Friday, November 14, 2008

Pizza Pizza Pizza

After years of trying out every pizza dough recipe I could get my hands on I feel like I have finally found the one that works best for me. It's a thin, crunchy, crust pizza that originated in the kitchen of Alice Waters. The recipe below, however, is from two of my other favorite chefs, Rose Grey and Ruth Rodgers, who have slightly adapted Alice's recipe. It's a winner, as far as I'm concerned, and with a pedigree like this how can you go wrong?!

Fill a heavy duty mixing bowl with hot water; pour out water and dry.

Add 4 teaspoon active dry yeast and 1/2 cup warm water (100-110 F) into the warm bowl; stir to dissolve. Stir in 1 cup rye flour to make a stiff dough.

Cover and leave in a warm place until puffy, about an hour.

Add 1 cup warm water, 2 T Milk, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 11/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour to the yeast mixture. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with a paddle, and mix into a soft dough. Change to the dough hook, and knead for 10-15 minutes. The dough will be quite wet and sticky (this texture will make a crisper crust).

Place the dough in a bowl greased with olive oil, and turn to grease top. Cover and leave rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Knock the dough back, and knead a couple of times then return to the bowl and let it rise until almost doubled, about 40 minutes.

Preheat the over to 450 F, and have ready a large flat baking stone.

When the dough is ready, divide into six pieces.and individually form into balls. Roll out each ball on a floured surface with quick light motions as thinly as possible. A dough should roll out to make a 10" pizza base.

Toppings

My favorite new pizza topping is Smoked Gouda (about a cup shredded) sprinkled on the pizza dough and baked until the dough is crisp and brown and the cheese is bubbling and nicely melted. The minute you take it out of the oven cover it with at least 2 cups of sorrel that has been lightly tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper.

In a similar vein I also like to melt Ribiollo cheese and instead of sorrel and then use arugula that's been lightly dressed with lemon juice olive oil and salt and pepper.

My last "classic" at home pizza is made with a ton of caramelized onions - 3 or 4 large ones that have been cooked soft and golden in olive oil in a frying pan. Cover the pizza crust with the onions, roughly chop a handful of pitted Kalamata olives, spread them over the onions, julienne a half of a roasted red pepper and add that on and then if you like add anchovy fillets (the more the better as far as I'm concerned) and top it all off with about 6-9 ounces of fresh goat cheese.
When it is cooked sprinkle the entire pizza with a handful of fresh thyme.

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