Old School Baking: pizza dough with fresh yeast

It’s so expensive to eat out in Switzerland, that we didn’t go out at all for meals in the month that we stayed there. Even grocery shopping is a little ridiculous. We’d buy a lot of fresh vegetables for lunches and try to eat meat (beef or chicken) every other night or so to get some good protein in. Every time we took what we thought was a modest amount of food to the cashier, we’d be floored by how much it would cost. Back in Toronto, I ate vegetarian more often than not, but in Switzerland, I embraced animal protein. I think my body was craving it, so I just went with it. Maybe that’s why we spent more?

Fun fact: Mike worked as a pizza chef in a past life. This makes me very happy.

Something we used to do in Toronto was cook pizza at least once a week. Typically, I’d prep the dough in advance and some of the toppings, while Mike would be in charge of rolling out the dough, assembling the pizza, cooking meat (if we’re using it) and baking it. We always have a lot of fun working together and it never feels as daunting when we tackle pizza making it as a team. One night, we decided to treat the family we were staying with in Switzerland to a homemade pizza night. The only problem is that I had never used fresh yeast to make pizza dough before! I was a little nervous about attempting it for the first time, but it all worked out. I used this recipe because it seemed to be the most basic and used the least amount of ingredients.

Flour, fresh yeast, water, oil, and salt. I skipped the malt extract because we didn’t have any.

I used to swear by measuring cups, but ever since I took a baking course at George Brown, I’ve changed my ways and much prefer using a scale. I love how much easier it is to adapt other recipes. For this one, I decided to half the original recipe since the author said it made 5 pizza crusts. In hindsight, I would have kept the original amount or used 3/4 of the recipe since the two pizza crusts we got from it were TINY (that may have been due to the type of flour I used – I think it was some kind of whole wheat).

The dough was awesome and tasted amazing – but we had to roll it out very thinly to make it fit in the pizza tray. Not a problem if you like thin crust, but be aware in case you prefer something thicker.

Mike was a little hesitant about making two pizzas with how little dough we had, but he was a champ and made it work. While he rolled out the dough, I sauteed thin slices of zucchini and eggplant. I always find the pizzas turn out much better if you cook the veggies first to get rid of all that excess water. Mike almost wanted to skip that step, but I think he was glad we did it in the end.

We made two pizzas using a mix of fresh and leftover ingredients from other dinners.

Pizza 1 – Chicken and Veg

Pizza 1: Tomato sauce, zucchini, chicken, cherry tomatoes, and cheese.
Pizza 1: out of the oven. This was SO GOOD!

Pizza 2: Beef and Veg 

Pizza 2: Leftover beef bolognese sauce, eggplant, spinach and lots of cheese on top (we used grated gruyere).
Pizza 2: Out of the oven. This was also delicious and Maja’s favourite.

Happy pizza making!


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