Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Brick oven pizza at home

I have been making homemeade pizza once a week for quite awhile now. I am always trying different recipes for the dough because I have never been completely satisfied with my results. I have tried deep dish, on a pizza pan, on the oven rack, grilled and on a pizza stone. About a month ago, I found a recipe for brick oven pizza at home on the king arthur flour website. I haven't tried another recipe since. I'm afraid my pictures haven't done the pizza justice. This recipe makes a crust that is akin to ciabatta bread. It is crispy on the outside and chewy and dense with big air bubbles on the inside. It holds up well to any topping and is very hearty. The dough is easy to make but takes some planning. The "poolish" or starter takes overnight or all day to rest. I usually make my poolish first thing in the morning and then start the other steps a few hours before dinner. It does take time, but it is so worth it!

We did two different toppings last night of course. One was a basic cheese pizza with fresh mozzarella cheese. It was so ooey gooey that it was sliding off the pizza. The second was a caramelized onions and fresh basil pizza. No matter what type of toppings you choose, you've gotta try this crust, it is soooooooo good!

Brick Oven Pizza
(from the King Arthur Flour website)

The overnight starter gives this pizza an unbeatable chewy/crispy crust.

Poolish (Starter)

1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

3/4 cup water
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Pizza Dough Flavor (optional, but delicious)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil

tomato sauce, meats and/or vegetables, and cheeses of your choice

Poolish: In a mixing bowl or the pan of your bread machine, stir together the flour, water and yeast. Set aside, covered, to rest overnight or all day.

Dough: Add the flour and water to the poolish, mix well, and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Add the remaining dough ingredients, mixing and kneading to form a smooth dough. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 45 minutes; gently fold the edges to the middle, turn it over, and let it rise an additional 45 minutes.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a 9-inch round, place on a piece of parchment cut to fit, cover, and let rest while you heat your oven to 500°F.

After about 30 minutes, use a giant spatula or pizza peel to transfer the pizza to your hot oven stone; or place it on a pan on the lowest rack of your oven. Bake for 4 minutes, then remove from the oven, and top with your favorite toppings. Return the pizzas to the lowest rack of the oven (not to the stone), and bake for an additional 8 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbly. Yield: 2 pizzas.

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