Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Pizzaahhhh

I love pizza. I have no time for the thick spongy based pizzas you see in supermarkets with plastic toppings. I have never had the privilege of eating pizza in Naples but I would dearly love to. Perhaps in the oldest pizzeria in the world Port Alba at 18 Visa Port Alba serving since 1830. Or where the pizza Margharita was born in 1889 for the then princess, Pizzeria Brandi found in the heart of old Naples a few yards from Piazza del Plebiscito on Salita Sant'Anna di Pallazzo. The first decent pizza I had was in New Orleans in the French Quarter and then again in New York thirty years later. I knew these were nothing like Neapolitan Pizza but they were thin crispy hot and delicious. The the hunt was on to replicate this wonderful Italian peasant dish the origins of which, are lost in the mists of time.
I had tried a few times. My bases were never thin enough. A baking tray just didn't do it. Always soggy. I decided to invest in a pizza stone. Just to continue on the authenticity I bought the most wonderful book La Pizza by Nikko Amondonico. At last I managed a dough that was so thin and crispy. The amount gave enough for four pizzas. After the first rise I popped the other three in bags in the freezer ready to just roll out and put on the topping whenever I want. I was so delighted with the results. If you haven't got a pizza stone get one. An excellent investment for perfect pizzas.

The Dough

25gms/10oz fresh yeast (I used 1 tablespoon of dry yeast)
250mls/9 fl.oz lukewarm water
400gms/14oz unbleached strong bread flour
1 tsp salt

Begin by making a yeast liquid.
Dissolve the yeast in 25mls(1&1/2 tablespoons) of the lukewarm water. Add about 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix to a smooth paste. Leave to rise under a cloth for 30 minutes.

Make a crater in the middle of about 350gms/12oz flour.
Pour the yeast mixture salt and the rest of the water in the hole.
Mix the ingredients together and knead for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into four and form into balls.
Leave to rise under a cloth for about two hours or until doubled in size.
Use one ball for one pizza.
Press out and flatten the dough with the palm of your hand into a thin round circle. Use a rolling in to make it really thin.
Finally press with your knuckles about 2cm inside the edge to make the raised edge (cornicone).
The pizza is now ready to be filled

A little tip from Jeanette on my foodie forum is to roll out the dough on baking parchment with polenta on it. Then just slide it onto the pizza stone. Works perfectly.

Filling

The basic tomato base is two tins of tomatoes drained and gently squashed in a colander to get rid of most of the moisture as it makes the pizza base soggy.
To this I added a clove of squished garlic, oregano, shredded basil leaves and black pepper. I made the filling while the dough was rising to let the flavours infuse.
After this it's up to you what you put on it.
I topped with lots of parmesan and mozzarella then drizzled with olive oil before placing on the pizza stone in the oven.

The Oven

It is essential to put the pizza in a hot oven. Approximately 275.C/525.F. is the recommended temperature. The pizza will take 10-12 minutes. This is beyond the reach of most domestic ovens. In this case preheat the oven to it's highest temperature usually 240.C/475.F and increase the baking time by about 5-8 minutes

My oven managed to reach 260.C and as it is a fan assisted that's equivalent to 280.C and the pizza took 8 mins.

I am so glad I have finally conquered Pizza. It may not be official pizzaiola status but it tasted wonderful just the same.














17 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That pizza looks terribly scrumptious! Yummy!

Cheers,

Rosa

Nickki said...

Granny that pizza has me drooling :) It looks so good. I think I will be putting a pizza stone on the top of my christmas list this year (oops, please don't ban me for saying that word!) ;)

Anna said...

Very inspiring Brenda! I think pizza stones will be 'the' gift this year! :-)

Gloria (Canela) said...

I love pizza Granny!! and this look absolutely yummy!!! xxGloria

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you got it right this time! I do what you did, I put the oven to it's highest temp.and it usually takes between 6 and 8 minutes to cook. Yours looks excellent! Jeannette
PS Thanks for the mention!

Tina said...

Wow, Brenda what a lovely looking pizza - your presentation is beautiful and that is your first attempt with the stone.

Both the stone and book are on my wish list now.

Tina xx

Bridgett said...

The thinner the crust the better, I think. I like mine with simple toppings and yours fits in perfectly. Life is so much better with a pizza stone, I agree. Will we see more pizza posts?

Coby said...

Short of owning your own outside pizza oven (popular here in Aus right now) I think you've nailed it Granny:) I agree with you on thin is best, that's the style I prefer, though I have a family who like a thicker crust. Never mind, home-made of any type beats bought I agree:) I hope you get to Naples one day, but in the mean time you look well set!

Linda F said...

Aaaargh, now I know I am going to be haunted by wanting a pizza stone! I love pizza too and make it often, but like you perfect crusts have been elusive! I have some homemade mozarella to adorn a pizza tonight so am going to give your recipe a go -without the stone :(

Elle said...

Congrats on your awards! Your pizza looks fabulous! We love making pizza, and I'm always looking for the perfect crust, so I'll be sure to remember this one!

culinarytravelsofakitchengoddess said...

That pizza looks amazing Brenda. I love a good pizza, the best one I've ever eaten was in a tiny place located in Trastavere Rome, no tourists just locals there.

I have the pizza stone, now I just need the book ... I'm just about to amble over to amazon now :)

xxx

diva@theSugarBar said...

ah. this is how good pizza should look like! dfinitely loving the topping of basil too. :) x

Hillary said...

You sure know how to make a good looking pizza. What are your thoughts on pre made crusts?

JillyB said...

That pizza looks absolutely lovely, Granny. I've been hankering after a pizza stone for ages and feel one may be in order for the summer.

Rhyleysgranny said...

I am very late with my replies.Thank you all for taking the time to visit and comment.

Diva thank you for dropping in. I hope to see you again

Hillary thank you also for dropping in. I have never used pre made crusts for pizza. I think because I expect them to be like the bases supermarkets use for their pizzas. I may be wrong of course.

Kevin said...

That pizza looks good. It sounds like I might have to look for a pizza stone.

Rosie said...

A great looking yummy pizza Granny!! Congrats on your well deserved awards :)

Rosie x