Thursday, January 31, 2013


The sauce sounds strangely plain, but it's not. Try it and you'll know what I mean! I like all of the crust to have sauce so I spread it to the edge.

Pizza Dough
makes: 5 loaves, of 7 oz. each (enough for approximately 4-5 thin crust pizzas)

- 4-1/2 cups unbleached Tipo 00, bread, or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1-2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup olive oil (optional, but I recommend it - it makes the dough supple and lovely)
- 1-2 tsp. salt
- 1-3/4 cups cold water (ice cold, not room temperature)
- Semolina or cornmeal for dusting the pan (I use cornmeal since I always have some)

1. If your yeast is old, it may not be alive - proof the yeast as described in the Notes below to check if it is alive.
2. Stir together the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. If you are proofing the yeast, mix the flour and salt well, then lightly mix in the yeast mixture, then follow the instructions below.
3. Mix oil and water into the flour with a metal spoon or by hand.
4. Knead the dough for 5-8 minutes or until it is smooth, springy, and elastic. Don't over-knead or you'll get a chewy pizza crust later!
5. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl. If it's sticky, add flour by the tablespoon; if it's dry, add water by the tablespoon, until the flour comes together.
6. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, knead gently for barely 30 seconds, and put in a large bowl.
7. Cover the bowl and put in a warm place (not hot) for 1 hr. or until the dough has doubled in size.
8. Deflate the dough and shape into a ball.
9. Coat the dough ball lightly with olive oil and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days, in a large airtight container.
10. Remove the dough from the fridge at least 1 hr. before using (room temperature dough is easier to work with, and prevents over-working the dough).
11. Preheat oven to 450 F/230 C.
12. Sprinkle semolina or cornmeal on baking trays.
13. Divide the dough according to the number of pizzas you want to make.
14. Stretch the dough with floured hands and place in the baking trays. (Rolling pizza dough will overwork the gluten in the dough and make the crust too chewy/a bit leathery.)
15. Lightly shape the stretched dough in the trays to fit as needed.
16. Top with a thin layer of sauce and add toppings of choice. (Don't over do the sauce and toppings - it's a thin crust pizza so don't weigh the crust down)
17. Use good quality toppings. Skimp on quantity not quality.
18. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the edges are browned, cheese is melted, and toppings sizzle.

1. Proofing yeast - even the regular non-Rapid Rise kind - is only done to prove that the yeast is alive before preparing a recipe. Proofing is not imperative in baking if you are confident that your yeast is alive.
2. To proof 1-2 tsp. yeast: heat 1/2 cup water to 80 F/26 C, stir in 1 tsp. sugar, sprinkle yeast on the surface, let it sit for 10 minutes. If it is frothy, your yeast is alive and the whole mixture can be added to the mixed dry ingredients. If the yeast does not react, it is dead and cannot be used for baking.

Pizza Sauce
makes: 28 oz. (enough for approximately 4-5 large thin crust pizzas)

- 1 14-oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes (or use all crushed tomatoes, or buy canned Marzano tomatoes and crush them yourself)
- 3-4 tbsp. olive oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
- salt

1. Mix the tomatoes, oil, and garlic in a pan.
2. Simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Season with salt.

1. This is a typical sauce used for Italian pizza. Unburdened with forced flavourings. Herbs, anchovies, and other things should be added on the pizza, never in the sauce.

Topping Ideas
makes: varies

- Caramelized onions, olives, anchovies
Crisp bacon, Gorgonzola, arugula
- Roasted sliced fennel, Italian sausage, garlic
- Pears, Fontina cheese, walnuts, grated lemon rind (under cheese or mixed in with pears)
- Burrata, tomatoes, pesto Genoese
- Feta, olives, basil
- Roasted sliced mushrooms, sauteed spinach, onions, prosciutto
- Roasted rosemary potatoes, anchovies, olives
- Roasted cauliflower, chevre, chives, truffle oil (drizzled on after baking)

Other Topping Ideas
makes: varies

- Sauces/spreads: Pestos of all kinds, tapenade, roasted garlic and olive oil.
- Cheese: buffalo milk mozzarella, burrata, asiago, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano, fresh or aged goat's/sheep's milk cheese, feta, fontina, ricotta, Romano, or whatever strikes your creative fancy!
- Vegetables: sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced zuchhini, roasted corn, thinly sliced fresh chiles - jalapenos, serranos, or chiles de arbol (the thin Indian ones), roasted potatoes or aubergines, sliced mushrooms, roasted cauliflower, artichokes, roasted fennel, capsicum, fresh or caramelized onions, kalamata (or other) olives, capers, spring onions, sauteed leeks, roasted parsnips.
- Herbs (preferably fresh but dried will do): oregano, basil, parsley, tarragon, chives, ramps.
- Meats: anchovies, shrimp, roasted poultry, cooked ground beef, proscuitto, ham, salami, pepperoni, Italian sausage, Spanish chorizo, smoked sausage.

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