We were sent a pizza steel kit to review last week and thought we’d give it its first trial in this week’s Cakes & Bakes post.
It’s a pizza steel, so of course that was going to be the thing we made! After making last week’s loaf we had some left-over ingredients so we thought beetroot and goats cheese pizza would be a great choice – waste not, want not! And we always have batches of home made tomato sauce in the freezer… we’ll share that recipe next week as it’s a very flexible and useful staple to have available.
The kit is available in two sizes (depending on the width of your oven) and comprises a steel, a pair of aluminium combi peels for preparing the pizzas and a stainless steel dough cutter.
Prior to use, the steel needed to be ‘seasoned‘. This entails it being wiped all over with some kitchen roll impregnated with olive or rapeseed oil and putting it into a hot oven (250ºC) for an hour. Once that’s been done it keeps the steel non-stick, makes it easier to clean and stops it from rusting. So long as you maintain it properly by not washing it in soapy water, keeping it dry and resealing it with oil when necessary.
Before using it to cook your pizza, it needs to be preheated in the oven for 45 minutes (a pizza stone needs up to twice that length of time to achieve the correct heat).
Even if you don’t make pizza that frequently, the steel can be used to make home-made loaves, rolls, baguettes… any sort of bread product.
Prior to using the pizza steel, our home-made pizzas usually take about 25 minutes to cook. This batch of beetroot and goats cheese pizza took a mere 12-15 minutes – and the base and crust had a far superior texture.
We can’t recommend the pizza steel highly enough for producing professional looking and tasting pizzas. In fact, we can safely say it’s going to revolutionise our pizza and bread making!
My Pinterest stream is always full of food photos – predominately cake, fudge, biscuits and bread. One in particular caught my eye last week… a beetroot loaf. The colour is amazing and I love beetroot anyway.
I had a search through many of my cook books and finally found a beetroot loaf recipe in Bread. The recipe is designed for electric bread-makers (there’s a whole section of bread-maker recipes in the book if that’s your preferred way of making bread!) but it’s fine to use if you’re making it by hand.
Just mix the yeast and sugar in the water using a small measuring jug or cup, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl making a well in the centre, pour in the yeast mixture and bring together roughly. Chuck in the beetroot, spring onions and butter (I omitted the last two ingredients) then knead well for about 10 minutes. Cover the mixing bowl in cling film (or put it inside a big clear [reusable] plastic bag like I do). Allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, punch down and put it into a loaf tin or well-floured banneton. Allow to double in size again before (transferring from the banneton to a greased oven tray) baking in a preheated oven at 220ºC/425ºF/Gas mark 7 for 30-40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when knocked on the base.
It was beautiful and absolutely delicious! Slightly sweet with a slightly earthy flavour. I had it with goats cheese and horseradish and Justin had the same in addition to a char-grilled sirloin steak.
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Pour the water into the bread pan. Sprinkle over the grated beetroot. If the instructions for your machine specify that the yeast is to be placed in the pan first, reverse the order in which you add the liquid mixture and dry ingredients
Add the chopped spring onions. However, if your bread machine offers you the option of adding any extra ingredients during the kneading cycle, set the spring onions aside so that you may add them later on
Sprinkle the flour over the beetroot and water, ensuring it covers them both. Add the butter, salt and sugar in separate corners. Make a small indent in the centre of the flour (but not down as far as the liquid) and add the yeast
Set the bread machine to the basic/normal setting, medium crust. Press start. If you like, slash the top of the loaf with diagonal slashes just before the baking cycle starts
Remove at the end of the baking cycle and turn out on to a wire rack
If you prefer an all-over red loaf rather than speckled, purée the raw beetroot in a mini-food processor instead of grating it
Even if you’re a complete carnivore, you’ll love this quirky range of colourful canvas bags. They’re both attractive and versatile.
Talented is an eco-company based in Sheffield specialising in creatively driven, sustainable accessories and tote bags. The brand celebrates the bag as an art form and collaborates with upcoming British artists, designers and print makers on a seasonal rotation.
Viva Vegetables is designed by American crafter Leslie Astor who now lives here in the UK. Leslie’s four designs pay homage to a few of Britain’s favourite vegetables. Large-scale prints of broccoli, carrots, beetroot and asparagus adorn the colourfully dyed canvas tote bags.
“A tote bag gets out and about and exposed to a lot of eyes in a lot of different contexts: the subway, the office, the grocery store, the park – maybe all of those places in a day. Given that fact, I wanted my series of totes to be conversation starters, and I think they are.”
Viva Vegetables are made and printed at a fair-trade certified factory in India and are available in 2 sizes – medium tote bag and mini tote bag. They’re available to buy from the doodle bag website.
For your chance to win one, just comment below telling us which size & design you’d like and how you’d use it. To carry your lunch to work? A school bag for your child? To pop to the shops? Something else entirely? 🙂
I don’t think we’ll ever win any prizes for our fruit & vegetable growing. This was our second attempt at growing beetroot. This year the roots were slightly more bulbous than the previous, but still not what you’d call monsters!
But we didn’t despair – we decided to make best use of what (little) we had. We used some of the leaves in salad – they look & taste much like spinach, but with beautiful, burgundy stems.
The remaining leaves & stems made a lovely, earthy winter soup – garnished with a little flourish of cream.
The (baby) beetroots themselves were pickled in balsamic vinegar with whole peppercorns – and they were absolutely delicious served with a selection of cheeses and a salad!
Will Forage for Soup: Gourmet Soups from Wild Greens is a foraging experience and how-to cookbook rolled into one. This digital book includes:
* The most common greens for foraging, their flavor, and resources on where to find them.
* How to clean greens for soup.
* Preserving your bounty in the freezer with very little space required.
* Combining greens in soup for best flavor.
* Blanching versus boiling your greens– nutritional considerations.
* How to make a nutritious and flavorful soup base with vegetarian options.
* Tips for bringing out the flavor in your soup’s seasonings.
* A resource on spices so that you can create your own signature soup.
* Six recipes using common foraged greens.