Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pizza Party

Egnatius' Homemade Mozzarella

Two nights ago I made some pizza for a bunch of friends. The pizza seemed to go better than ever before. I didn't get any pictures (I was making pizza for 8 people and trying to juggle the timing). I learned a number of things that I thought I would share.

The last time I made pizza for 8 people (bread baking day), one of the people I was teaching had worked at a pizzeria for a few years in between undergraduate and graduate school. He taught me how to shape pizza dough so that it has fluffy edge of crust. The method he taught me was to make a circle of finger indentations in a circle about 1-1.25 inches from the edge. Then, stretch the interior of the dough by flipping it from one hand to the other. This is the way that the make the lovely Neapolitan pizza at the pizza place near school. It also is the way that Eric seems to make it in this video. I am looking for another video that might have some better footage of the same technique.

While it has taken me a while to manage this technique (and I still have not mastered it), it turned out a lot better this time. This is the only picture I have. I made too much pizza so I refrigerated this one and I unfortunately only got to take it after it came out of the refrigerator. Also, sadly, this pizza does not have the cheese Egnatius made because we ran out of it. A gallon of milk only makes a small amount of cheese.
Pizza with Heirloom Tomatoes
I also modified my sourdough pizza dough slightly (reflected in the current recipe). I had to make two batches. For the first batch I substituted 90g of semolina for the bread flour. The recipe now reflects this because the flavor was so much nicer. I did this once with fancy grind durum as well and it improved the flavor but I only substituted about 50g that time so it was not the entire flavor revelation. But the semolina really changed the texture and the flavor of the dough. The dough was thin and crispy while still soft on the inside of the edges. It was delicious. I also let the dough sit out for longer during the kneading process and only aged it in the refrigerator for about 6 hours.

The second set of dough that I made, I forgot to make the starter beforehand. Instead, I used some fruity-smelling whole wheat starter that passed the float test (226g to replace the starter). I then compensated for the added whole wheat by making the 50g of  whole wheat into bread flour. They were a little heavier, but still delicious.

The party was lovely. Sue and her husband plus Egnatius, another friend from my program, and her sister. The friend from the program brought over a lovely Zinfandel.

I suggest that if you have the chance, try the new version of the pizza dough. It is fantastic. I also used the pizza sauce recipe from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day (p. 70). It was fantastic. Here is a modified version of the recipe (this is the recipe I used):
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28oz)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 cloves pressed garlic
  • 1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
I mixed this and simmered it for about 20-25 minutes.

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