pizza dough

“I talked to a calzone for fifteen minutes last night before I realized it was just an introverted pizza. I wish all my acquaintances were so tasty.
Jarod Kintz

Calzones with lamb & beet greensCalzones, Pizza Pies & Popovers with lamb & beet greens. Pizza dough many ways because minced lamb was all that I had in the freezer. I toyed with the idea of meatballs…but NAH, too much effort! So I made pizza dough, with some whole wheat thrown in for good measure! One batch went a long way. Deliciously too. With mince lamb and beet greens, we had calzones one day, pizza pies the next, and popovers for snacks. Never a hungry moment! Pizza Pies with lamb & beet greensWhat is it with teens? Forever hungry! “What’s for fooooooood”  echoes through the house every weekend. Why do weekends seem so long? Why are so many meals involved? Why are ‘they’ so hungry? So many questions … one answer. Something pizza!

Pizza Pies & Popovers with lamb & beet greensCalzones, Pizza Pies & Popovers with lamb & beet greensIt gives me a sense of security and comfort to have a slow rising dough in the fridge. If all else fails, there is always margarita! Make ahead is good stuff! Made ahead pizza dough, even better!Beets and carrotsI’ve grown some beets and carrots in my little patch this year. When the first beet surfaced I was thrilled. MY FIRST BEET EVER! The gardener {lazy inefficient man that he is, quite good for nothing but non stop banter} was even happier. “Photo?” he queried. The camera obliged! Beets and carrots We had the little beets for salad and I didn’t know what to do with the greens. There were loads of them. Sent them for Man Fridays rabbits to munch {Coco didn’t take to them unfortunately though she loves peas and brocolli}. Then spoke to Sangeeta who suggested using the greens in salad etc since they were edible. Kanji... a fermented nutritional drink Kanji... a fermented nutritional drink A few beets and carrots also went into a fermented drink, kaanji, which is highly nutritional and a result of bacterial fermentation. The deep colour comes from ‘black carrots’ or ‘kaali gajar’ which is the star of the drink. Black carrots are available for a brief period in winter in North India. Calzones with lamb & beet greens The kaanji recipe can be found on Sangeeta’s blog. It turned out to good to be true; full of nostalgic memories of the years gone by. Fermented products are an acquired taste, and interestingly, most cultures have something to contribute.

Fermentation in food processing typically is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation in simple terms is the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol. The science of fermentation is also known as zymology or zymurgy.

Kanji... a fermented nutrional drinkFermentation usually implies that the action of microorganisms is desirable, and the process is used to produce alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer, and cider. Fermentation also is employed in the leavening of bread (CO2 produced by yeast activity); in preservation techniques to produce lactic acid in sour foods such as sauerkraut, dry sausages, kimchi, and yogurt; and in pickling of foods with vinegar.

Examples of fermentation across cultures include kimchi, soy sauce, miso, pickled cucumbers, quark, crème fraîche, sourdough bread, kombucha, idli, dosa, dhokla, sake, vodka, whisky, wine, fish sauce, chorizo …. the list is endless! Kanji... a fermeneted nutrional drink Sangeeta is very “fresh produce and ingredient informed“especially when it comes to local produce. She suggested that I could harvest the beet greens and use them as I like, leaving the beets below the ground. New leaves will keep appearing. Since beets are perennials, they will stay good for two years! This is what I love about food blogging. It’s a large hearted community which has the willingness to share and grow.Calzones with lamb & beet greens Then the possibilities exploded! I searched the net to find a whole load of folk do eat the beet greens, and happily so. The next bunch of leaves headed for pizza. Fingers crossed that the kids wouldn’t think I was ‘killing them with spinach‘ again. That has happened in the past which is why I shifted to purslane. It fared really well in Lamb & Purslane Pides{Turkish pizzas}!Pizza Pies with lamb & beet greens Threw in chopped onion, garlic and some sweet smelling marjoram from Sangeeta’s garden = BLISS. Life was certainly looking up suddenly. In went the chopped greens and they imparted a beautiful deep red to the onions. NICE! They wilted pretty soon. Once the lamb came into play, you couldn’t tell what ‘green’ was ‘going on in there‘.Calzones with lamb & beet greens Pizza Pies with lamb & beet greens The tiredness went, and the spices flew in. Before I knew it I was cooking up certain yumminess. Sweet paprika, smoked, adds huge flavour dimensions to minced lamb. Juberfam & Mittal do a really really nice one available locally. I LOVE it! Bell peppers went in next, basically whatever there was on hand. They were a hit!! Next time would possibly see finely chopped mushrooms too.

[print_this]Recipe: Lamb & Beet Greens – Calzones, Pies & Popovers 
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Summary: Lamb & Beet Greens – Calzones, Pies & Popovers …pizza dough three ways. One batch went a long way. Deliciously too with mince lamb and beet greens. We had calzones one day, pizza pies the next, and popovers for snacks. Never a hungry moment!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour plus dough rising and resting time

  • Dough
  • 150g wholewheat flour
  • 350g all purpose flour
  • 1.5tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs
  • 1 tbsp pickled peppers
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 310ml warm water
  • Filling
  • 500g minced lamb
  • 1 onions, chopped fine
  • 5 cloves garlic, chooped fine
  • 1 small bunch fresh marjoram {or dried}
  • 10-15 beet greens, chopped
  • 1tsp sweet smoked paprika, Juberfam & Mittal
  • 2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • Salt & pepper t taste
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 50g cream cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 bell peppers, red & yellow, julienned
  • Mozzarella
  • Pimento olives


  1. Dough {I make it in the Thermomix}
  2. Place all ingredients except water in bowl of food processor and whiz for 1 minute.
  3. Add water and knead to a smooth dough.
  4. Place in a greased bowl and allow to rise for 1-2 hours, until doubled. At this point you can refrigerate the dough, else use it. I prefer using it after a rest in the fridge.
  5. Filling
  6. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Sweat onions, marjoram and garlic until light pink and fragrant.
  7. Add the beet greens and saute until wilted. Throw in the mince and cook on high for about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well.
  9. Cook open for about 15 minutes until the mince is cooked. Add the cream cheese, mix well and turn off heat. Cover pan and allow to cool completely.
  10. Preheat oven to 180C.
  11. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for calzones, used ceramic dishes for pies, and muffin molds for popovers.
  12. Calzones: You can follow the basic recipe on the Roasted Bell Pepper, Mushroom and Ricotta Calzones. This recipe has a nice vegetarian filling option. Maybe some beet greens will do great in here.
  13. Pizza Pies: Roll out small balls of dough and place in ceramic pie dishes, leaving a border hanging out. Fill with filling of your choice, then frill the border back over part of the filling. Bake at 180C for about 30 minutes {until golden brown and firm to touch. Time will vary depending on size of pie}
  14. Pizza Popovers: Roll out small balls of dough. Place the filling in the centre and pull the sides up to form a sack. Twist gently to keep in place. I tied mine with a bit of marjoram. gently place in muffin tins and bake for about 25-30 minutes until firm to touch, crisp and brown.


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No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza This was a pizza waiting to be made and I’m not sure what took me so long to get here. It’s a summer pizza, or maybe spring if that’s the season you are in. Light, crisp airy crust, minimum sauce and happy toppings! I’ve had Jim Laheys No Knead pizza dough bookmarked for ages, and then one day I read a post on What Katie Ate and there she had the most inspirational food flooding her beautiful blog. It was time for No Knead Pizza with Buttermilk Chicken.No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza I’ve read only good stuff about Jim Laheys No Knead Pizza Dough and the temptation was too much a few days ago. How luxurious can a foodie feel if she has a slow rising dough sitting out on the counter, made kneaded stirred together the previous evening. I hopped out of bed and raced to see if had risen… and of course it had!No Knead Buttermilk Chicken PizzaInspiration came from Katies delicious blog. That buttermilk chicken pizza stayed in my head for a few days. After stirring the pizza dough, I dunked the chicken in the buttermilk mustard mix to enjoy a slow overnight marinade. Love make ahead bits of recipes!! No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza The rest happened the next morning. I stirred up a a quick pizza sauce, trying to keep it minimalistic, enough to perk the base and chicken but not too overpowering. Just chicken on top is good if you use a pizza sauce like in Katies recipe, but since I had no sour cream, watercress, walnuts etc, I added some bell peppers and onions  … cheese of course!No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza Nom Nom Nom! Mr PAB declared this was the best one yet, almost like a wood fire pizza we had a while ago, one which has always been the benchmark for comparison. Great thin crisp crust, beautiful blend of flavours, delicious subtle chicken. Did I forget to tell you I pickled some red & green chilies the other day? They went on top as well! Even the ‘now threatening to be quite terrible‘ preteen munched them up as they weren’t too hot!No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza The vegetable vendor had packed me a bag of red and green chilies the other day, knowing how much I love vibrant colours. Got home and looked at my now almost empty bottle of quick pickled cucumbers that I made for the DB Dutch Crunch Bread or Tijgerbrood … the chilies could would go in there.No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza Snipped with my kitchen scissors in a matter of minutes, they were soon submerged in the mix of white vinegar, a dash of sugar and salt. They sat in the fridge and two days later we enjoyed nice tangy peppers. Makes a nice addition to sandwiches and wraps, and a great topping for pizza. Nice and zingy, mildly hot too! I sometimes smash a clove or two of garlic and throw it in!

[print_this]Recipe: No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza
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Summary: Great thin crisp crust, beautiful blend of flavours, delicious subtle chicken... a wonderful light picnic pizza for spring/summer!

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour plus resting time

  • Dough Adapted from Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Dough {yields 4  X 10-inch crusts}
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup gluten
  • 3/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 11/4 cups + 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Topping
  • Buttermilk Chicken {Buttermilk Chicken from What Katie Ate}
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of small half a lemon
  • 2 x 200g (average sized) chicken breasts
  • Bell peppers, onions, preserved chili peppers, fresh basil
  • Pizza Sauce
  • 3-4 medium tomatoes
  • 100ml tomato puree
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs
  • Red chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Olive Oil


  • Dough
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast, and salt. Add water and stir until blended (the dough will be very sticky). Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 12 to 24 hours in a warm spot, about 70 F /21C.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top with flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Shape the dough into 3 or 4 balls, depending on how thick you want the crust. Generously sprinkle a clean cotton towel with flour and cover the dough with it. Let the dough rise for 2 hours then use as required.
  • Buttermilk Chicken:
  • To make the marinade, add buttermilk, Dijon mustard and lemon juice into a medium-sized bowl, season with salt and pepper whisk together to combine. Remove excess fat from the chicken breasts and cut the chicken crossway into ½ cm thick strips.  Add the chicken to the marinade, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight
  • After chilling, cook chicken pieces on a hot griddle pan until almost cooked through. Keep warm.
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Saute onions, garlic, fried herbs and red chili flakes in olive oil till fragrant.
  • Blend the tomatoes and tomato puree together to a smooth sauce and add to above
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and pinch of sugar, season with salt and pepper and simmer covered for about 15-20 minutes till most of the liquid has evaporated and it yields a thick sauce.
  •  Cool and blend to a smooth puree. Adjust seasoning if required, add fresh basil and reserve until required . {Can be made a day or two ahead}
  • Pre heat oven to 250C
  • To assemble the pizzas
  • Roll out dough to your desired thickness and place on pizza stone or baking tray
  • Brush the bases with extra virgin olive oil and divide sauce evenly over both pizza bases and spread out leaving a 2cm border around the pizza edge {I like keeping the sauce to a bare minimum in summer}
  • Top pizzas with pre-cooked chicken strips, bell peppers, onions, preserved chillies, fresh basil. Top with grated mozzarella.
  • Bake until base is cooked through {20-25 minutes in my oven}.
  • Note: You can skip the chicken for a vegetarian version of the pizza. Mushrooms, sweet corn, cottage cheese cubes would work well.


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“Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?”
Author Unknown
Happy ‘hump day‘!! Am battling the flu and a flu ridden family but seem to have gotten the better of Wednesday. Wordless Wednesdays prove elusive as always, maybe because I have too much to say. For that matter I never seem to make it to a ‘Meatless Mondays post either; guess that’s fine because my food isn’t ruled by days of the week. That said, I make sure the grub is meatless at least 3 times a week, and these calzones proved to be just the thing. The combination of the filling, the depth the roasted bell peppers provided and the yumminess of the ricotta in here was a winner! This is one recipe I shall make often! {By the way, Tuesdays mean ‘Tuesdays With Dorie‘ for me, even though I haven’t had the courage to join the group!}
Saw them on FoodGawker the other day, and something about them stuck in my mind. The very thought of ricotta and bell peppers had me captivated, and I imagined how good they must have been! A trip down to Nummy Kitchen had me sold as she said “Calzones are such a fun dinner and are easy to personalize for the kids and picky husband. This recipe is from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food and starts with his basic pizza crust recipe”. So here I am, having made these delicious calzones as soon as I could.

The basic dough is Mark Bittman’s pizza dough. I loved that I could make it the night before and leave it to rise in the fridge overnight. Seems to make bread and pizza making so much more appealing. No need to worry about it being warm enough to double rise, done or not done etc? Let it slowly rise in the fridge, while you sleep over it, and wake up the next morning to magically well risen dough! I just love the option. Of course, you can do it the normal way of letting it rise n a warm place for a couple of hours too!
As Andrea writes, Mark suggests using ricotta and spinach, but leaves the options wide open, suggesting the use of pizza toppings mixed with the ricotta. She chose to use roasted bell peppers, and why ever not? These roasted beauties tasted absolutely rustic delicious in there. I went a step further and sautéed some sliced mushrooms in EVOO with garlic and red chili flakes, and added those too. They tasted just wonderful, and me thinks next time I might just double the mushrooms in there. The filling had the most beautiful flavours possible!
Do you make your own ricotta? I made the ricotta at home from a David Lebovitz recipe, and you can too. Do make sure you drain the ricotta well, else you just might end up with soggy calzones. Making ricotta at home might sound tedious, but I assure you it’s not. I made it 2 days prior to making the calzones, and let it drain, wrapped in cling-wrap in the fridge for 2 days. I roasted the bell peppers in advance too, and having done the dough the previous night, I was left with just basic mushroom filling to make, and assembly for the next day! Easy and breezy!
I think these will make handsome little bites for a kids birthday party too, and great snack box fillers! My kids had them for an after school snack, and then later for dinner too! I absolutely loved the option of a vegetarian calzone that would win over a non vegetarian option. Pizza toppings as filling? YES PLEASE!!

Roasted Bell Pepper, Mushroom and Ricotta Calzones

1 recipe Mark Bittman’s pizza dough {recipe follows}

Adapted from Nummy Kitchen
2 cups ricotta cheese {homemade from 1 ltr of whole milk, 1/2 cup yogurt and 200ml low fat cream; recipe here}
4-5 red & yellow bell peppers, roasted and chopped
1 cup shredded mature cheddar {I didn’t have mozzarella, but this worked great}
200gms button mushrooms, finely chopped / sliced
4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
A handful fresh basil leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil { I used Borges from here}
Salt and Pepper
I got 6 medium sized calzones from the dough. You can even make 4 large ones.

Heat the olive oil gently with 1/2 -1 tsp of roasted chili flakes and chopped garlic. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and sauté on high flame till the liquid evaporates. Add the chopped bell peppers with their juices and sauté again until dryish. {Not bone dry, but not drippy either, else they will make the calzone soggy}
Reserve in a large bowl until just warm. Now add the basil, grated cheddar and ricotta to this, stir well to mix. Adjust seasoning if required.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Divide the dough into 6 equal balls, and roll out into circles about 8 inches each, by rolling or patting the dough down.
Divide the filling equally among the six rolled out bits of dough. Fold over and pinch the sides to seal.
Bake for about 30 minutes until nice and risen, and brown. {You could give them an egg wash for a rich colour. I just gave them a brush of olive oil}
Cool for 5-7 minutes, and serve. {Be careful when you serve them to kids, as it might have hot air trapped within as they tend to puff up.}

Mark Bittman’s Pizza Dough
3 cups all-purpose plus more as needed
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1 to 1¼ cups water
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
Combine the yeast, flour, and 2 teaspoons salt in the container of a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the 2 tablespoons of oil through the feed tube.{I did this in a large bowl, using the hand mixer with dough hooks}
Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. {In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour, a tablespoon at a time.}
Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Grease a bowl with the remaining olive oil, and place the dough, in it. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let rise in warm; draft-free area until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. You can, cut this rising time short if you are in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, in the refrigerator, for up to 6 or 8 hours. {I made the dough at night and let it rise in the fridge overnight… and how it rose!!}
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