Pizza is one of the foods I missed the most when I gave up milk. I used to console myself with the thought of the pizza I could have once the pregnancy was over, little realising elder daughter had decided to permanently change my body in this amusing way. Over the years I have experimented with vegan pizza and had some pretty good ones. This, however, is not vegan pizza. (Sorry vegans – your cake recipes are very helpful to me, but I am not one of your tribe.) Instead, here are two ways to replace the umami taste of grilled cows’ cheese.
The first, which works for one of my daughters, but not me, is goats milk cheddar. The other is cured meat. These particular pizzas were made with speck because it was on offer but prosciutto has also worked. It goes all crispy in the heat of the oven and gives a lovely salty zing to the pizzas.
Pizza (after the pizza recipe in Dough by Richard Bertinet)
500g strong white flour
7g instant yeast
50g olive oil (I tend to do 50/50 cooking olive oil and evo, as the taste does make a difference but I’m cheap)
Mix the dry ingredients together, add the wet. Weighing the liquids seems strange at first but I really have found his recipes solid and it is more accurate. The dough will come together sticky, but resist putting flour on the surface and just keep kneading for about 5 to 10 minutes. Really very quickly it will go from unbelievably sticky to lovely and silky. Put back in bowl and leave for an hour or so to rise.
(Here’s a video of his technique. Seriously, my bread is so much better since I’ve started using his wetter doughs.)
Turn your oven on to as high as it can go. This is about 250 C in my oven. I use a pizza stone, but a baking tray put in the oven will work – the idea is to put the pizza on something hot to make the base crispier.
Some roast cherry tomatoes blitzed in a hand blender.
Goats cheese cheddar – a few slices
Cured ham – 3 slices per pizza
Once the dough has risen, divide it into 3 and make it into 3 balls. Leave to rest for 10 minutes. Shape by stretching the dough out into roughly 20cm wide rounds. Spread the puree to the edges, add either meat or cheese and add some basil leaves.
Put in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until the edges are browning. Eat as hot as possible. As you can tell, I didn’t remember to take a photo today until after I’d started eating some.