This is my first real blog entry, so be patient!
I know many of you from taking your orders by phone, the "old-fashioned"method many of us prefer. But there's more to me than taking orders and selling cookbooks. One of my passions is baking bread, which I have done since I was a teenager. And many of you have tasted my hand-roasted coffee, something else I'm fired up about... coffee warrants a whole separate post, so check in with me once in a while, I'll be posting on coffee soon. Today, I will share my secrets to another passion, PIZZA!!!
I have been perfecting pizza for a while now. There are many recipes for and opinions on the proper technique and ideal recipe for pizza dough. For mine, I go to the classic Naples but with my own touch and one professional tip that really puts it over the top.
600 grams of organic artisan flour (King Arthur)
150 grams of organic whole wheat (King Arthur)
15 grams high quality sea salt
1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
500 grams water (I use spring water not tap water as I believe it matters)
Put water, salt and yeast in mixing bowl and stir. Then add the flours. Mix these ingredients (in your mixer) for 30 minutes on slow. Yes, that's correct!! Naples Pizza rules state that it must be mixed for 30 minutes and this does matter. Your mixer may not like running for this long so it's ok to take the dough out of the bowl and knead by hand for a while, going back to the mixer if you want.
Next, put dough in a very lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a wet cloth and let rise for 8-10 hours. (I make it in the morning and make pizza for dinner.) 30-40 minutes before baking, preheat a pizza stone in the oven at 500 but if your oven goes higher, go there. Sprinkle flour on counter and divide the dough into four parts. You will go with the largest 3 for this pizza. (Save the fourth part for your next pizza - see tip below.) Shape the dough into round balls by gently tucking under (bakers will understand this) I don't know how else to explain it, but basically, form the balls by tucking the dough under in your palms, creating a seamless top. In 30-40 minutes you can make your pizza. How to shape a pizza, now THAT'S a whole blog entry to come!
Professional tip: Save 1 dough ball in an oiled bowl in the refrigerator. The next time you make dough, add this in 5 minutes into the mixing; it will add flavor and texture to your pizza and will really put it over the top.