Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pizza at your fingertips!

What you will need...

Pastry flour, yeast, water, salt, olive oil, pizza stone(optional), pizza slip(optional), If not using a pizza stone and slip a cookie sheet will suffice

toppings: fresh mozzarella, basil, San Marzano tomato puree or whatever you like

1 Tbsp yeast
2 Cups very warm water
Let activate for 5 minutes

Add 1 Tbsp salt
Turn on your mixer and slowly add about 4 cups pastry flour or "00" (as defined by the Italians) flour you can get at your local Italian market. It's the most finely ground flour you can get and can be expensive. You can grind it yourself though if you have your own grinder like I do, but then you get whole wheat pizza and you might not want it. If you use regular flour, your dough will not be soft and squishy after it's baked. It will be hard so you should just get the good stuff. Add more or less flour until you reach the desired consistency.

Okay, so then when your dough looks like it's coming together slightly in your bowl,not to runny, but not in a solid looking ball, let it mix for about 20 minutes on the lowest setting on your mixer. The dough should still be somewhat sticky to the touch, but not runny.

Put your pizza stone in the oven and turn it on at the highest setting, usually 550 degrees.

Take it out of the bowl and pour it onto a well floured surface and sprinkle with flour. You are going to be making the ball of dough which is an art in itself and key to making sure the dough doesn't get holes in it when you stretch it out. Start dividing the dough into pieces that are about as big as a clementine, or as big as a tennis ball for a larger pizza. Add just enough flour so your hands don't stick to the dough. The trick is to add as little flour as you can get away with. Start rolling the dough on the sides into the middle and then squeeze it together while you're stuffing it through your thumb and first finger(making a circle) and pinch it off to form a perfect ball with no creases. Put it on a cookie sheet with flour sprinkled on top and make as many as you can.

You may freeze the dough at this point and use some of it at a later date. This recipe makes about 10 personal pizzas.

You don't need to let the dough rise and you may use it right away if you want to. I make all the balls first and so they rise a little bit before I use them.

When you are ready roll it out, you take the dough, use the pads of your fingers to flatten it as much as you can and then start pulling at the edges and try any technique you want to stretch it out without creating a hole. You can look this up online and get better instructions than I can detail.

When your dough is pulled out to the desired size, put your pizza on a lightly floured surface or right on the pizza peel that you use to slide it onto your stone. I like to sprinkle the peel with coarse cornmeal for an easy transfer. QUICKLY add toppings to your pizza. We usually only use...

Coarsely pureed San Marzano tomatoes (Can get a giant can at Costco and freeze in individual packs for later use)
Fresh Mozzarella in chunks
Fresh Basil or pureed basil with olive oil (for winter months when basil is expensive)
Salt and a little olive oil drizzle at the end if desired

Right when you are done putting the toppings on, transfer the pizza to your pizza stone by gently shaking it to get it to glide off the peel onto the stone. If it sticks, don't shake it hard because if your toppings fall off onto the stone they will burn and set of the fire alarm. If your pizza gets a hole in it, it's ruined, so make it into a calzone or pizza roll. Also, don't load up your pizza too much. The toppings aren't finished cooking by the time the crust is done and it is really hard to slide off the slip.

Bake your pizza for about 5 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown. Your pizzas will cook better if you let the stone warm back up in between pizzas or get two stones like I have and alternate.

Take your pizza out, cut it on a DIFFERENT cutting board, not the slip, and enjoy!

Other yummy pizzas I have created are...

Goat cheese, prosciutto, and pear
Olive oil, salt, and herbs
Roasted pepper puree with roasted vegetables and green chile


Tracie said...

Looks yummy! Do you just puree canned tomatos, with no spices, salt, or anything for the sauce?

Amelia Hohl said...

Yes, no spices other than basil(which I use a ton of) but I do put salt all over the top after all the toppings are added. I should have said that, but it's really a matter of taste. Personally, I'm a salt person. The San Marzano tomatoes you can get at Costco are grown on the side of Mount Vesuvius, the volcano, and have a particular flavor that you don't want to ruin with other additions. It's fabulous on it's own.

Sarah said...

So my mom sent us a graduation gift and I opened it up to find your wheat grinder! I'm so excited. So what kind of wheat do you use? I need to get started using it...