The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

There's no place like home...

kjknits's picture
kjknits

There's no place like home...

...to get a good pizza, that is. I joined this forum a few days ago and mentioned that I make pizzas, and a few fellow bakers asked for photos and my recipes. When I first started making pizzas several years ago, I used a dough recipe from the Silver Palate New Basics. But, the baked dough was very doughy and bready, not at all what I wanted in a pizza. I prefer it to be somewhat on the thin side, crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and blistered all over with tiny bubbles on the surface of the crust. That's how the dough at our local delivery place is, and I love it (but their toppings are never right and I hate their sauce, hence the necessity to make my own). Anyway, a few weeks ago I was googling pizza dough recipes and found PR's Neo-Neapolitan right here at The Fresh Loaf. What a difference that all-day, cold fermentation makes! The crust on my pizzas that night was exactly how I liked it, with full flavor to boot. So now I have a real "new basic" dough recipe. For sauce, I always take a 28 oz can of tomato puree, stir in a little minced garlic (the microplane is great for that), fresh basil, oregano and parsley (or dried if I don't have fresh on hand), a bay leaf, and some freshly-ground black pepper. Bring just to a boil, then lower to low and simmer, covered, for up to 20 minutes or so. This makes plenty of sauce, enough for at least 4-6 13" pizzas. And don't forget to remove the bay leaf. Here's one of the pizzas I made last night:
And here's a close-up of the crust:

I prefer plain cheese pizza, with mozz and parm regg. But my husband likes them loaded. Last night he had a few slices from the one pictured, with cheese, pepperoni, and ham. It was good!

kjknits's picture
kjknits

I think I need to shrink my photos down a little.  I'll do better next time! =)

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

That pizza looks fabulous!  I'm of 2 minds about pizza.  For a light meal or appetizer, I love them lightly topped.  But for a hearty meal, I like plenty of toppings.

 I'll be making my first pizza in many years this weekend, and plan to use this recipe as well.  Since I like very flavorful crust, I'll follow luc's example and refrigerate the dough for a couple of days before use.  

bluezebra's picture
bluezebra

I agree, now that I'm making our own pizza, there is none better here! All the delivery places suck wind in comparison!!! And I'm still a novice, too!

Can you tell me, is your dough recipe the one from Floyd's Pizza Primer? That's the one I used last time, and it was the best crust yet. It was a PR dough.

Thanks!!

zolablue's picture
zolablue

knknits - That is one beautiful pizza pie!  Wow!  I have yet to make a pizza (hate to admit that).  I have planned to use the same recipe for the crust and then I want to try some sourdough pizza crust.  I simply must get off my...ah...the dime and make one or two!  :o) 

 

How hot an oven do you bake these in and for how long?  Do you ever freeze the pizza dough for later use if you have more than you want for one night's meal?

 

Whoops, actually I meant I am planning to use Peter Reinhart's recipe for Pain a l'Anncienne for the crust.  I'm sure I'll have to try several.

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

The photo was big enough to look almost full size. I love it. Yum, that's a beauty. You're right about the best pizza is at home. We used to have several really good pizza houses around to try from but not anymore but who cares...it's still better at home. I have to make one this weekend. I'll try this dough. (Hope it's Floyd's that's listed here).                                                                      weavershouse

Darkstar's picture
Darkstar

That looks entirely too delicious. And just before my lunch and I'll have to settle for Bacci pizza since it's close to me and cheap.

 

Note to self....gotta try making pizza...must try making pizza....going home and starting dough tonight.....mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Susan's picture
Susan

Thanks for the inspiration!

Susan

kjknits's picture
kjknits

Yes, that's the Neo-Neapolitan dough from Floyd's pizza primer.  I was so happy when I found it!  I'd like to try the Pain a l'Ancienne dough for pizza, too, or that Jason's Coccodrillo Ciabatta dough.  Either one, I'm sure, would be great.

To answer the other questions, my oven goes up to 550 F, but I bake pizzas on a preheated stone at just 475.  Otherwise I find that the cheese burns, and that's in spite of baking at the very lowest rack position in the oven.  It usually takes about 11 minutes to bake at that temp in my oven.

I forgot to mention that I mist the outer edge of the crust with olive oil before it goes in the oven.  It makes it nice and brown. 

zolablue, I have used sourdough to make crust before, and it's amazing.  Hope you try it!  I haven't baked any sourdough in about 3 years, because my husband isn't that into it, but I froze my starter in case I wanted to get back into it again.  And I actually thawed it out this morning and have fed it once, so hopefully I'll have some good active starter to use early next week. I'll have to refresh my memory on how to use it, though.  Like I said, it's been a while.

Happy pizza baking! 

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

The Pain a l'Ancienne pizza make a great pizza dough which I kept using for a couple of months. When I bought PR "American Pie" the Neo-Napoletan turned out to be even better. With High Gluten flour the Neo-Napoletan is soo easy to spin .... incredible. The Pain a l'Ancienne dough is still good if I bake some baguette and want to throw in a pizza for good eats. But if I plan to make pizza, Neo-Napoletan is the dough to go !

BROTKUNST

PS Especially for pizza ... have a look at www.superpeel.com .With that peel you can prepare your pizza directly on the counter and transfer it to the blistering hot pizza stone (6-7 minutes and the pizza is done with perfect bottom crust)

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I have that book. I just haven't made anything from it yet. Good to know you like that recipe, Brotkunst. For high gluten flour would you alternatively add first clear flour since I already have it? I'm bound to use that stuff wherever I can. (chuckle)

I have to say I absolutely love my Mario Batali peel. It is a great size and shape and even better, it has a little knob that screws and allows the steel portion to swing around over the handle so it is smaller than a cookie sheet. Easy to store right along side sheet pans, etc.

Link here

leemid's picture
leemid

I have made sourdough pizza with some old recipe, which I don't remember since I have begun to have pleasurable success with bread (obsessed pleasurable success...) that blew the socks off all the other attempts, so I am sold on slow fermentation, etc.

What I lack, and many of you may suggest alternatives, is a sauce recipe I like. Un/fortunately I love the flavor of common old pizza stores, like Papa Murphy's sauce. What I can't figure out is what the spice is that dominates their sauce. Any suggestions how to get that taste? I have tried lots of recipes but they don't taste like pizza is supposed to taste, to me.

Lee

bluezebra's picture
bluezebra

about the sauce is that if you cook your pizzas in a 550+ degree oven, that the sauce doesn't need to be pre-cooked.

I've been experimenting with this lately and it sure does taste what I remember "authentic" tastes like lol!

I don't know what spice you are referring to could you describe it? Is it a licorice or anise flavor by any chance? Or maybe a "bayleaf" flavor?

I take a can of tomatoes (large can) that have been diced. So far Muir Glen have been my favs and I haven't tried San Marzanos yet but I hear they are the best. I let them strain and drain all the fluid off. Then I take my burr blender and blend till almost smooth. Then I add a small clove of crushed garlic, a tsp of basil, a 1/2 tsp of thyme and oregano each, a large pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, a pinch of cracked black pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes and stir it all up. I then put it back in the strainer over a bowl and let it drain some more. I reserve the liquid in case I need to add some back for consistency but so far I haven't needed it. It makes enough for 3 10-14" pizzas. But again, I don't smother it with sauce.

I then spread the raw sauce on the pizza dough and sprinkle with some parmesan (fresh grated onto the pizza) and finish topping. I top fairly sparsely: cubed mozzarella (if using fresh I let this drain overnight in the fridge then blot even more on paper towels before using), fresh basil, olives here or there, a mushroom or two, etc but there are very few toppings on my pizza. Hubby likes his pretty standard, either straight Margharita or a pepperoni, mushroom and breakfast bacon!

I cook mine at 550 on parchment on top of a preheated stone. I preheat for one hour. It takes less than about 5 minutes to cook ours.

It tastes as close the pizza I used to get at Patsy's in Brooklyn years and years ago. That's how I know memories can be fickle cuz no way is my pizza from a novice as good as the old Patsy's Pizza used to be!

Here's a good site to look up. This guy has been on a six plus year pizza quest:

http://jvpizza.sliceny.com/

 

Mangia!

 

sphealey's picture
sphealey

> about the sauce is that if you cook your pizzas in a 550+

> degree oven, that the sauce doesn't need to be pre-cooked.


Personally I would disagree with that. I do sometimes put diced Roma tomatos between the sauce layer and the cheese layer, and they do mostly disappear with 16-20 minutes at 425 (stone preheated at 525). But that is no way the same thing as a reduced tomato sauce whether hommade or commercial - the long reduction of the tomatos into sauce over several hours intensifies the tomato flavour tremendously IMHO.

sPh

bluezebra's picture
bluezebra

These two sites:

http://jvpizza.sliceny.com/

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php

are where I first started reading about this. I'm assuming it has to do with over cooking the sauce.

I tend to agree with you that a cooked tomato intensifies flavor, generally speaking. Just look at oven roasted tomatoes and even sun dried tomatoes. Quite intense flavors comparatively speaking. Also look at marinara made with paste and sauce and simmered for hours or days...but I think what these guys are saying (and I guess I should mention this is for neopolitan style pizzas) that your looking to still taste a certain freshness or rawness in the tomatoes that is reminiscent of fresh sliced tomatoes? I could be wrong here on this.

Certainly chain pizza stores cook their sauce, but I've been to many little Italian trattorias where their sauce tastes pretty similar to the stuff I'm making. I like neopolitan style as well.

Also as a footnote on my thoughts, for me to assume there is only right way and to make only "one kind of sauce" for all the different styles of pizza in all the different geographies of the world would be ludicrous of course, so I won't make that jump or statement! Guess it goes back to different strokes for different folks, you know!

Happy cooking sph! :D

leemid's picture
leemid

nor can I seem to isolate the flavor. Someone told me it was either basil or summer savory, but I haven't had time to do a pizza since then.

Lee

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Oregano, onion, garlic, black pepper, basil, rosemary, sage.  Savory is an asian herb but grows in Italy used in very small amounts.  Sage varies when it's picked.  This year late fall sage was mild (in my garden) and a very pleasent surprise.  Too much hot summer leaves the plant with a camphor taste.  It is often combined with rosemary as the two complement each other. Could be a combo. --Mini Oven

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Could it possibly be fennel?  That's what gives Italian sausage its unique taste.

bluezebra's picture
bluezebra

You could have thyme in there and possibly marjoram or tarragon or even fennel in addition to bay leaf and the other spices you've mentioned. Thyme is a more grassy flavor and marjoram is very flowery tasting. I really don't like it very much unless it's hidden in fines herbs. Tarragon and fennel give an anise or licorice flavor.

leemid's picture
leemid

What I am trying to say, unsuccessfully, is that I don't want it to taste like spagetti sauce, which it does if I add any or much of these other spices, all of which I put in spagetty sauce...

There is a very distinct flavor from one or two spices that I am trying to capture.

Lee

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

also known as pineapple thyme. Or.... there is purple basilicum and there is Fresh sage, tastes more like mixed forrest berries (blue, rasp, black, and sugarplum) when camphor levels are low. And pine nuts? Lemon? Fresh chives.... That did it >>> off to make a salad, meet me in the garden and bring the balsamico. -- Mini Oven

Squid's picture
Squid

Kjknits, that pizza looks incredible!!!! Oh, am I craving pizza now.

I'm another one who's got PR's American Pie cookbook. What a great read, but I haven't made anything out of it yet. You've inspired me to get cracking.

kjknits's picture
kjknits

Squid, it's a delicious crust.  I also recently made this dough after reading about it, although I have yet to post my comments.  Heck, why don't I do that here?  It made a great crust, too.  It was thinner, floppy under the toppings (the kind you fold over) and thin and crisp at the outer edges.  The Neo-Neapolitan formula is slightly more bready, but not by much.  Both are great, the only thing about the one Pizzette posted is it's hard to handle.  It's super slack and wet.  My pizzas were oblong and had funny ears out on some of the edges, like Mickey Mouse almost.  But, they tasted great.

Katie in SC 

Pizzette's picture
Pizzette

 LMAO Katie at the Mickey Mouse pizza! It's a somewhat saggy dough, isn't it :) But good! I'm so glad you liked it.

 The last time I made pizza I tried the Harvest King flour instead of Sir Lancelot. Not nearly as extensible but still a pretty good crust. Seemed a little bit crisper/breadier, not quite as chewy as the KASL. But very good. I did have to shape it almost straight out of the fridge, I took it out about 5-10 minutes before shaping instead of letting it come to room temp. I think it would have gotten waaay too bubbly if I had let it warm up.

It's all good, and yours looks absolutely divine :)

Pizzette

kutzeh's picture
kutzeh

I use a can of crushed tomatoes, spread it on and sprinkle with Italian spices,  and pepper flakes and crushed fresh garlic. Garlic powder if in a hurry. I like the bits of tomato in the crushed then with any oher toppings.