Anyone following me on Instagram should be well aware of my love for pizza and that recently I’ve been experimenting with a sourdough starter by making doughnuts. Problem is, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so the sugary variety hold little appeal and end up in the bin. I guess it was only a matter of time before I trialled a savoury dough and filled it full of pizza.
I dreamed of airy, crispy crusted, slightly chewy bliss balls filled with molten cheese and pepperoni. Like a posh Hot Pocket or a mini calzone, only lighter, fluffier and doughnuttier.
My first attempt at sourdough doughnuts were more on the denser cakey side than the light yeasty kind I was expecting. They were good, as far as first attempts go, but impossible to fill with jam or custard. I put this minor failure down to my lack of patience – I rushed the dough. I should have let them rise a little bit before dropping them into the oil. But, lesson learned and ante up! This time I allowed plenty of time for the dough to do its thing, a couple of times, actually. The result was worth every second of the 5 hour wait.
While these aren’t the fluff balls I‘d dreamed of, they were still airy, a little chewy and slightly dense balls of happiness, dusted in onion salt, oregano and basil, and oozing with cheese and red pizza sauce. Don’t over fill them and try to stick to drier fillings as wet ingredients can leave holes in the dough. They’re best served straight away, but if for some crazy reason you have any leftover they reheat like a dream in the oven.
250g sourdough starter
2tbs melted butter
pinch of salt
Diced green pepper
Fresh basil chopped
Maybe a sprinkle of parmesan if you’re feeling fancy
Mix the wet ingredients then sift in the flour and salt. It may seem wet to begin with but give it a good kneed for 10-15 minutes until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with cling film and leave it somewhere warm until its doubled in size. Mine took about 4 hours.
Tip out on to a clean work space and with a sharp knife divide into 8. Then shape these into balls. Leave them to rise a little more for an hour while you prep the fillings.
Gently pull and stretch the balls into disks being careful not to squash too much air out. You want to keep them about a centimetre thick as the wet ingredients make the dough prone to splitting. Add a spoonful of tomato/pizza sauce, mozzarella, chopped onions, peppers, fresh herbs and pepperoni and pull the edges of the dough in to seal, turn them over (so the seal is underneath) onto an oiled plate ready for frying.
Fill a pan (or a fryer if you have one) with vegetable oil (or any other neutral flavoured oil ) to a depth of 5cm. Test a piece of dough in the oil, it should bubble when it hits the oil, I don’t have a thermometer as I don’t often deep fry things, but the dough should begin to turn golden after a minute. Drop in your doughnuts seal side down (maybe only 2-3 at a time), they will float up to the top so flip them when the bottom is golden brown. Place the cooked donuts in a warm oven until ready to serve, sprinkle (or toss) with onion salt and dried oregano, fresh herbs and a grating of parmesan.