The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pizza

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Doughtagnan's picture
Doughtagnan

We had a recipe for Pumpkin and Feta pie on a shortcrust pastry base and thought it would work well on a pizza base (though purists will deem it an abomination!) The topping was a mix of oven roasted butternut squash & whole garlic cloves (squeezed out after roasting) mixed with fried red onions & balsamic vinegar plus feta cheese & chopped rosemary.... all on a hand stretched pizza base.... i'm thinking it would work very well as a starter sized pizzette with some rocket on the side........  it made a very nice change.  Steve


JoPi's picture
JoPi

Here is a video on grilled pizza. I've done pizza on my BBQ grill.  This is a bit different.


It looks delicious!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLC-SIGpZkE

mcs's picture
mcs

I guess that's what I'd call a pizza made with 75% hydration baguette dough.  MMMMmmmmmmm!  Tomato sauce covered with seasoned chicken, marinated artichoke hearts, mozzarella and parm.  Next time you make baguettes, do yourself a favor and reserve some dough for dinner.  Tomorrow night will be calzones.



-Mark


http://TheBackHomeBakery.com

Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

One of the challenges for a home baker is to try and figure out how to make a great bread once you've tasted it. Like encountering the Platonic ideal, you recognize it, reach for it and try and duplicate it -- and then you fail miserably and often give up.

Jim Lahey, the founder of Sullivan Street Bakery, was like a culinary Plato for me. Every bread he turned out was amazing and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't find a way to make the airy, light, wonderfully tasteful bread at home. To learn more, I actually visited his bakery in New York several years ago and did a story on him. And while he gave me a few generous tips in an interview (and critiqued the sample I had in my backpack), it wasn't enough. I had to learn on my own and like most bread, I later realized success was less about the recipe than the technique.

Lahey, of course, later caused a storm on the Internet with his no-knead bread recipe, courtesy of Mark Bittman. Then, he spun those recipes into My Bread published this past fall, which ranks as a perfect starting point for an aspiring baker.

Less known than his bread, however, are his terrific pizzas, which he also includes in the book. These aren't the round pizzas he serves up at his New York restaurant, Company, but rectangular sheets of exceedingly thin-crust pizza, topped with onions, mushrooms or just tomato sauce. They are sold by the slice in his bakery.

The big secret about these crispy gems? Like no-knead bread they are dead easy and fast to make. For the effort, you get great results. 

In fact, the pizza recipe was so easy that I was skeptical it would be worth it. You mix the dough quickly, let it rise for a couple of hours, flatten it out in a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil, spread the topping and bake it. The recipe was also quite different from another here, because no mixer is necessary. 

You can dispense with a baking stone, too. And finally, watch your impulse on toppings! The biggest error pizza novices make is to pile on so much stuff the pie turns into a soggy, gloppy mess. As Jim told me many years ago, when it comes to pizza, "less is more." He's right. Like many Italian concoctions, he also avoids cheese on these rectangular pies and the result, in my opinion, is superior. But if you insist, go ahead and add a bit of cheese.

Here's his basic dough recipe and the stellar pizza patate (potato pizza).

Basic Pizza Dough 

Yield: enough dough for two pies baked in 13x18-inch rimmed baking sheets

3 3/4 cups (500 grams) bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons (10 grams) instant or active dry yeast
3/4 teaspoon (5 grams) salt
3/4 teaspoon plus pinch (3 grams) sugar
1 1/3 cups (300 grams) water
Extra Virgin olive oil for pan

In a bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the water, and using a spoon, your hand, or a baker's plastic bench scraper, mix together until blended -- about a minute (Jim says 30 seconds but mine took a bit longer). You don't want to mix or knead this dough too much, or else the gluten will develop and you won't be able to shape it in the pan. But you want to mix in all the lumps of flour. In the end, you'll arrive at a stiff dough.

Cover the dough and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours. (If your room is cold, put it in the oven with a pilot light to warm up a bit, or in a closed cabinet).

Dump out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut it in half. Use both pieces, or save one in the refrigerator (I use a zip lock bag) for up to 1 day. Oil a 13x18 inch rimmed baking sheet liberally with good extra virgin olive oil (yes, pour it on). Then gently plop the dough on the pan and stretch and press it out to the edges. If it springs back (that's the gluten working) wait five minutes and then proceed. I found the gluten weak enough to spread it fully over the pan. The dough is very thin. If it tears, piece it back together.

Lahey has a few basic toppings in his book, such as pizza pomodoro (tomato sauce), pizza funghi (mushroom), and pizza cavolfiore (cauliflower), but I zoomed in on his pizza patate (potato). This might sound like a carbo-loading dream, but remember the crust is thin, so you're not stuffing yourself with dough.

Pizza Patate

As Jim writes, "Potato pizza is another Italian classic you don't see very often in the United States. While my rendition is pretty traditional, I soak the potatoes in salted water first, which actually extracts about 20 percent of their moisture. That causes them to cook more quickly and makes them firmer. It's a little trick I learned from cooking potato pancakes."

YIELD: One 13-by-18-inch pie; 8 slices 

EQUIPMENT: A mandoline

1 quart (800 grams) lukewarm water 
4 teaspoons (24 grams) table salt 
6 to 8 (1 kilo) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled 
1 cup (100 grams) diced yellow onion 
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) freshly ground black pepper 
About 1⁄2 cup (80 grams) extra virgin olive oil 
1/2 recipe (400 grams) Basic Pizza Dough 
About 1 tablespoon (2 grams) fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat the oven to 500 F (260 C) with a rack in the middle

In a medium bowl, combine the water and salt, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Use a knife or mandoline to slice the peeled potatoes very thin (1/16th inch thick), and put the slices directly into the salted water so they don’t oxidize and turn brown. Let soak in the brine for 1-1/2 hour (or refrigerate and soak for up to 12 hours), until the slices are wilted and no longer crisp. (Note: I cut the soaking time to 30 minutes and the results were still good.)

Drain the potatoes in a colander and use your hands to press out as much water as possible, then pat dry. In a medium bowl, toss together the potato slices, onion, pepper, and olive oil.

Spread the potato mixture evenly over the dough, going all the way to the edges of the pan; put a bit more of the topping around the edges of the pie, as the outside tends to cook more quickly. Sprinkle evenly with the rosemary. (Note: I left it out in the version pictured above, but feel it's better with it). 

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the topping is starting to turn golden brown and the crust is pulling away from the sides of the pan. Serve the pizza hot or at room temperature.

Variation • Pizza Batata (Sweet Potato Pizza)

Substitute 2 sweet potatoes (800 grams), peeled, for the Yukon Gold potatoes, and use about 4 cups (about 900 grams) water and 24 grams (4 teaspoons) salt for the soaking liquid. Omit the rosemary in the topping.

(I originally posted this on ChewsWise)

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Well, another rainy day in Arizona. I'm getting the tiniest bit of cabin fever. Having a rare treat, a glass of shiraz. Not a great wine but it sure tastes good. My husband ran to the store to get it while I was baking a pizza. Pouring down rain and wind. Even my doberman refuses to go take a potty!


I threw together a dough today and it turned out awfully wet. (maybe our humidity?) Anyway, it was a made up recipe and I threw in too much starter so I probably just miscalculated. I was feeding my white starter, being lazy and decided to make a 1-2-3 bread. But instead of being careful, I threw the rest of my starter in so it was probably a 2-2-3 bread. I decided to use a whole durum flour for 50% and white whole wheat for the other 50%, the starter fed on AP. (Have I mentioned I don't like white bread?)


So, I ended up with this gloppy, soft dough. It smelled so nice, but was really wet! I decided to use half for a pizza and put the other half in the oven. The half that I made into a bread was really flat, kind of strange looking but tasted oh, so sweet!


The pizza, one of my better pizzas! I used fennel seed in the sauce, with a lot of wine and canned tomatoes. (I now have decided I like fennel seed, after an unsure beginning) Had some dried porcini mushrooms in my spice box so I soaked those in water, threw the water in the sauce and the mushrooms on the pizza. Some black forest ham, onions, mozarella. And---a fresh habanero from the garden. Now, if you've never had a garden fresh habanero, you have no idea what flowery aroma and taste they can produce. In the winter ours are not that hot. (in comparision I guess) But the flavor they add is a miracle! They smell like flowers! Hot, spicy flowers! Mixed with fennels, wine, mushrooms and the flowery habaneros, this was a meal from above.


Maybe I just have cabin fever, LOL!!


No dessert tonight, maybe just a cup of hot mint tea. A movie with my wonderful husband, some reading and to bed. I've been reading the Julie/Julia project for my bedtime reading. What a wonderful blog. I highly recommend it. I can really relate in my RV situation right now.

ceedah's picture

Madison, WI

January 10, 2010 - 6:28pm -- ceedah

Cafe Porta Alba has the best Neapolitan-style pizza I've had. Caveat: It recently moved, and I haven't been to the new location yet, but I believe it's under the same management, so I'm operating under the assumption that it's still as good!


Batch Bakehouse is my favorite bakery in Madison. It opened a few months ago, and nothing I've had there has disappointed. They have a variety of artisan breads, as well as pastries.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

In addition to the Greek bread, about which I wrote yesterday, I made a couple of pizzas while visiting with family this week. I used the pizza dough formula in Hamelman's bread, but used Pivetti typo 00 flour from nybakers.com, made the dough with sourdough rather than commercial yeast, and did all the mixing by hand. 



Ham & Pineapple Pizza 



Chanterelle, Crimini, Leek, Olive, Mozzarella and Parmesan Pizza



Slice



Jonathan & Glenn watching Pizza TV


The chopped veggies were for the fab barbecued turkey gumbo brother Glenn made for dinner. The pizzas were just an appetizer.


David

Ryan Sandler's picture

(Sort of) High volume pizza baking -- please advise

December 22, 2009 - 11:52am -- Ryan Sandler

My in-laws' family has a tradition of doing homemade pizza for Christmas Eve dinner, and this year I volunteered to do the dough and baking, in hopes of a higher quality pizza.  I've got a plenty good crust formula, a great sauce recipe, and I'm sure my mother-in-law will have plenty of toppings.  I'm still pondering, however, how best to bake them.  I'm making 7 personal size pizzas, and I need to figure out a way to get them all baked as fast as possible and finished as close together as possible. I'm hoping some of the wise and kind folks on the forums can advise me here.

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