - 5.9g
450 g Strong White Bread Flour or Italian 00 Pasta Flour
300 ml water
10g fast acting yeast
25ml Olive Oil
Pinch of Salt
Splash Olive Oil
2 x 400g tin tomatoes
1 onion finely chopped
1 tsp mixed herbs
Any of your choice
Plus, handful of mozzarella or Ricotta
Place the flour in a bowl fitted with a dough hook. Put the salt one side of the bowl. Add the yeast to the other side of the bowl.
Mix at a slow speed until you achieve a dough texture.
Add the oil and water knead slowly for a further 5 – 10 minutes.
If you don’t have a mixer, you can use your hands. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes.
Cover and let it prove for 1 hour. Shape your pizzas and get creating!
The Science bit!
When the dough ingredients are mixed gluten in the flour forms a loose network, a bit like a matrix or grid. Starch in the flour is also broken down into a sugar called maltose by enzymes. Enzymes are little proteins that help chemical reactions take place. In this case deconstructing starch. When the dough is kneaded the gluten stretches and the network gets stronger. During this stretch air bubbles get trapped in the network.
When the dough is left in a warm place, the yeast gets to work. This time the yeast produces enzymes as a result of mixing with the flour, water and oil. These enzymes deconstruct the maltose into the simple sugar glucose. Glucose is the sugar our bodies need for energy. Yeast effectively uses this glucose as energy and in turn produces carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide can’t go anywhere so it helps the air bubbles get bigger to create more space. Hence the dough rising.
Questions - Feel the dough once you have kneaded it and before you leave it to rise. How does it feel? Then feel it again once it has risen? How does it feel now? Also, discuss that some people can’t eat gluten as their guts can’t tolerate it. How could they get a gluten free dough to rise if their flour doesn’t have gluten in it?
Add the oil to a saucepan and add the onions and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes Add the tins of tomatoes and herbs and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
Once ready, put on top of your shaped Pizza dough. If there is any left over, you can freeze this and use next time.
Add your choice of toppings and finish off with the cheese.
Bake in the oven at 220 C / 200 fan / 425 F / Gas 7 for 20 minutes or until nice and golden and bubbling on top.
Making it go further
The topping can be used to make tomato soup too. Just add some vegetable stock, mild spices and red lentils and hey presto you have soup?
Question – What else could you do the tomato sauce topping you have just made for it to go further?