This weekend marked one of my most successful pizza experiments to date. I made a batch of dough with 21 oz of all purpose Gold Medal flour, 14.3 oz cold tap water, less than 0.5 oz dry yeast and 0.5 oz sea salt. This is less yeast than I usually use and I added the salt between mixing and kneading instead of before mixing. I also gave the dough a 1 hour autolyse before mixing. During this phase (which usually takes 20-30 min but I ran out to run an errand and left it longer – oops) allows the flour to become hydrated and requires less kneading as a result. Next I separated the dough into four 9 oz balls and stuck ‘em in the fridge for over 4 days.
Part of the experiment was to make dough that lasted longer than two days before blowing up and getting too alcoholic. On the morning of the baking session, I took two of the doughs out and let them sit at room temperature (around 74 F) for about 10 hours. They poofed up a bit, but not as much as usual. The doughs on the left had 10 hours at room temperature, the doughs on the right only had about two hours to rise. Just look at those bubbles!
Now for the ACTION –
The first pie I made was pretty standard, but my buddy Bryan brought over some tiny cherry tomatoes so we did fresh mozzarella, crushed California tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and olive oil. Bake time was about 7 minutes total (we added the cherry tomatoes half way through) and surface temperature of the baking surface was about 625 F at the start of the bake. Here’s the result:
The next pie helped me respond to a challenge posed by my friend Cat, who wanted to see comte cheese used on a pizza. NO PROBLEM! Comte is the perfect base for a pizza with thin potato slices soaked in rosemary-infused olive oil. I tossed on some sea salt at the very end and it was mighty tasty but a bit on the oily side. Check out the before and after.
For some reason, I sauteed a bunch of onions while waiting for the oven to heat up so we used them on the final pie. Potatoes were already soaking in olive oil, so we tossed them on there as well. Add that to the remaining bits of mozzarella and you’ve got the most tasty pie of the night. I must give major props to Choice Greene, my local provisions shop, for their excellent fresh mozzarella. I was able to snag a small chunk for about $4 and it covered two pies. This one got some freshly ground black pepper after it exited the oven and it really hit the spot.
I’m going to add more yeast to the dough next time and I’m not so sure about saving the salt until after the mix because it resulted in a very sticky dough that was harder to work with than my usual dough. Regardless, this was a massively successful pizza night and I’m looking forward to making some more dough tomorrow!