Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pizza Margherita

I thought I would tackle a recipe from Peter Reinhardt’s Crust and Crumb this week. I kept the toppings simple, since I was primarily concerned with the crust. This dough takes 3 days to make, but fear not because there’s about 20 minutes (if that) of active work for you to do; everything else is waiting for dough to rise, or letting your mixer do the work for you, or baking. I’m pretty pleased with the results; when I initially tasted the dough before baking, it had a very sweet (too sweet) characteristic from the honey. However, this was not present in the final pizza.

Poolish (makes enough for 2 batches):
2 cups (9 oz.) Bread Flour
2 cups (16 oz.) Water at 65 – 70 °F
1/8 teaspoon (0.35 grams, if you have a really precise scale) instant yeast

Add all ingredients into a bowl and whisk for 1 minute, until all lumps are removed. Cover with plastic wrap and leave out for 3 to 5 hours, until bubbly. Refrigerate overnight.

Sauce (makes enough for 2 12” pies):
6 oz. tomato paste
6 oz. water
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp fish sauce
¼ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano

Add everything to a bowl and stir. Seriously, that’s it. Refrigerate, covered, until ready for use.

Dough (makes 3 12” pizzas)
10 oz. poolish (freeze extra for future use)
16 oz. (3.5 cups) bread flour
2 teaspoons (0.5 oz) salt
¼ teaspoon (0.03 oz) instant yeast
2 tablespoons (1.5 oz) honey
½ cup (4 ounces) olive oil (any grade)
¾ cup plus 1 tbsp cool water (65 to 70°F)

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook attachment, start the machine on low until a dough forms, then increase the speed to medium and knead for 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 3 to 5 hours (depending on how warm it is in your kitchen) until bubbly. Refrigerate overnight.

Turn the dough out on a floured surface and divide into 3 equal sized portions. Unused portions can be kept in the fridge for 2 days or frozen.


Finished dough

Once you’ve taken the dough out of the fridge and portioned it, let it sit out at room temperature in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450°F.

On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough using a rolling pin (you’ll want to sprinkle some flour on the rolling pin as well), rotating a quarter turn each time to maintain an even circle.  You will probably want to rest the dough for 5 minutes in the middle of this process, so it can relax. Definitely do this if you find the dough snapping back too much. Roll your dough out to a diameter of a little over 12” and place in a cast iron skillet. Fold any overhand over itself to create the crust.

Ladle on about ¾ cup of pizza sauce, and top with slices of mozzarella. Place the skillet on a large burner on the stove, and turn the heat on high. Cook for 3 minutes (this gives the bottom a head start so you get a nice crust going), then transfer to the oven for 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place fresh basil leaves overtop. You should let the pizza cool a few minutes before eating, but if you’re like me you’ll just end up chowing down and burning the roof of your mouth. 
Well, it's almost a circle

My skillet's one hot spot


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