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Friday, February 08, 2008

Pizza and focaccia


Out of respect for Peter Reinhart I'm not posting the recipe in detail, but here's something to go on. I used whole wheat flour for everything, and I think that made an especially tasty crust. You'll need to plan ahead by at least two days.

First, the poolish starter:

4 cups flour
4 cups cool water
1/3 t active dry yeast

Beat until smooth. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 3-5 hours. You can refrigerate this for up to 3 days.

You'll want the poolish to stay in the refrigerator at least overnight before using it for your pizza crust.

3 1/2 cup flour
2 t salt
1/4 t instant yeast
2 T honey
1/2 c olive oil
3/4 cup +1T cool water
1 1/4 cup poolish sponge

Beat until well mixed, 12 minutes in a mixer or 15 by hand. Cover and let rise for 3 hours until bubbly. Refrigerate overnight. If you keep it in the refrigerator overnight plus most of the day, it will be fine.

Cut dough into three pieces, form into balls, cover and let rise for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 550 degrees (or as high as your oven goes). Form your dough balls into crusts. There are different methods; I rolled mine out with a rolling pin and then mushed out the dough on the cooking stones. Dress your pizzas and bake for 10-12 minutes until done.

Check the crust to make sure it is golden brown. If it's not there, but your toppings are, cover with foil and bake a little longer.

If you have pizza or other baking stones you can put the dough directly on the surface with no worries. If you're using aluminum or other pans you'll need to cover some parchment paper with flour and/or cornmeal, form the pizza crust over that, trim the excess paper, and put the whole thing into your pan. Reinhart reccommends this for baking on pizza stone as well, but I found it unnecessary.

As for the focaccia, I made way too much. This makes a bake sale amount of focaccia. Church supper-sized focaccia. I had to give half of it away to a neighbor. I should have known since the recipe calls for 7 cups of flour. SEVEN CUPS! And the real tragedy is that I don't even like focaccia that much.

No, actually, the real tragedy is that when I first pulled it out of the oven I noticed it was just a bit underdone. I cut a piece from the middle and put the rest into the cooling oven while I went to pick up Jasper. My piece was moist and spongy, perfect. The rest came out a little dry, of course. But the rosemary I added gave it a nice flavor.

Reinhart never explains why his recipe makes such a whopper of a cake. Couldn't he have written a smaller recipe for the average, non-church-supper-attending family? Who wants to eat THAT MUCH focaccia, even if it's homemade?

2 comments:

ks said...

Thanks for posting about the pizza crust recipe! Unfortunately, my week-long craving for homemade pizza (which I blame you for) MUST end tonight (or tomorrow at the very latest)! Ack, lacking proper time to make and ferment your poolish, I'll make due with the usual pizza dough recipe (maybe sneaking in a bit of my own sourdough starter for flavor). Having an excuse to make pizza again soon, for the sake of comparison, is not at all a bad thing. My scientist husband will concur. Sorry your mondo-foccacia wasn't more to your liking. I agree with you--it's not my fav. type of bread, either.

We have wild sunchokes growing in our yard. I tend to view them as a nuisance and pull them up in the spring. Those tubers are strongly imbedded, probably for 85+yrs. The plants grow to be about 7' tall, which creates a nice barrier between our yard and the neighbors' (junk)yard. Maybe this year I'll let a few live and try digging them up and roasting them in the fall.

ME said...

Mmmmm. Looking forward to trying the pizza crust recipe! Thanks for posting it.