A SCOTTISH restaurant has served up more than 430,000 pizzas – all made with dough that is now 18 years old.
The Glasgow eaterie created a sample of “sour dough” at its opening in 1998 which it has kept alive ever since.
Chefs regularly take a small sample of the original dough and add it to their regular pizza base to boost the flavour.
The original dough – a soup of flour, water and apples – is kept alive simply by adding a little extra water and flour every few days, as well as keeping it sealed and warm.
Staff at Firebird in Argyle Steet reckon the inclusion of the original sour dough keeps adding natural flavour to the pizza base.
The first sample was made the same year that a law was passed paving the way for devolution in Scotland. And it is the same age as many of the staff working at the restaurant.
Co-owner Derrick Sutherland, 56, first brewed up the secret recipe in 1998 for the restaurant’s grand opening.
Chef Chris Olivarius, 33, who runs the restaurant with his partner Louise Adams, 34, and Derrick, said: “It’s like an animal. It’s a living enzyme. You feed it to keep it alive.”
“Some people say, ‘Oh my god – what do you mean that dough has been around for 18 years?’
“But then you explain it. People who really know their food know the effort we’ve put in to nurture it.”
The dough is thought to be the oldest in Scotland.
The restaurant dishes up about 65 pizzas a day, giving a rough total since 1998 of 427,000 made with the same dough.
About 5 tablespoons are added to every batch of pizzas.
Chris said: “It doesn’t look like dough, it’s a wet mixture. You feed it every couple of days with flour and sometimes a bit of water.
“It’s like a wine, it gets more natural flavours as it ages.”
Diners worried the dish might be too exotic can take heart that the dough has a unique Glasgow flavour.
Louise said: “You will never have two sourdoughs that taste the same. It soaks up different yeasts from the surrounding air.”
By Katherine Sutherland