No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Friday, 20 December 2013

CHEESE AND TOMATO PIZZA - with a soda bread crust (with vegan variation)

Makes two 30cm (12") pizzasReady in a jiffy, and very economical, costing less than 0.70p each.  (I need a photo of the basic, cheap pizza - coming soon!)

Topping: Rich tomato sauce, grated cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms and peppers
Same again - except that one diner didn't want any mushrooms
Not the cheapest topping, as in the recipe - these were made with what was in the fridge
Obviously not vegan - but there's a vegan topping given below

400g (or 2 mugs) self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
250ml (or 2/3rds mug) water
2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)

½ tube tomato puree thinned out with hot water into a passata-type sauce
1/2 tsp mixed herbs) (optional)
1/2 stock cube (optional)
200g grated Cheddar cheese

1.     Since the baking powder begins working as soon as it comes into contact with the water, you need to have everything ready before mixing the dough. So, heat the oven to 220C, 425F, gas mark 7 and either grease two baking sheets or line them with baking parchment.

2.     Place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, add the water, then the olive oil (if using) and begin mixing together into a dough, bringing the flour from the sides to the middle. Don't be too gentle, and work fairly fast. The dough should be soft and squishy, so don't be afraid to add more water to keep it soft.

3.     Once the dough is formed, give the mixing bowl a final wipe and turn it out onto your worktop, knead it firmly several times, then mould it into a cob shape. Working quickly, divide the dough into two and, with a rolling pin and plenty of flour, roll each one out into a large circle to fit your trays. (With practice you can get the mixing and shaping done in two or three minutes.)

4.     Divide the tomato between the pizzas, spreading it not quite up to the edges - leave about a centimetre gap - and smoothing it out evenly. Sprinkle the cheese over the tomato.

5.     Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, but check after ten – you may need to swap shelves, or turn the pizzas around to cook evenly. When they're done the pizzas will lift up all along one side when you check underneath, using a bread knife or similar. The bottom should be browning from the edges.

The topping I've given is just a suggestion - use your own favourite toppings, and get the family to join in with their own favourites. 

About using soda bread in this way: 
I've been making my own bread for almost 40 years, and pizzas for most of this time - but I've only recently discovered this variation, and it really is a revelation! 

I often, for a vegan variation, make a rich tomato sauce - by reducing a tin of chopped tomatoes flavoured with soya sauce, mushroom sauce, etc, - and top with strips of sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, sometimes vegan cheese, etc. If I'm using s-d tomatoes, I'll add a good glug of the oil they have been soaked in to the dough instead of olive oil - about 50g. This enhances the crust and gives it almost a shortcrust pastry-type feel.