Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The best pizza yet

As with all meals in our Stockholm kitchen, even my pizza recipe, which I've been editing for years, magically became perfect. In the past my pizzas have been tasty, but they always turn limp when you pick them up.

This one that we made on Sunday, however, was ridiculous. It was so crusty and when you took a bite, you heard a crunch. It had a chewy texture also. I would have paid a lot of money to eat that outside somewhere, that's how good it was. I felt thoroughly satisfied. Especially because you're not ingesting just plain white flour -- this has substance, fiber, extra nutrients, and is filled with wholesome veggies.

I love pizzas for brunch and it's so convenient to prepare the dough in the morning, then eat porridge and after 2 1/2 hours, devour the whole pie with coffee or tea (and something sweet at the end, of course). But this one can serve 2, if you want to share.

3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup spelt flour (or whole wheat flour)
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp honey
2/3 cup warm water
1 tbs olive oil

Warm water - test with your finger - if you can't keep your finger in the water because it's too hot, it will murder the yeast. If it's too cool, the yeast won't bloom. You want it above luke warm.

In a large bowl, add about 1/2 cup warm water (leave the remaining for kneading), yeast and honey and stir. Leave for 2 - 5 minutes, until you see bubbles or foam. Then add the flours, salt, olive oil. Look at the time, you should knead for 8 - 10 minutes. This is a sticky dough, and you're adding water to help your hands stick less. The more moist the dough is, the better result for your pizza. There really is a transformation at the end of your 10 minutes - it will be a little less sticky; when you poke it with a finger, it will spring back, and it will be a little smooth and able to form a mass.

Grease the bowl with a drop of olive oil and coat the dough with it too. Put a towel over the bowl and leave in a warm corner for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

After 2 hours, you will see that it truly does double. Gently lift the sides of the dough enough to deflate it. Let rest for another 20 - 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting for 30 minutes, prepare your toppings and sauce. I love to use thin half moon onion rings, thinly sliced mushrooms, and baby spinach. If I'm using fresh mozzarella, I dry it with a towel so that it doesn't sogg up my pizza. I always have pizza sauce in my freezer because it's so convenient. Fresh basil always takes it to another level.

Pizza Sauce
1 400g organic whole plum tomatoes (preferably Italian)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, grated or chopped finely
1/8 - 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
A pinch of sugar if your tomatoes aren't already sweet

In a heavy-bottom pan, warm to medium-low heat, add olive oil and onion and a pinch of sea salt. Stir and cook 1 - 2 minutes until translucent. Then add garlic, chili flakes, oregano and cook for a minute. Then add all of the tomato and its sauce and some sea salt. Simmer on low for 15 - 25 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up the lumps of tomatoes with your wooden spoon. You want it to be thick and not at all watery. The longer you cook it, the more concentrated the tomato flavor. At the end, you can add sugar if it needs it, and fresh basil. After it has cooled, you can freeze it for the next time you make pizza. This amount makes enough for 3 pizzas.

Preheat your oven to 450F or 220C 5-10 minutes before you start shaping the dough.

After 30 minutes, shape the dough with your hands (if you use a rolling pin, you won't get big pockets of air creating camel humps but I like that effect so I don't use a rolling pin). Place parchment paper on your cookie sheet and sprinkle well with corn meal or semolina (this makes it crunchy and absorbs extra moisture). Arrange your pizza on the corn meal. Bake 5-6 minutes until slightly golden.

I pre-bake the pizza to ensure pure crunchyness because I like a lot of pizza sauce on my pizza and that usually makes it soggy, but not if you pre-bake.

After it's baked, add a nice layer of pizza sauce, then arrange the onions systematically, then the mushrooms, then plop on almost 2 cups of baby spinach. (You will think it's a lot of spinach but it cooks down to nothing.) And basil if you have it. Then add the sliced or grated mozzarella.

Bake the pizza for another 5 - 6 minutes, this time raising the heat a little more - 475F or 240C. Cook until you see blisters of golden brown on your cheese.

Even though it's terribly hard, let it sit for 5 minutes before cutting into it so that the cheese doesn't escape the pizza in one bite. Grate parmesan cheese all over the pizza as soon as it comes out of the oven. Some people add olive oil at this stage. I don't think it's necessary, unless you need extra skin refinement therapy.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...