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In pursuit of perfect Pizza

June 22, 2008


I discovered the Smitten Kitchen blog fairly recently and although I haven’t yet had a chance to explore the archives I’ve been really enjoying her posts. Partly because everything just looks so delicious but mostly since it seems to spark ideas of things to do in my own kitchen.

This post on pizza making, particularly the link to making pizza under the grill (broiler) on a heated cast iron pan got me thinking about how I’ve never tried making real pizza, sorry mum but your wholesome style of pizza while delicious doesn’t count as ‘real pizza’, mostly because I knew the results would only be disappointing.

A few days after making these cupcakes, I still had the leftover lassi (for those that asked about this I hope the photo helps – it’s the salty kind) sitting in the fridge and since it smelt pretty tangy and was past the

‘consume within 2 days’ on the label I figured the best idea would be to bake something with it.


I’ve been making very simple naan style yoghurt flat breads pretty regularly for a while. They’re great to have in the freezer since you can defrost them almost instantly in the toaster. This seems to work with any unflavoured yoghurt and although I once started this from a recipe it’s not really something you need one for. To make the dough all you do is mix together some plain white flour, a couple of teaspoons of b. soda and enough yoghurt to make a dough and knead it for a few minutes until smooth and elastic.


Then you can roll it into flat breads, I make them small and round so they fit in the toaster and cook them under a hot grill.


They don’t take long to cook at all, so pay attention to them and turn them when just puffed up and golden. If you get distracted and check your email they burn.


This worked perfectly with the leftover lassi, but it was close to dinnertime and I was still thinking about smitten’s pizzas. Rolled and stretched some dough out into a bigger round and loading it with some toppings. The crust was wonderful, but the centre stayed a bit soggy and floppy.


Pizza + hot cast iron + hot grill sounded like a combination that should probably be tested out for the first time with someone else in the house. So a few days later Hannah came round for dinner and I roped her into helping maneuver everything. Luckily no-one ended up in a+e (er) with a crushed, burnt foot and the whole thing turned out to be pretty simple. The results were fantastic. The base was crunchy and nicely charred on the bottom and still soft and puffy inside. Our dinner conversation was rather hilarious because it consisted almost entirely of:

‘this is so good’

‘I can’t believe we made this’

‘it’s real pizza’

and repeat


The yoghurt based dough is pretty indistinguishable from a classic yeasted one and has some pretty major advantages (other than being a way to use up rather tangy yoghurt). Because there’s no waiting around for the dough to rise this takes less time to make from scratch than a traditional pizza. You could easily get home from work and have it on the table 20-30 minutes later. Then sometime in the next few days you can make it again (and again, I did get a little obsessed) even faster, because unlike a yeasted dough this keeps in the fridge for several days (mine was still perfectly good after 4 days). We spent Thursday afternoon taking the Leisl photos and I had to get home, eat, pick some stuff up and be back out at K1 for knit night before 6. Well we got back at 5.10 and managed to make and eat this and be out of the house by 5.30 That’s pretty fast food.

Now I’m thinking of trying to make ricotta ish cheese from goats milk, or sheeps would be good but where to buy the milk? Maybe the dairy that sells sheep and goats milk at the farmers market would sell some milk, hmm… Goats milk is at least available in the supermarkets. I made cheese once, when I was about ten. It was fun and a little magical, but very messy and being nagged to clean up after myself kind of put me off.

Right now though, something sweet. There’s apple and raspberry crumble that probably needs to come out of the oven.

Note:grill in the UK = broiler in the US and grill in the US = barbecue in the UK


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