Rye sourdough pizza and US election addiction

12:27

Pizza, that great American invention, at least according to an Ohioan exchange student who stayed with us when I was in my teens. I tried to say something about Italy, but she'd have none of it. Probably thought it was a neighbourhood in New York City. She also said there is a letter R in the word wash. Excruciatingly she forced me, a very unlikely cheerleader, to wear a little skirt and shake some pom poms in an awkward high school parade when I visited her in turn. We lost touch over the years and judging by her bible wielding FB comments, which I just spied on, and her stance against BLM and same sex marriage, that's probably a good thing. 


Rye sourdough pizza base


Anyway, always interested in US news because I have travelled there a lot and we have good American friends, husband and I got completely hooked on the US presidential elections. We are not big Trump fans, to put it mildly so we followed a lot of the coverage in the run up to the big night. And then on and after the election day it got a bit out of hand. We would stay glued to CNN, sometimes flicking over to BBC or Sky and then back. I tried switching to Fox a couple of times, but on both occasions they were interviewing some kukluxclanny Trump super-fans, so altogether I think we managed about 55 seconds of Fox.

In one of the debates Trump said to Joe Biden condescendingly, when Joe was trying to answer a question: "Come on Joe, you can do it". We took that as our rallying cry and throughout the run-up to the election day and all through the vote counting, one of us would shout "Come on Joe!" and the other would continue "You can do it!". 

On the election night things were looking bleak. I went to bed at some point because I had early Teams calls the next day. But husband stayed to watch and had been very upset when Trump walked on to the stage to the tune of Hail to the Chief and did his embarrassing, premature victory speech. Husband had started to bargain with God, you know how you sometimes promise all sorts of things if God grants you a wish. I was a bit doubtful that that's really the way God operates, but it seems to have worked, because on Wednesday Biden started to catch up on Trump.

So by the weekend Joe Biden was announced the winner, we celebrated with a bottle of sparkling wine, but we also started to panic a little bit about what we would do with ourselves now.  "Isn't anyone showing the vote count", husband asked forlornly flicking through the channels. We were both missing the magic wall where they touch the states to turn them red or blue and the electoral vote bars go up and down together with your emotions.

My little notebook with vote count development from Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Nevada and calculations of how much of the remaining vote Joe would need to beat Trump, sat abandoned on the sofa table.

But then all this week there has been the finalisation of some of the states, there is recounting happening, the magic wall has been up again and it's all been quite exciting. I understand we need to eventually find something else to do and for the sake of America and American people I hope that this whole episode and their current toddler in chief can be put to bed soon and the country can move on. 

I am hopeful I will rediscover my purpose in life with the help of the new MasterChef Professionals which is now airing and all the Christmas cooking programs. Maybe husband will find his salvation in all the football that's going on at the moment. 

I can't think of a smooth segue back to the pizza topic, so I just clumsily finish by saying that this version of my earlier blogged wheat sourdough pizza base is even tastier. The addition of rye starter and rye flour adds flavour, but if you don't have a rye starter you can do with 100% wheat starter. This base is somehow a bit more substantial and filling than a wheat one, so it makes sense to keep it quite thin. 

Rye sourdough pizza base

Rye sourdough pizza base


(this recipe makes 2 x 12 inch round thin crust bases, for a rectangular sheet pan version I make half a portion, here is the original wheat based recipe)

1/2 cup wheat sourdough starter, unfed/discard
1/2 cup rye sourdough starter, unfed/discard
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 cups flour - I did about one third rye flour and the rest wheat (all purpose or strong bread) flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast

Mix the starters, water, flour, salt and yeast together. Add a bit of water if the mixture seems dry, rye flour needs a bit more water than wheat. Knead for about 7-10 minutes either in a mixer or by hand until you have a nice elastic ball of dough. 

Cover and leave to rise until almost doubled. This will take between 2 and 4 hours. For a faster rise, place the dough in a warm spot, or double the yeast. 

For two thin-crust pizzas, divide the dough in half, and shape each into a flattened disk. Drizzle two 12 inch round pizza pans with olive oil, and brush to coat the bottom. Place the dough in the pans, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes. After this rest, gently press the dough toward the edges of the pans. 

Fill with your favourite fillings and bake in as hot as your oven goes (or if your oven goes very hot, somewhere around 250C should do) until the toppings get a nice colour and the edges of the crust look crisp and browned, about 15 minutes.

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