The Stable group of restaurants was founded in 2009 within a converted stable in Bridport (hence the name). The franchise has grown somewhat from their humble beginnings, and there are currently 17 locations over the south of England. The Stable’s emphasis is on local produce and local cider, and each restaurant uses ingredients local to the location.
First of all, there were some yummy looking nibbles on offer to snack on whilst we were educated about the way The Stable do their pizzas.
Chef Campbell explained how the tomato sauce for the pizza is made; with some of the largest tins of chopped tomatoes I have ever seen mixed with garlic, basil and oregano. Caramelised onions and salt are also added to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
The sauce is then cooked for an hour and a half, stirring every 5 minutes, and cooled down to sub 8°C before putting it on the pizzas (or it’ll stick, apparently). Each batch of sauce made can cover a whopping 360 pizzas.
He then went onto explain how the pizza dough is made. A 16kg bag of Shipton Mill flour is used to create a batch of dough to make 192 pizzas; 6 trays of 32 (had to do maths here, it was not fun). 100g of bakers’ yeast is used, along with a sourdough starter with the name of ‘Jerry’ made with apple cores to help it ferment.
If you know anything about sourdough, a ‘starter’ is a bit like a pet and needs to be fed with flour and water every so often. If looked after properly, a starter can keep on growing and used in bread making pretty much forever. The Stable’s ‘Jerry’ has been used since the start, and is used in all of their restaurants.
Extra virgin olive oil, 240g sugar and 300g salt are also added to the dough mixture, and it is mixed for 30 minutes in a special mixer. 40% water is added, which helps it to cook evenly, and apparently also helps with digestion when eating it.
Now for the interactive bit: we were given an uncooked pizza base each and a load of different toppings to create our own ‘The Stable’ pizza. Chef Campbell expertly showed us how to apply sauce with the edge of the spoon, and set us loose on our task. Let’s just say that my sauce did not go on with such an expert hand!
I added mozzarella, spinach, onion, basil, mushrooms, peppers and goats cheese to my pizza in an attempt to create a take on the ‘Billy the Kid’ pizza which is my favourite.
The pizzas were then put in the oven to cook and were done after just a few minutes.
My pizza came out pretty well! It may not have been the prettiest thing ever, but it was pretty delicious.
Look how proud I am of my pizza!