How to make delicious pizza at home without a specialist oven

Can you make delicious pizza at home without a pizza oven?

Joe, Preston, Lancashire

Yes, but it's more a question of which style of pizza you like best. “The biggest thing is the temperature of the oven,” says Rich Baker, co-owner of Flat Earth Pizzas in east London, “because home ovens don't get hot enough to achieve what a pizzeria does.” Joe might, he suggests, taste better with grandma's pizza, which cooks in a greased baking sheet for about 15 minutes — "It's ideal for the oven," he says. But if you're craving a Neapolitan floppy or crisper, New York-style slices, make them in a hot cast iron skillet, then, once they have some color on the base, pop them under the high grill until bubbling. "That's the method I use if I don't have access to a pizza oven," says Nick Buckland, co-owner of Yard Sale Pizza in London, which is opening its tenth site in Tottenham next month. a basic dough recipe, which happily calls for very few ingredients -- flour, water, yeast, salt -- though, adds Baker, you can also throw in sugar, honey, or olive oil "to brown it even more." On the flour side, Joshua Ward, co-founder of Palm's Pizzeria in Margate, uses 00 for New York-style slices: “You want a fairly high protein content, because it helps build the structure of the dough, meaning it won't tear when you handle it”; You can also use plain white flour, a mix of the two, or even add a little rye. Buckland also uses 00 with "at least 13g protein" and, for three 12-inch pizzas, mix 500g with 270ml water, and 1g fresh yeast (or ½g active dry yeast in a little warm water). He then added another 30ml of water, followed by 15g of salt and 15g of extra virgin olive oil, and stirred for about 10 minutes, until it formed a smooth and elastic dough. “Fold into a ball, put in a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave overnight” at about 18C : “That's the perfect point between letting the yeast work, but without going too fast.”

Once it had doubled in size, Buckland divided the dough into thirds of approximately 260g, formed them into tight balls, placed them on a tray and let them rest for a few more hours until they had doubled in size again. And that's the thing: good dough takes time: "The longer it is left to cook, the better it will turn out," he says. (If you want grandma's pizza, she adjusts the dough slightly: "The basic recipe is about 60% hydration [water-flour ratio], but for a traybake pizza, you want to push it up to 80-90%. That way the pizza will stick out." keep it fluffy and you'll get those all-important bubbles.”)

Into the stretch, which Buckland does on a flat, cool surface sprinkled with semolina (for added texture). "Push the center of the dough ball with your fingertips and work your way up to the edges, leaving a 2cm border." If you feel confident, lift up and "gently open behind your knuckles - let gravity do most of the work."

Toppings are very personal, but the sauce, says Buckland, calls for canned tomatoes with "high tomato content and less juice," plus basil and salt, while Baker might get creative with butternut squash or caramelized onion numbers. "Work the sauce from the center with the back of a spoon in a circular motion," leaving "two fingers' worth" of dough exposed around the edges, says Ward.

You can, of course, ditch the red sauce altogether; Nancy Silverton, in her The Mozza Cookbook, spreads heavy whipped cream (yes, really) over the base, then adds cooked fennel sausage, shallots and chives, and mozzarella. Or, garnish your pizza after cooking: "Curled meats work well, as do hot honey or fresh onions," says Tommy Tullis, co-founder of Nole in Salisbury. And here less is more: "Don't indulge yourself," adds Tullis, "but pizza works best when it uses fewer but better quality ingredients."

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post