So as an Italian learning to fend off for herself in a country where carbs are a national enemy, where there is no bakeries to speak of, where pizza has the same name as the Italian version but no other common trait, and where artisan bread is a luxury I have to learn to bake bread, pizza and focaccia. And I have to do it reasonably well, if it’s not better than the stuff you can buy, why bothering? Luckily the stuff you buy around here is usually not that good (at least for the price you pay), so my life is a bit easier.
However, just so that things don’t get too easy, I don’t have a stand mixer and I refuse to buy books, measure or buy special flours, part of the reason is that I want the whole process to be simple enough that it is no hassle to bake whatever I want to bake, and part is that I am impatient and have a limited amount of space and money for supplies and mixers….
Ad of course one of the things I really need to bake is pizza. I have been experimenting for quite some time now, but only recently I had the occasion of seeing someone making really good pizza at home and to see how he made the dough. So I set out to imitate his dough and to try to achieve the same dough consistency. And sure enough my pizza rapidly improved and now turns out super thin, but rises a bit during baking especially on the corners. Goood pizza! So here is how I did my pizza today: the best one I baked so far.
And being pizza one of the quintessential Italian dishes I chose to post this recipe on Manu’s Menu 150 of the Unification of Italy event.
- 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 and 3/4 cups water
- First I took 2 cups of all purpose unbleached flour, added 1 table spoon of dry yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar, a couple of spoons of oil and a cup of warm water. I mixed everything and added more water, about another cup. You get a very soft and very sticky dough, basically a mess.
- Now here is how I proceeded to transform the mess into a soft elastic dough that was subsequently transformed in awesome pizza. I dusted my counter and my hands with some flour and transfered the mess onto the flour and then I started kneading the dough. Only what I did was more form a ball and roll it out in a sort of "karate kid wax on wax off" movement, over and over again, occasionally dusting the counter and my hands with flour to prevent the dough from sticking too much and occasionally beating the dough on the counter. After about half an hour it is going to be an elastic, soft and airy ball that doesn't stick anymore.
- At this point I placed the dough in a bowl greased with oil, covered with plastic wrap and let it rest for a couple of hours until the dough has risen. At this point turn on your oven at 550F and, if you have one, place a pizza stone in the oven. While the oven is warming up, form the dough into a pizza and season it however you prefer. When the oven is warm, place your pizza on the pizza stone and bake for 10-15 min until the crust is golden brown and crusty.
- Enjoy, It is going to be awesome!
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