Pizza

Ingredients

Directions

Prep oven: Turn on your oven to 525 degrees. If you have a baking stone, now is the time to make sure it is wiped clean and placed in your oven during the warm up. The oven will take a bit longer to preheat with the stone inside as the makeup of the stone absorbs the oven’s heat. If you don’t have a stone, consider running to Home Depot or any other store that sells unglazed tile. If you must, place a cookie sheet or pan in the oven.

Make biga: In a small non-metallic bowl, add the yeast and water and stir it up. Then, add the flour and stir together for a couple minutes. Leave out but covered for at least 4 hours and as much as 12. The photos below show the biga first after hand mixing and then again 4 hours later.

Take your biga and add the bread flour, olive oil and salt with a firm spatula or anything else that frightens small children when swung quickly through the air. After thoroughly mixed, scoop the dough mass onto a flour dusted countertop. The consistency of your dough should be like cookie dough.

Make dough: Don’t knead the dough just use the flour to make the outside less sticky. At this point, you can oil the bowl that you mixed your dough in and place covered in the refrigerator for up to a couple days or you can roll out.

Roll dough: With your dough in the middle of a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to flatten your dough up and down and then rotating your dough 90 degrees and repeating. Since we didn’t use a mixer on the dough, the gluten strands are not strong and thus, rolling is a snap. I’d try for a thickness about the size of a tortilla but you can vary it more or less to your liking. It will puff up to about double the size that it is at this point during it’s time in the oven. Don’t worry about getting your dough into a perfect circle. This isn’t Dominos here.

Make sauce: Mix the paste, garlic, water and spices together in a small bowl. If you like your sauce a bit more chunky, try adding in a bit of cut tomatoes a few Tbsps at a time.

Toss the sauce: With a small spoon or spatula, spread the sauce around your pizza. A little goes a long way, so don’t think you need to coat every last pit of dough. It will spread out during oven time.

Top with cheese and toppings: Spread an even layer of cheese on top of the sauce and then add any toppings that you like on your pizza. At my pizzeria, we add ugly toppings before the cheese and all the nice looking toppings on top but you can do it any way that makes you happy.

Bake: This is one of the pluses of this pizza – it cooks in just minutes. When placing the oven on the pizza stone, reduce the oven temperature to 500 degrees. The high temperature of the stone will crisp up your pizza in just minutes so you want to keep a good eye on your prize. If you can, rotate the pizza after a couple of minutes with your peel and if possible, sneak a peak at the bottom of the crust to see how far along it is. Your pizza is done when ideally both crust and cheese are properly cooked. If you made your dough thick, it may take a bit longer.