Michael’s Pizza

September 24, 2016

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A friend sent me a baking steel last year, and I’ve spent months trying to find a piza dough that I like.  I’ve tried them all, and most of them seem too tough to me.

Finally, I hit on this recipe, which begins with a very soft dough that you gradually knead more flour into.  It’s very pliable, and gives you a pleasingly thin crust.  I believe that our pizza tastes depend upon where we grew up – we all want the pizza of our childhood – but this is as close as I can come to the pizza of my dreams.

Anchovy and Caper Pizza for Michael

Dough

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup 00 Italian flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4  cup lukewarm water

3/4 teaspoon active yeast

pinch of sugar

1 teaspoon olive oil

Mix the two flours with the salt. 

Stir the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water, then mix into the flour with your hands, kneading for a few minutes until it’s combined.  It will be soft and sticky. Allow the dough to rest, unmolested, for 1o minutes, then turn it out onto a well floured surface and knead it for about 5 minutes, adding as much flour as you need to make a soft dough.  Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 3 or 4 hours. 

Knead it again for a few minutes, divide into two balls, cover with the cloth again and allow the dough to rise for another hour.  You can now refrigerate it for a few days, freeze it for a couple of months, or use it immediately. (I like it best after it’s been refrigerated for a couple of days.)

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and if you have a baking steel or tiles, put it on the second highest shelf in the oven and allow it to heat for an hour.  (Be very careful when it gets hot; it will be searingly hot, and not remotely touchable, even with oven mitts on.)

Stretch one piece of dough into an 8 inch round; this is the hardest part of the entire process.  Unless you know how to toss the dough into the air, it’s not easy to stretch it. Be patient.

Dust a pizza peel liberally with cornmeal. 

Coarsely mash up about 3/4 cup of canned tomatoes with a fork, then stir in a tablespoon of olive oil. 

Remove 6 – 8 anchovies from the bottle.

Drain a few tablespoons of capers.

Cut 1/3 of a pound or so of mozzarella into small chunks and if it’s wet, drain it on paper towels.

Shred a few leaves of basil.

Grate a small handful of parmesan cheese.

Put the round of pizza dough onto the peel. Spread the tomatoes over the pizza dough.  Decorate the top of the pizza with the anchovies and capers.  Top with mozzarella, scatter the basil about and end with a dusting of parmesan.  Open the oven door and very carefully shake the pizza onto the steel without touching it. (If you’ve never done this before it’s tricky, but you quickly get the hang of it.)

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, depending on how well done you like your pizza. Remove with the peel, and serve it right on the peel.

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