Yes, one little recipe can do it all!
My hero, Jamie Oliver, was the one to show us this little number, although he uses it soley for pizza crusts. Once I got over my fear of using yeast in recipes, I embraced this one fully. It makes a huge amount, which is good because it’s messy to make, a little labourious, and you can freeze the extra quantities for quick and easy use later.
1 kilo bread flour
1 pint tepid water
21 grams yeast
pinches of salt
1 tsp sugar
Put the flour in a very large bowl (we don’t have a bowl large enough, so we use a large pot).
Make a well in the middle of the flour, and add the rest of the ingredients in order to the well.
Stir with a fork, starting with the middle and allowing the flour to slowly incorporate. As it turns into dough, roll up your sleeves and start kneading. You’ll probably find that there is enough flour in the bottom of the bowl to keep kneading, but if you need more, add more.
Roll the dough into a sausage shape, and cut into 10 pieces.
IN THE MEANTIME:
This recipe is best accomplished if you have a buddy who can simultaneously prepare the tin foil and organize it all while your hands are covered in flour.
Tear off 10 even squares of tin foil. Lightly grease each one with olive oil.
BACK TO THE DOUGH:
On a floured board, roll out each of the 10 pieces into a crust 20-25cms in diameter. (If you are making tortilla chips, then roll out the dough as thinly as you possibly can).
Put each crust on a piece of greased tin foil. Whatever quantity you aren’t using right now, you can pile on top of one another (the tin foil serves many ingenious purposes for this recipe, including separating the crusts in the freezer), put into a freezer bag, and freeze.
When you want to use the frozen crusts, you will simply have to pre-cook them for a few minutes so as not to be too soggy.
Now, here are the different applications for your dough creations:
This dough will make beautiful unleavened pizzas that have a gourmet flare and are great for preparing and sharing at parties. Put whatever you want to on top of the crust (I like fresh tomatoes diced and squeezed to get the moisture out, garlic, basil, fresh mozzarella pieces and salt & pepper), then put the pizza (on the foil) directly on the oven rack at the highest temperature for about 10 minutes.
If you like really crispy thin crusts, then pre-cook the crust for a few minutes, flip it over, add the toppings, and put back in the oven until it reaches your desired level of crispiness.
NAAN AND PITA
This Indian/Greek flatbread is excellent with any sort of saucy dish. Since it is both Naan and Pita bread, it is truly neither and yet still a bit of both. If that makes sense.
Put your rolled out dough (on the tin foil) directly on the oven rack at the highest temperature for 5 minutes, until slightly puffed and browning on top.
Remove from the oven, flip the bread, an put back into the oven for a further five minutes, until the underside (now the top side) is slightly browned.
For more “Naan”-y Naan, brush the bread with a little oil or melted butter. (For more “Pita”-y Pita, don’t).
HOMEMADE TORTILLA CHIPS
Yes, I know. Tortilla chips are made from corn. But like all things made by yours truly, this is one tortilla chip with a twist!
Use dough that is rolled out to be as thin as possible. This gives you the best chance of having crispy chips.
Put a very light coating of olive oil on top of the dough.
Put in an oven at the highest temperature for about five minutes, until the top has browned.
Remove from oven, flip the dough, and repeat with the other side. Depending on your oven, you may have better luck cooking this under the broiler, at least for the last half.
If you want super-crispy tortillas, flip over again and cook for an additional few minutes.
I happen to like it with one crisped side and a little bit of chewiness to the other side, so I only flip it once. It isn’t really a tortilla chip, but it goes incredibly well if cut into wedges and served with our Warm Mexican 5 Layer Dip!