Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Renovate Brooklyn: Pizza-Pizza!

John and I have discovered a new pizza dough recipe, and IT IS AWESOME. Now, we've made this recipe two ways: in the oven and on the grill, and I'm sad to say to all of you NYC dwellers that "on the grill" is so far superior to "in the oven", it breaks my heart. 

These are NOT my man-hands! 
That said- it is still well worth doing in the oven, so don't throw in the towel just yet. 

According to Mr. Jamie Oliver, chef extraordinaire, this recipe can be made the-day-of, however I made so much of this pizza dough that we ended up eating pizzas three nights in a row (Quelle horreur, ma mère!), and by the second and third nights, the dough was noticeably better than the first night. Maybe we can just chalk all that pizza-eating up to "research"?

Here's the scoop: 
(My additions/changes to the recipe will be written in red font!)

This is a fantastic, reliable, everyday pizza dough, which can also be used to make bread. It's best made with Italian Tipo "00" flour, which is finer ground than normal flour, and it will give your dough an incredible super-smooth texture. Look for it in Italian markets and good supermarkets. If using white bread flour instead, make sure it's a strong one that's high in gluten, as this will transform into a lovely, elastic dough, which is what you want. Mix in some semolina flour for a bit of color and flavor if you like. 
*I actually found Tipo "00" flour at my local grocery store, so don't rule it out. I'm not sure what the difference is between that and Bread Flour, but I wouldn't know a high-gluten flour if it knocked on my door. I also added the semolina flour, since it was just sittin' right next to the Tipo "00" Flour in my grocery store. 

  • 7 cups strong white bread flour or Tipo "00" flour or 5 cups strong white bread flour or Tipo "00" flour, plus 2 cups finely ground semolina flour
  • 1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
Sift the flours and salt onto a clean work surface and make a well in the middle. In a large measuring cup, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. 
*If you follow Jamie's recommendation for this previous step, you will discover in short order that water, yeast, sugar, and olive oil will start to spill all over your kitchen counter like the breaking of a dam. I don't know if there is a better way to do this, but I would guess pouring a small amount into the "well", mixing it in, then making another "well" and pouring in more liquid would help. Or just roll with it, and then let the dog lick all of the excess liquid off the floor, which is what we did. 
Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. Keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead until you have a smooth, springy dough.
Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.
Now remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands - this is called punching down the dough. You can either use it immediately, or keep it, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the fridge (or freezer) until required. If using straightaway, divide the dough up into as many little balls as you want to make pizzas - this amount of dough is enough to make about six to eight medium pizzas.
*You've really got to roll this stuff out thoroughly, or it will rise up to the size of a football in the oven. I know the pros only use their hands, but this is an amateur operation so you should feel free to use a rolling pin and wine bottle to get it nice and flat. That said, we still only managed to get three biggish pizza crusts out of this recipe. 
Timing-wise, it's a good idea to roll the pizzas out about 15 to 20 minutes before you want to cook them. Don't roll them out and leave them hanging around for a few hours, though - if you are working in advance like this it's better to leave your dough, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. However, if you want to get them rolled out so there's 1 less thing to do when your guests are round, simply roll the dough out into rough circles, about 1/4-inch thick, and place them on slightly larger pieces of olive-oil-rubbed and flour-dusted aluminum foil. You can then stack the pizzas, cover them with plastic wrap, and pop them into the refrigerator.

Now The Fun Part! The Toppings!

We topped our pizzas with truffle oil, arugula, and fresh prosciutto and mozzarella (from my terrific Italian deli in Brooklyn.) Holy buckets! Delicious! I'm pretty sure you could put pretty much anything on this dough and you'd be in business. A little tomato sauce and mozzarella, or a little mozzarella and bresaola (that's like the cow equivalent of prosciutto)... Hard to go wrong. 
*For some crazy reason- this recipe didn't include cooking directions- but we've added our own below: 
For the oven: We pre-heated the oven to 450 degrees, and then cooked the dough without ingredients for about five or six minutes until it started to firm up, and then added the cheese. Then back into the oven until the cheese melted, and then we drizzled the truffle oil, laid out the prosciutto, and then sprinkled the arugula on top. 
For the grill: Pre-heat the grill to 450 degrees. Before you put it on the grill, drizzle a little olive oil onto both sides of the dough so it won't stick to the grill rack, and then lay the dough out flat, directly onto the rack. Once the dough is in, turn the heat down to medium-low, so you don't burn the underside of the crust, and close the hood. Once it's pretty much cooked, you can lay on the cheese, close the grill again until the cheese melts (about 5-8 minutes), and you're all set. 
**As a rule of thumb, if you can eat the meat without cooking it, it shouldn't go onto the pizza until after it is cooked. (Sausage: Cook, Prosciutto or Bresaola: Don't Cook.)  

You can also find the recipe online here. 

1 comment:

  1. Cool and lovely posting of pizza. i loved pizza and great ideas . that's good look watering in my mouth hehehe