Ncaa Basketball Tonight And That Means... Pizza! - Brando Cucina Blog at - 299604

Brando Cucina

NCAA Basketball tonight and that means... pizza! 
Mar. 21, 2013 4:26 pm 
Updated: Mar. 22, 2013 9:02 am
I'd rather be watchin' then cookin' tonight so I figured this is a great night for pizza. Cal (wife's alma mater) is playing UNLV and so you can bet we'll be glued to the TV. Kind of an iffy season for Cal. Didn't do well in the beginning, then it seemed they couldn't lose... except for the last two games of the season that they should have won but didn't. So now they back into the tournament as a #12 seed.  Well whatever happens, I think the pizza will be good :)

I made the dough this morning. By rights I should have made it yesterday and allowed it to sit overnight in the fridge, but it has a good 2 hours of bulk fermentation along with 5 hours in the fridge so it should be fine.

For my pizza dough I use '00' Tipo flour. I used to use Caputo from Naples until I discovered Giusto's from South San Francisco which is pretty darn good. In any case, I do believe my fellow Italians that '00' flour is the best for pizza rather than AP. Also the hydration level I use for pizza dough is 65% while I typically use 75% for bread. The lower hydration allows better stretching and forming. In addition, I'll give the dough about 5-6 minutes in a stand mixer to form a strong gluten structure whereas I mix my bread dough by hand and just give it a turn every 30 minutes.

For the dough:

500g '00' Flour
325g Water (65%)
10g Sea Salt (~ 2 TSP)
3g Active Dry Yeast (~heaping 1/2 TSP) 

Mix the flour and water in a stand mixer using the paddle until all dry bits are incorporated. Turn the mixer off and let the flour absorb the water for 20-30 minutes (important!). Sprinkle the active dry yeast on the dough and then turn the mixer on the lowest setting using the dough hook. Mix for 1-2 minutes and then start dribbling in the salt a little at a time so the salt is mixed in well. When finished, switch to the '2' setting and mix for about 5-6 minutes longer. Coat a plastic dough container or bowl lightly with oil and transfer the dough. Allow the dough to bulk ferment at room temp, it should double in size at this time. Wet your (dough) hand with water and then give the dough a full turn in the bowl/container by picking up a side, fold it over the middle; turn 1/4 and repeat, do again 2 more times and you'll have done a full turn. Cover and put the dough away in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

The Sauce:

There are probably as many ways to make pizza and sauce as there are people to eat pizza. I've been using a simple scallion flavored tomato sauce that I think really enhances flavor, regardless of the toppings.

2 TBSP oil
6 green onions (scallions) chopped well (white and ~1/3 of the green part)
1oz pancetta (about 5 thin slices) chopped well
5-7 sprigs of Italian Parsley (leaves only)
1-2 cloves garlic
1 28oz can of San Marzano Tomatoes (I use Strianese)
Few grinds of pepper, maybe 1/2 TSP of sea salt
Heat the 2 TBSP oil in a small pot, add the pancetta stirring frequently until the fat renders. Lower the heat and add the green onion. In the meantime chop the garlic into thin slices. Put the garlic on top of the parsley leaves and chop together into a small dice (garlic parsley). Add the garlic parsley to the pot. Stir, cook for 5 minutes and then add the tomatoes. Raise the heat slightly. When you have some good bubbling, stir well, start breaking up the tomatoes with your wooden spoon and lower the heat to a simmer for at least 20 minutes or longer. It's best if you reduce the sauce somewhat since you want a thick sauce for the pizza topping. Taste for salt and pepper.

Time for pizza:

So about an hour before I'm ready to prep, I take the dough out of the fridge to make the pizza balls and the final rise. The dough formula above will make 3 good sized pizza rounds. Cut the dough into three 275g pieces.  For each piece, fold it over on itself by wrapping the outside around the in (does that make sense?) You want to stretch the outside layer to enclose the rest of the dough ball. My stretching technique for the final shaping is to  form an "O" or keyhole with the thumb and forefinger and put the dough ball on top. Then push the dough ball through the keyhole with my other hand so that I am continually pushing the dough into the middle of the newly forming ball. When through, take the ball, stretch the outside once again and then roll the ball around a few times on your wooden board to add friction and tension in the outer dough layer. Now put the three dough balls on the board, cover with a towel and let rise for at least an hour. After that, you can shape the dough ball into a flat disk for your pizza.

Now I, am definitely not a pizzaiolo so shaping a dough ball into a round disk does not mean for me, the elegant spinning and tossing the pie into the air and catching with one hand. My somewhat lame technique is to start shaping into a disk and then holding the pizza vertically while moving it around in a circle with my hands, letting gravity and my finger stretching do most of the work. It works for me and in the end I have a disk about 12-14 inches in diameter.

Sprinkle a little semolina flour on a pizza peel, put the disk on top -- add some sauce, cheese, toppings, one swirl of olive oil and it's ready for the oven. I have a convection oven so I will first get the oven and the stone up to 550 degrees about 30 minutes before cooking and then switch to convection when the pizza goes in.

Go Bears!

UPDATE: Ok, stressful game but the Cal Bears pulled it off. Live to see another game. Also, added the obligatory pizza photo :)
The obligatory Pizza photo
Photo Detail
Mar. 21, 2013 5:14 pm
yes, and big bang theory and two and a half men is not on. I am however down with the Pizza, but I have never heard of making Pizza dough that way. where did you get that method from?
Mar. 21, 2013 6:59 pm
Yes KingSparta they are not,love The Big Bang,my husband is the pizza maker in our house,i'm the sauce maker.
Mar. 21, 2013 7:02 pm
Forget to add enjoy the game.
Mar. 21, 2013 7:54 pm
Hi KingSparta, which did you mean about the dough? The recipe or letting it bulk ferment for a few hours and then putting it away for later? The recipe is pretty much the way pizza dough is made in Naples, '00'flour at 65% hydration. The initial mixing, let it rest, then mix with yeast and salt is the way I make my bread.
Mar. 21, 2013 7:56 pm
Hi manella, thanks and we won! Btw, the game was on TruTV (odd channel) so at least this game didn't interrupt anybody's shows. Luckily we get it on our cable channel
Mar. 21, 2013 7:57 pm
Most of the folks that I know stretch their pies out that way. Tossing is too showing and leaves way too much room for error! Letting the dough ferment overnight brings in a lot of flavor. One of the projects I want to work on when I move is a outdoor wood burning oven for bread and pizza. Need to build a walk-in smoker too!
Mar. 21, 2013 7:57 pm
Umm showy, not showing. I must be tired!
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