Sunday, May 10, 2009
Eastern Parkway Pizza
Saturday evening pizza, prep time is overnight, but actual pizza to mouth time is about 20 minutes. Feeds several happy and hungry friends.
My brownstone-mates and I get together and eat. It's the best thing ever and I am happy to have a living community that likes each other/eats together.
Yesterday was impromptu, but I had started a 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 white flour cold fermentation pizza dough recipe on Friday night (since I had purchase flour and yeast the at the local Fine Fare, the place where everyone calls you "baby" or "mama"). I riffed a bit off of Heidi Swanson's post of Peter Rhinehart's cold fermentation pizza dough recipe. She did a white and a whole wheat one. But I didn't have "white whole wheat" King Arthur flour as she used, so I went halvies and added a wee bit more liquid. And we played around with the toppings, and the 4 of us ate four pizzas (and later and great dessert. food coma). Reading 101 cookbooks introduced me to the joys of home pizza baking, especially the hardcore and amazing Jeff Varasano, who broke the self-cleaning lock on his home oven to get it at 800degrees. Our oven goes relatively comfortably up to about 525 degrees (F), and that turns out pretty great pizzas in about 10-12 minutes (as opposed to 90 seconds). Evidently, any home pizza baker worth their salt uses a stone, which we don't have. I've read that an untreated ceramic floor tile works as well. Some people keep them in their oven even when not baking pizzas as way to ensure more even heat distribution.
"Crown Heights Hipster* Hovel Pizza"
*(I'm not the hipster, the artists and young people I live with are).
2 1/2 c. Whole Wheat flour (chilled)
2 c. white all purpose flour (chilled)
1/4 c. olive oil
1 3/4 c. COLD water
1 teaspoon of instant dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp. of salt
more oil and flour for dusting, etc.
cornmeal for lining pan
Mix the dry ingredients. Then add the water and oil slowly, stirring to incorporate. When it gets to hard, roll up those sleeves and knead and punch and slush together for about 5-6 minutes (having a mixer with a dough hook can simply this step, but oh well). When you are done, it should still be a shaggy and wet ball, just barely clearing the bowl. Next, divide up in to 6 approximately equal balls (or 4 if you like a bigger pizza or thick crust), cover in olive oil, place in individual baggies, and stick in one large ziplock. Refridgerate at least over night, but 2 nights is even better.
Take out the dough about 2 hours before eating pizza. Take out of baggies, place on an oiled cookie sheet and cover with a damp towel (not paper towels, a mistake I only made once). Place in a warm place until read to use.
Preheat over to as high as comfortable. Prepare toppings (we used very little canned marinara sauce, sauteed garlic and mushrooms, fresh basil, fresh mozzerella and pecorino, and roma tomatoes. Less is probably more). When ready, pul apart the dough to desired thickness (it pulls quite thin and don't worry if it tears a little, you can fill it back in). It doens't have to be pretty or symmetrical, it will still taste good. If you can, preheat the pan/stone while prepping ingredients, sprinkle cornmeal on top, and place the stretched out dough onto the pan. Quickly place toppings and stick in the oven, about 10-12 minutes.
Take out, cut up, and eat (not to fast, as its hot).
This dough is crispy outside, soft on the inside, with a great texture from the half whole wheat/half white flour mixture. At high temperatures, the crust cooks as the cheese caramelizes and it looks great (doesn't last long with four hungry hippos, though).