The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

pizza margherita

codruta's picture

pizza margherita

I made a pizza last week, that turned out very good.  I addapted the recipe from hamelman's BREAD. I made a stiff levain instead of biga, and omit the oil. I used canned tomatoes made by me last summer, fresh mozzarella, dried oregano, and fresh basil added in the end. I put the stone at the lowest level in my gas oven, and the pizza was done in 7-8 minutes. It's the best I can do at home. The crust was absolutely delicious!!!

more pictures and complete recipe can be found at my romanian blog Apa.Faina.Sare. (english translator available, funny translation, though)


Syd's picture

Lovely looking pizza, Codruta.  Interesting that you put your stone on the lowest level of the oven.  I have been putting mine on the highest level, based on the premise that hot air rises and so the top of the oven should be the hottest part, and have been getting very good results, too.  I guess there is more than one way to skin a cat. 

Those tomatoes look gorgeous.  How do you preserve them?  When tomatoes are in abundance over here, I cut them in half, de-seed them, sprinkle them lightly with herbs and dry them out very slowly in a low oven over 3 to 4 hours.  This concentrates their flavour.  I then can them in jars and top them up with olive oil. 



codruta's picture

Syd, I quote from P. Reinhart BBA page 211 "45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone either on the floor of the oven (for gas ovens) or on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible [...] if the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone to a lower shelf. If the bottom crisp before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone for subsequent bakes".

From what P.R. says, I deduce that the lower you put the stone, the hotter it gets. What do you think?

For tomatoes, it's hard for me to explain in english, I'll try, but please don't smile if I mess up th words. I peel the tomatoes (they have to be ripe, but not overripe) (by sinking them in hot water 3 seconds, then in ice cold water- then the peel comes out easily). I put them in a jar, fill it with water, a pinch of salt and a bit of lemon juice. I put the lid on, squize it very tight, and then I put the jars in a large pot, (with a tea towel inside the pot, placed on the bottom) and I fill the pot with water, 1-2cm below the level of lids (it is good to have jars of the same size). I turn on the heat and let the pot boil on a low heat for 15 minutes. I turn off the heat, and let the jars inseide the pot till the water cools completely (overnight). that's it, it is easy and the result incredible.

Hope it helps.

ps. I also dry them in the oven, then freeze them, or keep them in olive oil. I had all winter dried tomatoes and canned tomatoes available. It's a real feast.

codruta, from Apa.Faina.Sare.


varda's picture

It has been great to see your posts.   Everything you do has a certain flair.   Codruta tomatoes, etc.  -Varda

codruta's picture

thank you, varda, you are always so kind!

jackie9999's picture

Beautiful pizza!

Interesting about the placement of the stone in the oven..I've got mine in the middle - but now I'm or bottom?

Also, I went a little overboard with my tomatoes this year and I expect I'll have WAY too many so I'll be looking for a way to preserve them..thanks!

codruta's picture

hi! now i'm intrigued about the right placement of the stone for pizza. 3 people, 3 different approches, all with good results??!!

For tomatoes: in Romania we extract the juice from ripe tomatoes using a special grinder (whitch separate the juice from the seeds and peel), and then we boil it until it thickens a bit, and we put it in bottles of 500ml (no sugar, salt or acid added). Some people add hot pepper, sugar or salt, I keep it plain. It is called "bulion" and it can be kept for years. After a year it gets a darker colour, and it thickens, but it is very good. We use it at soups, sauces, homemade ketch-up, blood mary, or we drink it directly from the bottle. In good long warm summers, when tomatoes are extremely sweet, the juice is absolute delicious. You can give it a try and make a few bottles, i'm sure you'll love it!


quickquiche's picture

That looks so insanely delicious!! It really is mouth watering just to look at those photos!

You said you adapted Hamelman's bread recipe. Which book did you get the recipe from?

I'm also curious about the sauce. Do you have a specific recipe for it?

***As far as stone placement goes, I've only ever used it near the bottom of the oven. I don't put it on the very bottom shelf (I'm afraid of burning the pizza) but I put it one slot above the bottom and I'm usually happy with the results. It has never occurred to me to put the stone on any shelf above the middle of the oven.

codruta's picture

I meant hamelman's book "BREAD". The recipe for the sauce is on my romanian blog, translator available. if you have difficulties with that translation, contact me and I'll try to translate it for you (in fact is just canned tomatoes, put in a sieve for couple of hours, to lose all the liquid, then puree with a blender. I added a pinch of sugar and salt)

thank you for the compliments!

codruta, from Apa. Faina.Sare.

chefscook's picture

Oh I just want to dive into that beautiful pizza
it looks absolutely delicious yum yum I want to have
A slice now thank you for sharing