1 June 2018
Recipe from Cook's Illustrated, March 2018.
Who doesn't like pizza? (I didn't until I was in my late 20's, but that's not a story for this post.) I have made it a few times from scratch and enjoyed it. So I was interested when a recent edition of Cook's Illustrated magazine featured a recipe that was advertised to take just one hour. To develop flavor the dough usually rests overnight after it is made. While I didn't believe I would finish in an hour, especially the first time, I wanted to give this recipe a try.
The recipe makes two 11-inch pizzas. Since this would be way more than we would need to have as dinner for two, I made just one pizza at a time. The recipe requires just one unusual ingredient, semolina flour, but it was easily obtained in the bulk section of the supermarket. To make the dough, bread flour, semolina, yeast, and sugar were combined in a food processor. Then the liquids were added with the processor running: water, lager, vinegar, and oil. Finally, after a 10-minute rest, salt was added and processed. The dough was then kneaded briefly by hand to form a ball. The ball was divided into two and one was put into the refrigerator for another day. The remaining dough was rolled into an 11-inch circle and set aside to rise for about 30 minutes.
The sauce was very simple: canned whole tomatoes, olive oil, anchovy (I substituted ½ tablespoon anchovy paste for three fillets), salt, dried oregano, sugar, and black pepper were combined in the food processor. I omitted the red pepper flakes.
After the dough had risen ½-cup of the sauce was added. This was followed with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella. The pizza was baked in a pre-heated 500° oven on a backing stone that was covered with parchment (added just before the pizza) for about 10 minutes. Total time for one-hour pizza: 1½-hours.
The reserved dough was used a few days later. It was removed from the refrigerator and let to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, while the oven was heated. Then, as on the first day, it was rolled out, set aside to rise, covered with sauce and cheeses, then baked.
The resulting pizza was very good! It had good flavor and texture. The crust was not thin and crispy like a cracker and not thick and doughy, it was just about the right thickness. It was a nice simple pizza that I would make again. The second pizza was just as good as the first one. An inverted rimmed baking sheet was used in lieu of a pizza peel to put the pizza into the oven. This would not work to remove it so I put on oven mitts and took out the pizza and the stone and just slid the pizza off onto a cooling rack. We got two meals from each pizza and the leftovers were good, too. One change I would make would be to make the sauce before making the dough. It would be easier to clean out of the food processor than the dough was.
Now, what about toppings?