My husband and I are taking our first trip anywhere since we were married 3 years ago. We didn't have the funds for a honeymoon and the kiddo was created just one month after we said our vows. This year, for my birthday, I asked him to arrange a long weekend and surprise me with the destination. I wanted somewhere close enough that we could be back in a flash if necessary, but far enough that we had to take a plane. He chose Portland.
Naturally, I hear Portland and I think Ken Forkish. We're only going to be there for a couple days, but trips to his bakery and pizzeria are a top priority. Thus in preparation, I ordered Elements of Pizza.
I've only been at bread baking for just over a year. But I've been at pizza for over a decade. I spent 10 years working in the industry and I have a husband who loses his $&*^! at the mention of a Neopolitan pizza. Together, we spent years in pursuit of delicious pizza -- at restaurants and at home.
A few months ago, we made a trip to Central Milling. Much to our surprise and delight, we encountered Tony Gemignani's 00 flour. I've always understood that 00 requires north of 900 degrees, so I generally don't bother with it. But it's Tony. Tony of legend...Tony of some of the most delicious pizza I've ever had...Tony whose restaurant we never pass up even if it means we have to get in line half an hour early and eat our pizza standing up on the side of the road. So, yeah...we bought the flour with no real plans to use it.
In his 24-48 hour dough, Forkish calls for 00. I was skeptical for the reasons I mentioned. I also didn't think it could match the flavor of my usual 3 day cold fermented dough. But I followed the recipe. Anyway, it was the perfect opportunity to try this special edition 00 flour from The Legend.
I used my baking method. I developed it across much trial and error and it's the closest I can get to foolproof and repeatable results in the home oven. It solves two critical problems a). messy pizza transfers. b) the bottom being done before the top or vice versa. (I have never been able to get good results with the stone at the top rack under the broiler. My oven just isn't good enough and has too many hot spots. So, treating the bottom and top separately in this manner was a revelation.)
Amy's Pizza Baking Method
1. Place two oven racks in the oven. One at the lowest position and one at the highest position. Place steel or pizza stone on lowest rack.
2. Pre-heat oven at 550F for an hour.
3. Shape dough into disk. Transfer to parchment paper and top pizza as desired.
4. Use a peel to place the pizza with parchment paper on the lower rack's pizza stone.
5. After 2 minutes, your dough should be set enough to allow you to easily remove the parchment paper. Using tongs and pizza peel, remove the parchment paper.
6. Continue cooking until your pizza's bottom has reached your desired level of doneness.
7. Transfer pizza directly to the top rack. (It should have no problem being supported by the rack as the crust is well set at this point) and turn on the broiler.
8. Broil for 1-2 minutes until the top of your pizza has reached your desired level of doneness. Don't walk away. Watch it through your window so you know exactly when to pull it.
Forkish calls for a 7 minute bake time. I did 6 minutes on the bottom rack and 1 minute on the top. This pizza turned out a little too crispy. I did the second pizza for 5 minutes on the bottom rack and 90 seconds on the top rack. This was absolutely perfect. It had a thin crisp layer on the outside but a soft, air center. It was full of flavor. The difference in those 30 seconds from the first pizza to the second is transformative. It's not a matter of heat loss as the oven remained on and re-heated for half an hour between pies.
My pictures are not plentiful or super revealing, but this was really a great dough. Before bake the dough was more supple than any dough I've ever worked with, even without oil. This is some really good flour and it made a great pie.