I am looking for a pizza recipe, preferably sourdough. Do you have any favourites to share? Also, can a thin-crust be achieved with sourdough? All replies are very much appreciated.
...search it can.
My pizza preferences lean away from thin-crusts towards "breadier" crusts. I like to make mine from a two-step, fairly high-hydration sourdough like I'd use for chiabatta. I pre-bake my crusts a bit, with the center weighted down with a cake pan filled with pie weights so the oven spring doesn't turn my pizza crust into a boule. ;-) This way, the outer crust raises up wonderfully, leaving a depression in the center like a well to be filled with whatever prior to the final baking. I think the crust should be able to stand on its own rather than just be a carrier for the toppings. I like to brush the crust with olive oil and a bit of garlic salt and, if I'm in the mood, some herbs that go with the planned toppings prior to the pre-bake. (I hate it when I see the crusts left on the plate -- I want the diners to enjoy the crust as much as the rest of the meal.)
I have begun adding a bit of olive oil to the dough to help with shaping the pizza.
There's a pic of one of my pizzas made this way here, near the end: http://www.flickr.com/photos/climbhipa/sets/72157613634415857/
As for sourdough thin crusts, I've never really tried it, but I suppose you could do it by drastically shortening the bench time so you get very little oven spring.
Nice brick oven. Are the specs for that published or was this something you created on your own?
I make this every week.Easy.
425 g or 3 c flour (I use 1 c ea WW,Bread flour,Kamut)
200g + 50g 1c warm water if using starter-
add additional scant 1/4 c warm water if using just yeast
150g 1/2 c 100% hydration (by weight) active starter
3 g 1 tsp yeast ( if not using starter)
(sometimes I add 1/4 tsp in addition to starter if short on time)
5 g 1 tsp salt
5 g 1 tsp sugar
20g 2 tbsp olive oil.
Still working on my recipe by weight.
I use the fluff,scoop and sweep method if I use volume measurements.
Water needs adjusting if you use different flours-WW and Kamut soak up a lot of water.AP or Bread Flour, not as much.
Use olive oil on hands if it is too tacky.
MIx-stretch and fold-rest 15 min so gluten relaxes
Gently pull out to size/shape/thinness desired.It should be a wonderful, soft and pliant dough.If it tightens up-cover and let it relax for 15 min.
Put on cornmeal prepped pan (I use quick oatmeal for a softer chew-not fond of cornmeal crunch)
Let rise if you want a puffier dough- use almost immed for a thinner dough.
HINTS FOR A TASTIER PIZZA:
This dough is not very salty-so adjust salt to taste.
Most pizzas are made with WAY too much sauce-very thin layer! Otherwise it takes over. It's not about just the sauce.
Many pizzas are also made with WAY too much cheese-a good pizza has a balance of sensations-chewiness/crunchiness-gooeyness-spice and texture.
As I had some extra sourdough starter just waiting for a recipe, your pizza dough recipe was awesome. I used the dough and made a filling of apples and raisins with a confectionary/cream cheese icing. Getting ready to enjoy!
Jeff Varasano's NY pizza website uses a combination of a sourdough poolish and instant yeast. His recipe makes a very thin crust pizza. I do not do sourdough but I like to make a starter the night before, then let the dough rise in the fridge for 2-3 days (or until doubled in bulk), before portioning and freezing. Even without the true sourdough, there is PLENTY of flavor in the finished product.
My favorite pizza is thin-crust as well. (New Haven, where I live, is famous for its thin-crust pizza.) Sourdough pizza is actually a good way to go, because it allows for longer fermentation (though using poolish accomplishes a similar result).
The one thing I think it's important to remember is you don't want too strong a dough, i.e. less gluten is good in pizza. You want your dough extensible, and not so elastic, for easier shaping; it also allows the dough to be stretched thinner.
I tend to like a higher hydration when making pizza dough. It's a little more difficult to work with, but makes a delicious thin crust.
Forgot to post the link!
Soundman is right - a wet dough is very important in making a thin crust pizza - particularly at home. I disagree slightly with the gluten comment - I find my crusts improve when I allow my mixer several minutes for kneading. However you don't want a dry dough which makes it tough to stretch. I follow Jeff's recipe and there is no stretching required - you put the dough on your knuckles and it is so slack that it stretches itself. Use a lot - A LOT of flour when handling the final dough, which is so wet I have to scrape it out of the bowl with a rubber spatula after kneading and/or rising.
If you don't have a stand mixer however, I recommend just putting the ingredients in a bowl and "kneading" with a spatula for 30 seconds to a minute (rather than trying to use your hands). I make "30 minute pizza dough" this way from time to time when I need a snack or quick meal and don't feel like turning it into a production.
PIzza Margarita is my favorite pizza! --Pamela
I want to thank you all that replied to my plea for thin-crust sourdough pizza recipes. The suggested recipes are all on my list to test'n try. I was instantly drawn to the pizza recipe from the link from rcrabtree - thank you!!! If you did not have a chance to follow the link... please do. This is truly something else, so elaborate, such a work of love..., simply impossible to resist. Jeff Verasano shares his passionate quest for the perfect NYC-style pizza and his blog reads like a short story from the 50's NYC era. He even describes in detail how to prepare pizza sauce, the recipe I would have never guessed despite tasting many true Neapolitan pizza pies myself. The intricate work he put into the formula is astonishing and details he shares around cheese, oven temperature fix, pizza places' ratings are just tremendous. This is a fabulous read. Needless to say, the five of my newly-made pizza pies are retarding in the fridge for tomorrow's pizza dinner party. The dough is amazing to work with, very soft, very pliable. I hope to be able to take some pics tomorrow when the pizzas get out of the oven, but considering the thin-crust pizza fan club I will be hosting tomorrow, I might not get a chance.
Once more, thank you all for your thoughts.
How did it go? I was going to ask whether you have a baking stone and peel, and whether you were experienced using them to make pizza. The hardest thing for me when I started using this dough was getting the dang thing into the oven. Occasionally I still have mishaps. The trick for me is using a good amount of flour while handling the dough, then after stretching laying it back on the board and sprinkling at least one side with flour. After sprinkling the stretched dough with flour I put the floured side down onto a floured peel. I use my metal peel to load the pizza (it seems to slide off more readily) and my wooden one to remove cut and serve the finished pie. Also, I try to assemble the pie pretty quickly so as not to allow moisture from the dough to seep through the flour and glue the pie to the peel. When loading the pie onto the stone, technique is just as important as preparation. This pizza will not just slide off the peel as a loaf of bread might; you have to shake, almost vibrate the peel, and "dance" the pizza onto the stone. I don't know how many times I had to clean my oven before I figured this out ("honey, I guess we're not having pizza tonight") . . .
the results were disappointing (if I were to be more dramatic, I would say disastrous). All was going superbly, until the first pie went into the oven. Yes, I use the stone, but then, I decided to speed up production and place a pizza stone on a higher level. I still don't know what the real problem was, too little heat (preheated to 550), the upper stone preventing the distribution of heat, or what? The pizza pies were like well-compacted leather soles... and more or less tasted the same - floury, unimpressive really.
The dough itself behaved really well, it was very stretchable and all throughout the first pizza assembly, I had no idea I would encounter these challenges.
Well, the guests ate them all - the polite crowd - but I will be producing this dough again and am determined to get edible results that time.
As for the pie transfer to the oven, I stretched them on the pizza peel fitted with parchment and then baked with the sheet - could parchment contribute to the poor baking results?
Any advice is very appreciated.
I often form my pizzas on parchment paper sprayed with Pam. Edit: Spraying the paper with Pam always assures easy removal from the peel. After the crust has set in the oven--about 4 minutes--I rotate the pizza and remove the paper (slide it out from underneath the pizza; the paper isn't hot enough to burn your fingers so I just lift the pizza up and grab the paper with my hands).
The other benefit of using parchment IMO is that I while the 1st pizza is baking I can make the 2nd. I only have one oven, one stone, and one peel, so being able to get that 2nd one assembled and ready to bake--and everything cleaned up too--streamlines the whole process and makes for a better eating experience.
Parchment paper - lol - I never thought of that. I wonder if it traps moisture normally wicked away by the hot, dry stone. I will have to try it.
Sorry to hear about the poor experience. But I think the first pizza experience is probably traumatic for everyone! Yes, I think next time you should definitely try it with just the one pizza stone.
Dumb question - you did preheat the stone, correct? Sorry if this sounds insulting - but I have known people to make the pizza on the stone and then slide it into the oven, as if it is a very heavy baking sheet.
Hmmm . . . well compacted leather soles. Very descriptive but I'm trying to understand what could have gone wrong. How long did they cook? At 550 they should have taken no longer than 5-7 minutes. Floury? If you are using parchment, then you can cut way back on the flour while handling. Jeff Varasano claims that if you do it right, you don't need much flour, but I have never gotten there. Unimpressive? You didn't skip the cold rise/ferment did you?
It doesn't trap moisture because I remove the parchment after about 4 minutes; the total baking time for the pizza is about 10 minutes.
"But I think the first pizza experience is probably traumatic for everyone!"
Thank you rcrabtree for your reassurance!
Here are a few more facts that I can add with hopes this mystery will be solved: the stones were both preheated, originally both resting on the same, lower, level; the first pizza pie was already acting up as it looked pale and uncooked at 8 min mark; that was the time I moved the pizza stone that sat on top the stone slab to the upper level and moved the first pie from the lower rack to the upper; it started cooking from the top, but the crust was just drying; I left the top pizza stone there for the rest of the baking, and baked the remaining four pies on the slab in the lower part of the oven.
What really puzzles me is what Jeff said that if anyone did HALF of the steps he had listed, the pizza would be a great success. I honestly took all the steps on his list and was careful performing each and every single one of them... to no avail. Live and learn! This is all behind me now, I am looking forward to my new trials and I thank all you wonderful folks for putting up with my pizza extravaganza.
I make tons (really) of pizza around here. Hubby and I both grew up in NYC eating that infamous Patsy's Pizza on the upper east side, actually I originally lived 3 blocks away from it. I didn't want to disable my new oven (per Jeff) when I bought the fancy stove but still had a hard time getting my crusts to cook quickly in order to drive the moisture out of the dough. I even purchased the HearthKit for the oven figuring that would certainly help, and it did to a certain degree. What finally worked for me was pre-heating the insert for almost an hour at 550 then turning the broiler on high for another 15 minutes, then turning the oven back to 550 when I put the first pizza in to cook. The stone gets blazing hot and our pizzas are now cooking to a well done char (the way we like it) within 4-5 minutes maximum. My 4 young grandchildren that live quite near us love Nanas pizza so I keep them supplied. Try turning your oven to the high broil setting after it is pre-heated and then turn it back to bake when you put the first pizza in, I'll try to put a link to my photobucket account so you can see the pizza, although in the photos I took out the sides of the HearthKit set up so I could get better pictures. mattie
Mattie, you and I use the same technique!:
Doesn't it make a great difference in your pizza! Mine used to come out good but since I started doing this technique the crust really comes out great, they come out thin and crisp with a moist not gummy interior, even hubby who used to never eat all the crust very rarely leaves any anymore. If you click on the link in my message to Gosiam you can see some pictures of some that I've made, they look to be thicker than they actually are tho. My stone is actually in the bottom third of my oven because the insert I use has sides that go into it so it can't go high up as yours, maybe I will leave the sides off tho and try the stone even closer to the broiler element this week when I make some pizza. I just browsed your blog, very nice! Mattie
Mattie, I use just the base stone of a Hearthkit, which also has side inserts. Are you using a Hearthkit as well? I've removed the side inserts so that I can get the base really close to the broiler flame. Having the base that close to the broiler presents its own challenges, as my blog graphically illustrates! :)
Yes, Steve I am using the Hearth Kit. I usually keep the sides on mine and very rarely take them off. I did remove them to take the pictures on my photobucket site. The oven in my stove is much smaller than my former stove and with the sides on the kit the base of the kit has to go on the bottom position of the oven, the stone is too heavy for me to move it really easy so I tend to leave it there on the bottom with the sides attached, even so it takes up a lot of room, for instance yesterday I roasted 3 chickens and they almost touched the broiler coil in the top of the oven with the stone on the bottom shelf, if I move it up higher then I probably wouldn't be able to cook anything but pizza in there and would be moving it up and down constantly. It sounds like we have similar things in our kitchens, I too use a Super Peel since I first saw them in the Bakers Catalog years ago, but have to confess I also use and old fashioned wooden peel too....brings back memories of a friend trying to teach me how in his pizza place back home in NYC 35 years ago, he'd be shocked to see how good I am at it now. Mattie
I will definitely try the broiler after preheating. It totally makes sense. I will report back after my next pizza attempt.
Thank You, Mattie
I was very surprised the first time I tried it, I figured the hotter I could get the stone the better it would be. Up until I tried it our pizza was good but now it is great (at least in our opinon). I thought it would make a little difference but it actually made a big difference, sometimes I don't even do the hour pre heat anymore and just do it for about 30 minutes and then turn on the broiler for 10-15 minutes, then back to bake as I put the first pizza in. I always felt bad using so much energy for the pre heating just to make 2 pizzas for us for dinner so it became a ritual for me to make at least a dozen and either freezing them or giving them away. Well wrapped and frozen, they taste almost as good as fresh when re-heated and are better than any we can get locally fresh here in the deep south. Let us know if it works for you. Good luck, mattie
I am making pizza again today so I just thought of you. Have you tried the technique that SteveB and I used to pre-heat the stone thoroughly? I am in great comapny with a master baker like Steve using the same process as me. Let us know how you get on with it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. mattie
How close are your stones to the broiler element? I have a rack that is covered with quarry tile, I just leave them in the oven all the time, but I leave the rack on the lowest position so I can still use that oven for other things if needed. But it's probably too far away from the broiler for this to work? Maybe I should move it up.
Right now my stone sits right at 7 inches below the broiler element in my electric oven, I am going to move it up to the next level (approximately 5") to see if it has a quicker heat up time.....I still feel a twinge when I have to do so long a pre-heat. If my stone was one of the lighter ones I might even try to pre-heat it as close to the bottom as possible and then move it closer to the broiler element after it has heated for 20 minutes or so, but my stone is heavy (I would guess at about 20 pounds) and trying to move it when heated might be dangerous, I honestly think the simple act of also pre-heating the stone with the broiler does more good than a longer pre-heat with the regular oven element, it just makes sense to me that the hotter I can get the stone the quicker the bottom of the crust seals. Give SteveB's and my method a try and let us know if it works out for you.
Forgot to add, don't forget to turn the oven back to regular bake, BEFORE you put your pizza in to cook.