Why Flatbread pizza: Pizza is a popular takeaway food
In an era when we tend to want everything immediately, it is surprising that people still cook at all, especially with supermarkets at all corners of our homes and so close to each other, offering as many choices of ready-made foods than the restaurants and take aways nearby that also propose, well, home delivery within 30 minutes. Of all those easy-to-acquire ready-made foods, pizza is no doubt at the top of the pile, with almost every single self-respecting home-delivery fast food shop around residency areas, especially student-resident areas, presenting this option for people too cozy or lazy to pop down at the corner shop for a frozen base or even a frozen pizza for baking in the oven in less than 30 minutes. In effect, in 2022, pizza dethroned Chinese cuisine1 as the most ordered takeaway food2.
I, for one, have tried them all. The frozen bases with wheat, the gluten-free ones, the cupboard-version bases (I had so many doubts on this one), the complete pizza option, frozen, delivered or bought at various fast foods from Domino’s to Pizza Hut, I have tasted them all. I have had the garlic bread pizza, the calzone pizza, the leavened gluten-free pizza… I admit this is surprising for a lactose intolerant, but I had to determine my threshold, of course 😉 I even tried at home, especially now with a gluten intolerance to top. Strong of being taught by an Italian nonna in my friend’s home in France, having spent a few weeks tasting varieties in Roma itself and with mind and palate flexibility, I tried with more or less water, more or less of various ingredients, blanca (without tomato) and with thick and thin base, with and without crust…
Flatbread pizza: Trying out a new type of pizza
It was therefore just a tiny step to a pizza without yeast. When you think about it, it is the yeast that causes the most wait, well that and the tomato sauce. I mean, I have done garlic bread pizza, putting some baked bean’s tomato sauce over a garlic toastie and some cheese on top, to grill long enough. Although leavened, it is still a slightly different base to that of a pizza. I love it all the same. Sincerely, with an open mind, the possibilities are endless. Of course there are quite many ways of replacing the yeast if you can’t have it, but it is not about replacing ingredients by ingredients to recreate a familiar taste, it is about trying things out to discover new tastes to savour. So, while for some it is about finding other ways of getting the pizza dough to rise as the yeast would allow it, for me, it became much more about whether we need the bread to rise thereby the yeast or equivalent in the first place.
Yes, what exactly is wrong with a flatbread pizza? It is a bread, just unleavened. Plus in this case, I want my flatbread pizza to be all homemade. So, no pre-bought anything. So, are you still in for a no yeast, a quicker homemade pizza? No problem. This flatbread pizza was made with a flatbread pizza mix (self-raising flour, yoghurt, water and salt. Self-raising wheat flour works as well with as it does with self-raising gluten-free flour; The yoghurt also gives it a really lovely golden colour when you fry. I sometimes add chia seeds or poppy seeds here). The flatbread pizza mixture takes literally a couple of minutes to put together. You then need about 10 minutes to let it rest before frying it in a spoon of olive or sunflower oil. You can have the flatbread pizza mixture to be like a dough as would most cooks. But I like mine to be more of a batter, a thicker pancake. Put it in your warm oil according to your preferred pizza thickness (thinly or thickly rolled for the dough, thinly or generously laid for the batter) and on one side. For thicker batters, you may want to put a cover on to ensure the inside gets cooked. Then layer cooked tomato sauce, your favourite toppings and cheese (nothing quite does a yummy pizza like Buffalo Mozzarella) and stick at 200 degree in a pre-heated oven for 10 or so minutes. You can even grill your flatbread pizza at the last minute to ensure colour on your cheese.
The need, the need for yeast… and alternatives
I never understood the need for yeast at times. I need to research this in another project, but was it not probably only prompted for when flour and water were left together as one for longer than was at first intended. Also, since what it does is swell up the dough and many people like the thinner pizza, I still don’t get the necessity for getting it to rise. But for those still after that effect, then yeast can be substituted: the standard combination of baking soda and lemon juice creates the rising effect that the yeast would have given. Simply add a mixture of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for every 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to your usual pizza dough just before you put it in the oven as it does not need any leavening time. As you can see, this method is also time-saving, yet, I struggle to see the reason for adding ingredients to create an effect that I am still frankly questioning for a pizza that is going to end up, no matter how fluffy, nowhere near the rise justified by leavening; anyway, that is probably the reason why the original mix does not need to rise for long, everything, of course, being relative :).
My flatbread pizza
No matter. I am too enamoured with my flat bread pizza to bother with the complications of the original. That is what Rome and quality restaurants are for as well as the very occasional fast food. On top of it, it works as well for gluten-free flour (it MUST be self-raising gluten-free flour though) as it does for wheat flour, without adding anything to make it wheat-able! If I am going to do something yummy and quick, it will be this gorgeous version (or rather the many versions that it allows beyond toppings variety) that you can either do with a dough-like mix (less water) for a thin Italian pizza or like me make a batter-like mix (somewhere thicker than a pancake mix) that allows you to slowly bite into what feels like an eternity of buccal comfort…
- Statistics about popular takeaway foods in the UK 2021 https://www.statista.com/statistics/1282840/top-takeaway-food-uk/
- Statistics about popular takeaway foods in the UK 2022 https://cravemag.co.uk/pizza-named-the-uks-most-popular-takeaway-of-2022-so-far/