Baker of the week – Scott’s Pizza Project
Congratulations Scott, you are our Matthews Cotswold Flour Baker of the week! We’d love to ask you a few questions about your passion for pizza… How did your love for making pizza begin?
I’ve always loved eating pizza (who doesn’t??) but I actually only started making pizzas quite recently. My father-in-law bought me the Ooni Karu Pizza oven for my birthday in March this year so I made my first few pizzas that week and it has grown rapidly from there now becoming a massive part of my day to day life.
We’ve seen you use the Ooni pizza oven and we really love it too! Do you have any tips for people cooking on an Ooni?
Yes I have the Ooni Karu, I absolutely love it! I would say the best bit of advice is to make sure you have all of the correct equipment to go with the oven. Things like an infrared thermometer, accurate weighing scales, a wooden pizza peel (for launching into the oven) and a metal pizza peel (for turning whilst it’s in the oven) are all essential items in my opinion which really help with making amazing pizzas. The main tip though is to try and have fun whilst doing it and take your time. Rushing things and cutting corners can make the whole experience stressful which is not what pizza making should be like. If you take your time and prepare properly you will be rewarded with amazing pizzas.
How do you get the perfect crust?
This is probably the question I get asked the most and is probably the most difficult to answer! I think a big part of achieving a nicely risen crust though is the dough stretching technique. It’s important to push all the air out from the middle of the dough ball into the edges to form a crust and to avoid touching the crust you have formed during the rest of the stretching process. That way the air will stay in the crust and when the heat hits it when the pizza first goes into the oven it will react with the moisture in the dough and inflate. Getting a really high temperature in the oven also helps with achieving a good crust (I always aim for a stone temperature of at least 430 Degrees Celsius). I also think longer proving times help give those famous leoparding spots we all strive for. I would always recommend a minimum of 18 hours.
How long do you leave your dough to prove?
I’ve tested quite a few different lengths of time, but I would say my best results have come from a 24 hour prove at room temperature. I generally let the dough prove in bulk for 20 hours then in individual dough balls for the remaining 4 hours.
Which flour do you use in your pizza dough?
I use the Matthews Cotswold Italian Tipo 00 Flour. I find the protein level in this ideal for my favoured 24 room temperature proving.
How did you discover Matthews Cotswold Flour?
When i started out making pizzas it was right at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, so flour was really difficult to source. I came across a local supplier of baking ingredients on Facebook who was doing local deliveries once a week and Matthews Cotswold Flour was the flour he was selling so I started getting it delivered every few weeks.
Are there flavours or ingredients you haven’t tried using yet?
I haven’t ventured into the world of sourdough yet so that is definitely something I would like to try as from what I have seen and heard it gives really good results. With regards to flavours of toppings, I would quite like to experiment with the pizza base sauce. Things like pumpkin, butternut squash and pesto are all foods you can use as a pizza base which give the pizza a different dimension, so I would like to try using these at some point.
Which ingredients do you use for your pizza sauce?
After experimenting quite a lot with this I’ve settled on simply just a tin of San Marzano tomatoes, a few shredded basil leaves and a pinch of salt. I blend these together with an immersion blender (just a few short pulses so you don’t break up the seeds as this gives a bitter flavour). I started out by adding other ingredients like tomato puree, garlic, sugar and reducing it down but I didn’t think these added anything to the flavour so I went back to basics.
Is there anyone in the pizza world that you really admire or are inspired by?
I’ve recently finished reading “The Pizza Bible” by Tony Gemignani which I highly recommend. I’ve learnt so much from this and it has given me a lot of inspiration, so he is someone I really admire. Closer to home I’d definitely say two of the current Ooni ambassadors, Lewis Pope (@unholypizzauk) and Julian Guy (@pizzaislovely). They have both given me so much help and support since I started out and their journey to becoming brand ambassadors is definitely something I aspire to.