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Pizza toppings get all the attention; Emiliano, though, is encouraging us to get serious about the dough...

Letʼs talk texture. Are we after soft and fluffy, or firm and crisp? The perfect texture should have a little crispness, but the inside has to be soft and light, almost melt-in-the-mouth. And how about flavour? It’s like any good bread; it has to have the just the right amount of salt, not too much, not too little. It should taste toasted, a bit nutty… Okay, be honest: how much of a faff is it making your own dough at home? It depends on the skill of the maker, but it’s easy enough to make a basic pizza dough yourself. For a simple dough you just need flour, salt, olive oil, water and fresh yeast. Or you can use a sourdough starter to make a sourdough base. But your doughs arenʼt simple, are they? Tell us about how you pimp yours up. Well, it started with the gluten-free dough and then grew from there. Adding different flavours and using different toppings creates different textures and unique combinations. We wanted to offer customers more choice, and healthier options; less gluten, less sugar, more vitamins and minerals. Just in case we needed an extra reason to eat pizza, now we have it! What do you actually use in your gluten-free dough, then? Corn, rice and potato flour. Gluten-free pizza isn’t usually good, but we tried to make the dough as similar as possible to our classic style, so that gluten-free customers get the same experience as everyone else. Soon, we’re going to offer all the alternative doughs in gluten-free form – watch this space! What difference do these special ingredients make? You get different textures depending on the flour. With the multi-cereal, you can taste the sweetness of the grains, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds – it tastes really good. With the seaweed flour, you can really taste the sea; there’s spirulina in it, too… And the hemp one is really good for you, as it contains omega-3 as well as omega-6.

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Tell us if weʼre over-thinking this now, but should the base you choose affect what you top the pizza with? All toppings work with a classic sourdough base, but some toppings work better with particular bases, such as the smokiness of the grano arso or the spices in the turmeric. The multi-cereal and kamut work with all the toppings; hemp works with really fresh toppings; seaweed goes well with the likes of sundried tomatoes and seafood… Sounds great – but we might stick to the basics at home to start with. Can you take us through the method of making the dough? Make a well in your flour, add the warm water with yeast, mix everything with your hands and, when it all comes together, add your salt and olive oil. After 5-6 minutes you can start to fold it. Don’t stretch the dough; you have to really take care over it. It’s a gentle folding motion you’re after, rather than breaking or stressing the dough. You can’t be angry; you don’t want to transfer any anger to the dough! What actually happens during the proving process – and why, exactly, is it so important? The yeast starts to work – the dough makes energy, creating the CO2, which is the reason for the air holes inside. It starts the process of the enzymes and yeast working together to break down the starch to become a simple sugar, and complete the maturing process to make the dough strong. And what about all that fancy spinning you do with the dough – what’s that actually for? To open the pizza really quickly – it’s just one quick movement. It’s a bit like flaring when it comes to cocktailmaking. It’s easy, fast and it looks good! But it takes practice. Alternatively, you can rotate the dough gently with your hands on a kitchen counter and still get the same results.

✱ DOUGH, 14-16 The Corridor, Bath BA1 5AP; 01225 443686; doughpizzarestaurant.co.uk

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Crumbs Bath and Bristol - issue 54  
Crumbs Bath and Bristol - issue 54  
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