We’ve all dreamed of spinning a pizza base above our heads. Thankfully, pizza dough has started appearing on supermarket shelves so budding pizzaiolos can get their hands floury. Tesco launched a pouch of chilled dough in 2012 as part of its Easy Home Bake range and Jus-Rol pizza dough is now a familiar sight in chillers up and down the UK.
Over in the freezers, The Northern Dough Company sprang up in August 2011 after co-founders (and DIY pizza lovers) Chris and Amy Cheadle spotted a gap in the market. When they investigated further they discovered there had been a 22% increase in DIY pizza [Kantar Worldpanel], which encouraged them to take the plunge and start up a business. Today their dough is listed in Waitrose, Ocado, Booths and Whole Foods. And sales are flying.
“The trend we found right at the beginning has just carried on,” says Chris. “Over the last 12 months, we have seen a month-on-month increase of 300%.” Cheadle echoes Dr Oetker’s point about frozen dough (see right) .
“Chilled slows down the proving process but it can’t be stopped,” he says. “That means the shelf life of chilled dough is really short, plus we’d end up with it exploding on shelf. We’d also have to use stabilisers and preservatives, which would affect the quality of the product. So there are practical and quality reasons.”
Soaring sales suggest that the brand is preaching to the converted. In fact, the only slight drawback to DIY pizza is getting the oven hot enough. A traditional pizza oven reaches scorching temperatures of 485 degrees Celsius, whereas a conventional fan oven hits around half that. Cheadle recommends “home pizza connoisseurs” use one of the many pizza stones that have also hit the market to take advantage of the DIY boom to cook their pizza on, which help crisp up their base. And even if it isn’t perfect, they can still have fun trying to spin it above their head.