:: Very little beats a hot wood-fired pizza, fresh from the oven. However, pizza for me is also the ultimate convenience food and I wouldn’t normally eat it other than when it happens to be delivered to my door. I rarely get takeaway and even if I’m not in the mood to cook dinner I will normally resort to something simple from my pantry, like cheese and crackers or a bowl of popcorn and a glass of shiraz (the latter is actually a pretty regular fallback).
But if I feel like something more indulgent or I’ve been out and had a few to drink, there are a number of great wood-fired pizza places close to my neighbourhood who deliver, which means there’s no need to even get out of my pyjamas and ugg boots!
The one exception I will make is for Bar Pizza on Glyde’s amazing sweet potato and goat’s cheese pizza. They don’t deliver (crazy!) but believe me, this pizza is worth it. The flavours of roasted sweet potato and tangy goats cheese are genius and so this weekend I attempted to replicate the combination myself.
3 x sachets 7g dried yeast
500g plain flour
500g semolina flour (use all plain flour if you can’t find semolina)
1/2 tsp salt
625ml tepid water
1/2 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2mm slices
75g goat’s cheese
50g freshly grated parmesan
sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
napolitana sauce for the base
Pour the tepid water into a bowl and pour in the sugar, stirring until all the crystals have dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast on top and wait until it has all been absorbed by the water.
In a large bowl or on a large dry surface, make a well in the flour, pour in the yeast mixture and start working the flour towards the centre. I used my Kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook attachment for this part but you can just as easily use your hands. If you’re using a mixer for the initial part, mix only until combined and the slightly wet dough forms a ball.
Now it’s time to start kneading! You need to work the dough for at least five minutes until you can feel the gluten starting to activate and the dough becomes more stretchy and workable. You also need to make sure that the dough is evenly combined. Once it has been brought together and kneaded sufficiently, place in a bowl and score a cross in the top with a knife, which will allow the dough to relax more quickly. Place the dough in a warm, draught-free nook for 40 minutes to prove.
Now is the time to preheat the oven to 250°C.
The dough should have doubled in size and needs to be kneaded for a second time. Punch all the air out and knead again for about ten minutes.
This recipe makes about six medium-sized pizzas but you can divide your dough depending on the thickness and diameter you prefer. Remember that the dough will rise, so even if you think you’ve rolled it thin enough, give it another going over to stretch it out a bit more and it should cook to the perfect thickness.
Spread the base with a thin layer of Napolitana sauce and sprinkle with three quarters of the grated parmesan. Top with some sliced sun-dried tomatoes, sweet potato slices, olives, thyme and dollops of goat’s cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and place in the oven until the crust is crispy and the toppings are golden brown.