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Proper Pizza

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If you are a reader of this blog you would know I’m a huge fan of grilled pizza.  Dough cooked on the barbecue grill, then topped with flavours of your choice. There are quite a few examples here.

This time I decided I wanted to cook pizza the traditional way, in an oven, baking the dough + toppings all together.

I was visiting the Artist and the Artisan in the beautiful Southern Highlands, previously blogged about here: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/07/14/artist-and-artisans-retreat-idyllic-southern-highlands/

The Artisan has a wonderful old Metters “Canberra” wood fired stove, a relic of Australia’s past. It makes a fantastic garden ornament and not a bad pizza either!IMG_3655

I made the pizza dough in Sydney on a Saturday morning, proved it, then set off for the hour and a quarter journey to Mittagong. The dough proved a second time sitting in a bowl in the car on the journey.

It was then ready for shaping and topping, and into the oven which had been heating for a couple of hours. Pizzas for lunch and dough left over to make more for an appetizer that night!

Below is the pizza dough recipe, adapted from the grilled pizza recipe. These quantities make 4 medium sized pizzas. Just add toppings of your choice. We used a tomato paste base, then added prosciutto, salami, mushrooms, black olives, grated cheddar, and maybe some other stuff!

Ingredients

6 tsp dry yeast
2 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups strong flour + 2 1/2 cups Tipo 00 flour, + more for dusting
2 tsp sea salt
A couple of glugs of extra-virgin olive oil

Method

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in most of the flour and the salt, stirring until smooth, then the olive oil and continue adding the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until the dough comes away from the bowl but is still sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with lightly floured hands. Knead the dough until it is smooth, elastic and soft, but a little sticky, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a bowl lightly oiled with more extra virgin olive oil, and turn to coat. Cover with cling wrap and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Punch the dough down and prepare to shape, or you can leave for an hour or two until ready to make the pizzas – the dough will prove again.

Remove the dough from the bowl, divide in four and shape each into a ball.  Or divide in half for 2 large pizzas.

Stretch and shape the balls of dough into a rectangle or round – or any rustic shape! Place the pizzas on a baking tray or better still a ceramic pizza stone and apply your toppings. Let rest for 15 minutes.IMG_3640

Bake in a hot oven until the pizzas are cooked. I leave it up to you and your oven to decide on temperature and timings. Not helpful, I know, but every oven is different!IMG_3674

 

 

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