These easy-to-make rustic loaves go perfectly with soup, salads or pasta.
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2 teaspoons dried yeast with ¾ teaspoon caster sugar, or 1 sachet easy-blend yeast
750 g (1 lb 10 oz) strong plain white flour
1½ teaspoons salt
200 ml (7 fl oz) milk
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for greasing
To top each pizza bread
1½ teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt, or to taste
A pinch of dried chilli flakes, or finely chopped fresh rosemary
Method Prep:2hr › Cook:40min › Ready in:2hr40min
If using dried yeast, dissolve the sugar in 225 ml (8 fl oz) of lukewarm water, then sprinkle in the dried yeast and set aside for 15 minutes, or until it is frothy. If using easy-blend yeast, add it directly to the flour.
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Pour the yeast mixture, or 225 ml (8 fl oz) of lukewarm water if using easy-blend yeast, into the centre with the milk and olive oil. Stir to form a dough, adding a little extra warm water if it is too dry, then knead until the dough forms a ball and leaves the side of the bowl clean.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.
Grease a clean bowl with oil. Roll the dough around in the bowl so that it is lightly coated with oil and loosely cover the bowl with cling film. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.
Put a baking sheet in the oven. Heat the oven to 230°C (450°F, gas mark 8). Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, punch it down and shape it into three equal balls.
To make a loaf, roll out one ball to about 1 cm (½ in) thick in whatever shape you wish. For the topping, brush the dough with the oil and sprinkle over the sea salt and either chilli flakes or rosemary, as you wish. Use a sharp knife to score the loaf into quarters so that it will pull apart easily when baked.
Put one piece of the dough on the hot baking sheet and cook in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes until it is crisp and golden. Do not bake all three loaves together as they will not rise evenly. If you bake two at once, swap their positions in the oven after 8 minutes.
Serve the pizza bread warm or at room temperature on the day of baking, broken into four pieces.
Tip: uncooked dough balls will keep in a freezer for up to 3 months, individually wrapped in foil. To use, defrost for about 8 hours in the refrigerator, or for 2-3 hours at room temperature, before proceeding with the recipe from Step 6.