The Fresh Loaf

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Jim Lahey's Popeye Pizza

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Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Jim Lahey's Popeye Pizza

I debated between naming this thread Jim Lahey's Popeye Pizza, and Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough. But since Jim Lahey's name is practically synonymous with "no-knead," maybe the latter is redundant. Anyway, it's green, and St. Patty's day is this week, so I thought I'd share.


Click here: Popeye Pizza   (the video is worth watching)


I made this pizza a week or two ago, right after I saw the show. I printed out the recipe, and when I got to the salt and yeast, I ran into problems. My instructions said 1/8 tsp yeast and 1/8 tsp salt, but I clearly remembered him adding 1/2 tsp salt. I haven't made pizza in years, and toppings tend to be salty, so I wasn't sure what was customary. I decided to trust Jim and I put in 1/2 tsp. And then my dough didn't rise, so I ended up making something else for dinner that night.


The next day I started earlier, but decided to go by the printout and use 1/8 tsp. It still took longer to rise, but the dough was a joy to stretch out, and the pizza baked up thin and crispy---just the way I like it. Except that the crust tasted bland. Otherwise, the pizza was pretty good. Roasted spinach is interesting. Thin and papery, but nice mild flavor. It's different, but I'd make it again. Looked just like the one in the picture, except that I forgot to drizzle on the olive oil before serving.



A week later, I decided to try the dough in a more familiar pizza with red sauce. I doubled the salt and yeast (1/4 tsp each) and it was still bland. Also the pizza sauce made it soggy. I think I prefer thin pizza without the sauce. At this point I went back to the website for another printout, to find the amounts on salt and yeast now say 1/4 tsp. Yes, I put the two side-by-side to make sure I wasn't going crazy. They corrected the amounts, but this still can't be right.


In the video, JL puts in 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp yeast. What sounds right to to you all?

Dwu3193's picture
Dwu3193

The recipe for the pizze dough seems to be the original no-knead recipe divided by three, so the amount of salt and yeast in the video should be right. Maybe they were using a different salt in the video. What kind are you using?

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Thanks---that helps to clear things up. I didn't think to compare to the original. And based on my results, I agree that the video is right. What they did was mix up the salt amount with the yeast, and when they corrected the yeast from 1/8 to 1/4 tsp, they still didn't get the salt right. I think the wording is part of the problem.


Just to clarify for anyone else wanting to make this, it should be:


1/2 tsp. salt


1/4 tsp. yeast


 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi Debra,


It's an interesting recipe. I get frustrated with cups and TSPs and figure it was around 120 grams of flour so I'm guessing between 2 or 3 grams of salt would be about right. After all, 1/2 tsp of kosher salt is a lot less salty then the same amount of table salt.


I understand and like the no-knead thing on this kind of dough. I suggested on another thread that lots of gluten isn't the way I like to make my pizza dough, and there was disagreement on that point, which of course is fine, but this fits with my sense that stretchy, high hydration dough is what makes shaping a pizza possible. The high hydration should allow for gas bubbles and a varied blistery texture to the crust. (The last time I made pizza with high gluten flour and lots of kneading I didn't like shaping it at all.)


The oven thing was a shock to me. I have never been able to leave the oven door open like that without going bonkers! What temperature was the oven by the time they finally closed the door? But the crust looked good when done, as does yours, so maybe the hot hot hot pizza oven isn't all it's cracked up to be? Still, I kind of want to try it by using Mattie and SteveB's broiler-preheat technique (again on that other thread), and using parchment on a peel and then pulling the parchment off the peel and onto the baking stone to transfer, while keeping the oven real hot.


Thanks for posting this!


David

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Thanks for weighing in, David,


I was a little worried about the oven too, but I did it just the way he did and it worked fine. I made sure to get all the toppings prepped and next to the oven before I opened the door and laid the dough right on the stone. I had preheated the oven and stone for a full hour. I think a hot stone is the key, because doesn't good pizza have to bake mostly from the bottom? The air temp around the top mainly just heats the toppings through and melts the cheese. I guess even if the air temp drops while the door is open, there is still enough heat stored in the oven walls and the stone to carry it through.


BTW, I forgot to mention in my last post that I use fine sea salt (Balyeine), which is the same type he specified, so that shouldn't be an issue.   -dw

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi Debra,


That sounds right, about the pizza needing to bake from the bottom up. While there seems to be some disagreement of how best to heat up a baking stone for pizza, everybody seems to agree that it needs to be very hot.


I understand that on TV you don't want to scare people with metric weights, I just haven't scooped and spooned by volume in so long I have a hard time thinking that way!


(I like the Baleine salt too.)


David