Pizza pizza!

April 23, 2015

Yum. Pizza.

Yum. Pizza.

We’ve been on a pizza kick here at Chez Brockwell of late. Not sure why — it’s just seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

So I whipped up a batch of Mark Bittman’s pizza dough, which is a great gift to modern man, and made this pizza recently. It’s a relatively simple affair — I used pizza saucethis pizza sauce from the grocery, which is right decent. Normally I use part of a jar of my homecanned tomato sauce, but this heavier, richer sauce just felt more like what I wanted this particular evening.

On Child A’s side of the pizza there was cheese. Period. She’s a pizza purist, when it comes to the homemade variety. I used mozzarella and parmigiano. She was happy. On my side, I added Kalamata olives and dry salami from the Kroger deli.

It was pretty excellent.

Some of my pizzas I make on a flatbread crust — I have some caramelized onions in the freezer, and I’m planning a pissaladiere with those one evening this week. (Made the creme fraiche for it yesterday.)  Some I make on the Bittman crust, which is a thinner, cracker-like crust. The flatbread crust you pat out into your pizza shape, about a half-inch thick, and then let it rise and double in size in a heavily oiled pan before you top and bake it. I use the Master Loaf recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day (see post earlier this week, or google it; it’s online). The Bittman crust you make like this:

  • 3 cups a/p flour
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1 cup warm water, plus maybe a little more

I like to make mine in the food processor, because it’s just easy. Put your flour in the bowl of the FoPro; drizzle the olive oil over it, and put the yeast on one side and the salt on the other. Get your cup of water ready. Start the machine, and gradually add your water through the feeder tube in the lid until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides. Pull it out at that point, knead it a bit just in your oiled hands to form a smooth ball, and plunk it into an oiled bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a warm spot to rise.

After much experimentation, I have determined the best rising chamber for my yeast breads to be my microwave. Before you start the final shaping of any bread prior to the rising, put a cup of water in your microwave and turn it on high for two minutes. When you get your dough covered in its bowl, take the water out and stick the dough in the microwave, and go away for an hour or so.

When the dough’s doubled in size, punch it down and divide it. It’ll make two 11 x 13 pizzas. You can either use it right then, or refrigerate it (I find a quart plastic container works to hold one pizza’s worth) for up to a week.

When you’re ready to use it, take one portion of the dough and plop it onto a floured pastry sheet (I use a sheet of parchment paper). Shape it to roughly the shape of your pan, and roll it thin. Transfer it to the pan (if you use parchment paper you can transfer paper and all, which is why I do it), and top as you wish, then into a screaming hot oven, as hot as yours will go. (I think mine hits about 500, maybe, on a good day.) It’ll only take 10 minutes or so to bake, and the crust is gloriously crispy and cracker-like.

I love ’em both. The flatbread pizza is a heavier pizza, with its breadier texture and heft, and can stand up to heavier toppings (Chicago deep-dish, anyone?), while the Bittman crust wants a more minimalist treatment — maybe not any tomato sauce at all, just olive oil and some fresh veggies and some Parmigiano.  Look at it like this — one of them’s lunch, and the other is dinner. Except I’m perfectly happy for either of them at either time.

And I think you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em will be, too.

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