Made at Home

Okay, so you now know I am passionate about pizza, tomato pie, bread, cheese, tomatoes and herbs! I not only travel to find the most amazing pie, but I experiment at home. Now it is difficult to make pizza at home; wait a slightly charred crust that is light, crispy with a fresh tomato tasting sauce and perfectly melted mozzarella, think about it. Most home ovens can only reach the temperature of 500 degrees, so baking a pizza is a bit more of challenge. A pizza oven, whether wood, coal or traditional reach temperatures of up to 800 degrees, makes a big difference. Over time I have researched, tested, failed and retested all in pursuit of making an amazing pizza in my oven, in my kitchen. First for the crust, using a mix of cake flour with all purpose flour makes a light airy crust. Another tip don’t let the dough rise too much, it breaks down the yeast and will make the dough heavy. Cooked or uncooked sauce; that is the question! An uncooked sauce gives the pie a fresher taste, canned tomatoes have already been cooked, however a cooked sauce can be sweeter and intense in flavor. Another tip don’t use a rolling pin, use your hands to stretch the dough, it doesn’t need to be perfectly round and keeps the yeast bubbles intact. So a final tip, cheese first this creates a barrier, that  keeps the dough from getting gummy and helps the dough cook through. So give this a try and let me know if you are as happy with the results as I am! Ciao

Dough

1 tablespoon of active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon EVOO

1 to 1 1/2 cups of warm water

In a large mixing bowl put 1/2 cup warm water, the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let sit until yeast is foamy.

Mix flours and salt together in another bowl

Add 1 cup of flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Add another cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water continue to mix. Add remaining flour, 1/4 cup of water and oil. Begin to mix with hands. Dough should be soft but not wet. Add water if necessary. Knead with palms for about 10 minutes until dough is smooth. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise about 45 minutes in a warm place. Do not let dough over rise! Tip you can preheat oven to 180 degrees turn off and when dough is ready wrap bowl in a towel and place in warm oven.

When dough has risen divide into two portions stretch with hand into a round on a peel.

Sauce

1 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dry oregano (rub through your fingers to release oils)

2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder (optional) 

Remove tomatoes from purée and place in a strainer over bowl and drain while you make the dough. Take strained tomatoes, remove core and seeds place in a bowl and crush with hands. Seeds and core tend to make the sauce bitter. Add purée and season with oregano, salt, pepper, and cheese. If you decide to cook add cheese after the sauce has cooled. Cook for about 15 minutes.

Cheese : about 16 ounces for 2 pies

Mozzarella, of course. You can use fresh but wrap in paper towels to dry. Grate mozzarella and toss with 1/4 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan. 

Assembly

Once you have removed dough from warm oven preheat to 500 degrees. Oven should preheat for about 30 minutes. If you have a stone place on a rack in the lowest position while preheating oven. You can use an inverted baking sheet. Stretch dough into a 12 inch round with slightly raised edges place on a peel or inverted baking sheet covered with cornmeal. Cover dough with half the cheese and then top with sauce. Place in hot oven and cook for about 15 minutes or until outside crust is golden brown. Remove with peel, and place on a wire rack to cool slightly. Drizzle top lightly with EVOO. Repeat with other ball of dough.

  
  Cherry Hill, New Jersey

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