Using magic bread dough to make pizza

Sep 13, 2014 | 23 comments


Pizza for dinner tonight. Oops, forgot to take any pictures, the picture was taken after dark and is the last remaining portion.


Remember the magic dough kept in the fridge?
When we got back from the bread course we went to at River Cottage, I made a bread mix.

I mixed 500g flour, a sachet or 7g yeast and enough cold water to make a very loose mix, almost like a batter. Just mix with a spoon. Cover and put in the fridge. That’s it. No need to knead.

On the course, the tutor showed us how to make sour dough which utilises yeasts just around, not from a packet. I was going to have a go at that, but to be honest, this is as good. The packet yeast has been diluted many times over by now.

The gluten will develop slowly and give a better and better flavour over time. I add a pinch of salt when I use the mix if making flatbreads, more if making bread.

This mix can be used for anything that is a bread dough….flatbreads, rolls, a loaf, breadsticks, pizza, pitta, nan bread, anything.

It lasts for ever in a way in that whenever I use some, I just top up the bowl with more flour and water and put it back in the fridge, covered. It will sit there quite happily for up to two weeks without doing anything to it at all. If I haven’t used any for ten days or so, I just stir in a handful of flour and a splash of water and put it back. This topping up business is what develops the flavour, that and the looooong time working in the bowl. The natural yeasts in the flour grow and develop, each bowl of dough having its own unique flavour.

Since starting this bottomless bowl, I have added the rest of the bag of the strong white flour, wholemeal flour, rye flour and I’m now just using value self raising, which is what I use for everything else (except Yorkshires, which must be made with plain in order to rise).

If you want to make a flatbread for instance, put some mix on the worktop, add enough flour to make it a dough rather than a batter, a pinch of salt, roll out 100g of dough and cook your flatbread in a dry pan. Any dough leftover? Put it back in the mixing bowl.

So, this evening, pizza was on the menu. So out came the bowl and I put some mix on the worktop and covered it with flour. After working it in to make a dough (forgot the salt, but it didn’t make any difference) I rolled it out to roughly the shape of the baking tin I was using, to the thickness I wanted. We like pizza to have a reasonably thick base, more than thin and crispy, less than deep pan. I put it in the tin much like you would if you were lining it with extra thick pastry, and pulled off the extra, throwing that back in the bowl, topped up the mix and put it back in the fridge.

Then the fridge cold base was put on one side to puff up. Meanwhile an onion was fried and a tin of tomatoes added to it, whizzed smooth, seasoned and left to cool a little.

While that was happening, a pepper was chopped fine and added to fine sliced mushrooms and sweetcorn.

Then I used half the tomato sauce swirled over the now puffed up base, sprinkled over the veg, topped with a few black olives and 125g each of mozzarella (a value ball) and cheddar. It was baked in a very hot oven for about 25 minutes until golden and cooked through.

This made 4 portions, although DP ate 2 of them, and we had some shredded iceberg lettuce and cucumber drizzled with balsamic with it.

The pizza base had fantastic flavour, I was really pleased. Having the mix ready to go in the fridge made this a much quicker meal to prepare.

We have flatbreads often now at lunchtime, still fresh and warm from the pan and filled with anything we fancy that day.



  1. Thrifty Lesley

    Mimi, it would usually take around 1 hour to double in size

  2. Mimi

    once mixed how soon can I use this, please….maybe two hours?

  3. Lesley

    Michelle, yes, I used to keep a bowl in the fridge. It gradually became a sourdough after 10 days or so. I used it to make absolutely anything that involved a dough. So I would def give those things a try

  4. Michelle

    Do you think I could use this to make monkey bread or cinnamon buns? I’m dying to make some myself but all the recipes seem so complicated.

  5. Eliza

    I think the possibilities are endless for fillings; you could probably put all kinds of leftovers inside and turn it into something new, too. 😉 or…. samosas?

  6. Lesley

    Oh I LOVE that idea, I’m definitely going to steal that one!

  7. Eliza

    All right — experiment number two tonight using this dough turned out wonderfully. I don’t know what to call it — a calzone or a hand pie, maybe. I rolled a bit of dough out thin and folded it over a partially-cooked filling and baked it. Tonight’s filling: chopped cabbage, carrots, onions and a bit of leftover sausage, salt pepper and paprika. This dough is great, and you are right it just improves with age!

  8. Lesley

    Fantastic! I’m so glad it worked 🙂

    lots of lovely experiments to look forward to

  9. Eliza

    As promised, I waited a week to try to bake something with this dough. I just fiddled around with it, added some salt and made a hand-formed small loaf (a roll, really!), put sesame seeds and more salt on top, let it rise about 30 minutes and baked it — it turned out beautifully. A very tender crumb with a bit of chewiness, and really nice flavor! I can’t wait to experiment some more with this dough, see how it develops over time — and so easy and convenient. 🙂 Thank you!!

  10. Lesley

    Oh Madeleine, I’m so sorry, that must be such a pain. Lemoneye are trying to find the problem, but no luck so far. In the meantime, I have put everybodys email into Notifly so that at least the post notification goes out
    I hope this state of affairs doesn’t last too long

  11. Madeleine

    Hi. Just wanted to make a comment. Been watching your thread for ages now and really enjoy it. But since you changed to this layout, I get multiple emails of the same post. Sometimes 10! And I can’t read any comments as photos obliterate the words.

  12. Lesley

    We have a similar thing here that we tend to call a Herman, think it must have originated with some German people, rings a bell.
    My daughter makes them sometimes

  13. Eliza

    I definitely will. I mixed it up last night and by this morning it was already quite large and bubbly. For the fun of it, I’m going to let it sit a week before making anything with it.

    Also, I must say this vaguely reminds me of the Amish Friendship Bread (really a cake) that we have here, which is kind of fun if you’ve never heard of it:

  14. Lesley

    Fab! Let me know how you get on 🙂

  15. Eliza

    I can’t wait to try this, Lesley. I love freshly baked bread, and the idea of just pinching off a portion to bake up whenever the mood strikes. In fact, I will get a bowl started this evening!

  16. Lesley

    Eliza, I use a glass bowl and I cover it with a shower cap.
    You could use any mixing bowl, stainless, ceramic, glass, and so long as you keep the top from drying out, it wouldn’t matter what you covered it with. A plate, for instance, would be fine
    Are you going to have a go 🙂

  17. Eliza

    Can you please tell me what type of bowl you keep it in (metal, plastic, etc.), and how you cover it (plastic wrap, tight fitted lid….)? Thanks. 🙂

  18. Lesley

    Sounds interesting! Wouldn’t have thought of that one, could be a good ‘un 🙂

  19. Sarina

    I`ll be making a jam pizza for my breakfast on Monday morning, smothering the raises dough with my home made plum jam before baking. It`s an experiment, might not work well, but worth a trial. I`ll let you know how it turned out.

  20. Lesley

    Yes, that’s right. The dough is best as a very loose one, gives it room to work.
    And no, you don’t need to top up with any more yeast. By topping up with a handful of flour and water every ten days or so, if you don’t use it, you will be keeping the yeast alive and it will also use the yeasts naturally in the flour.
    By not adding any more yeast, you will gradually be making a sour dough starter type dough, with great depth of flavour

  21. Caroline Noble

    So I can make up a dough as though I will be baking bread, but instead of leaving it to prove etc, I can just cover it and put it in the fridge and then just replace what I use, would I not need to put in more yeast?

  22. Lesley

    I’ll be interested to know what you make with it. I’m getting quite fond of mine, the bread course tutor said that bakers give their sour dough mixes a name, I’m beginning to see why!

  23. Sarina

    That easy dough mix sounds ideal for my household, too. I`ll be preparing this today to keep topped up in the fridge. I never knew you could keep yeast dough this long. Makes for easy meal preparation.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thrifty Lesley has an associated Facebook Group. Do come over and say hello if you haven’t already joined. I’d love to see you!

I’m a perpetual dieter, and to help with that endeavour, there is now also a Thrifty Lesley dieting group, a lovely, growing community.