Ever since we moved to Maffra, we have been in search of fresh yeast. It seems that bakers around here use dried yeast, which meant that whenever we went to Melbourne we would have to stock up, bring it home, portion it out, and then vac seal it to help retain the freshness and viability of the product.
Recently Gary has made it his mission to find fresh yeast locally. He googled, then he hit the road. He found a place in nearby Sale, that sell it frozen – it seemed to work ok. But last week he went to Traralgon, and guess what…. We have fresh yeast!
When he came home he presented me with a lovely little package, but stated that there was a price to pay…. That price – I need to send a recipe for pizza dough that has fresh yeast in the ingredients, to the lady that served him. Oh, and the recipe is to be one using “normal” flour. I haven’t made normal pizza dough in years – I only make gluten free, it’s just easier to do it that way, so that I can eat it.
Now, I have a wonderful Italian cookbook, The food of Italy (2000) J Price (ed) (Murdoch Books), so grabbed it down, and yes, there was the recipe needed.
I couldn’t share the recipe without testing it, so that decided what our evening meal was to be that day. I would need to make “normal” pizza dough and a gluten free option for me.
The recipe was, as expected, perfect, which means that I can not only share it with Rosa, I can share it with everyone.
I was asked if I had a pizza dough recipe using fresh yeast, I didn't, but found this recipe in my favourite Italian recipe book, I am told that it is perfect, but I cannot try it, because it is not gluten free.
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 15 g fresh yeast or 2 tsp dry yeast
- 220g lukewarm water
- 450g plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Put the sugar and yeast into a small bowl and stir in 90 ml of the water. Set aside in a draught-free place to activate – it should take about five minutes
- Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, or in a food processor fitted with the plastic kneading blade. Add the olive oil, remaining water and the yeast mixture.
- Mix just until the dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 minutes, adding a little flour or a few drops of warm water if necessary, until you have a soft dough that is not sticky but is dry to the touch.
- Rub the inside of a large bowl to coat it with oil, then cut a shallow cross on the top of the ball with a sharp knife. Leave the dough in the bowl, cover with a tea towel or put it in a plastic bag and leave in a draught-free spot for 1 – 1½ hours until double in size (or leave in the fridge for 8 hours to rise slowly).
- Punch down the dough to its original size, then divide into two portions (At this stage the dough can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 hours, or frozen. Bring back to room temperature before continuing.)
- Working with one portion at a time, push the dough out to make a thick circle. Use the heels of your hands and work from the centre of the circle outwards, to flatten the dough into a 30cm circle with a slightly raised rim. (If you find it difficult to push the dough out by hand you can use a rolling pin.)
- Place the dough on a lightly oiled tray dusted with cornmeal, add your favourite toppings and get it into the oven, pre-heated to 240˚C, as quickly as possible.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes.
- Source: The food of Italy (2000) J Price (ed) (Murdoch Books) p 281
Oh, and for those looking for fresh yeast down our way, Manny’s Market in Traralgon is the place to go.
Until next time…
Happy cooking & bon appétit!