Monday, July 19, 2010

Sourdough Starter Pizza dough, CSA toppings!

I hope you're all growing sourdough starters by now! I have something resembling an actual recipe to offer you for making a really nice, loose pizza dough (it's a modified version of a sourdough english muffin recipe I tried recently, which I found in a really old bread cookbook I accidentally stole from my co-op senior year in college a hundred million years ago). The only trouble is that it is so ridiculously hot these days that making pizza seems sort of... ill-advised. However, last week we got a big gorgeous tomato from our CSA and a big bunch of basil, and the first thing Jenean said when she saw it was "margarita pizza!" and that seemed 100% right, so we just went ahead and did it. Frankly, it turned the kitchen into a burning inferno, and we probably should have resisted the urge to bake... but boy was it delicious, and we had so much pizza leftover for lunches, I don't regret a thing.

For the Dough:
1 cup water (or half water half milk, if you want)
2 cups flour, plus another 1-2+ cups later on
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

In a big bowl, combine the starter, the water (or water/milk), 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, the salt and the oil, using a wooden spoon (it will be pretty wet and sticky). Leave it, covered with plastic wrap, at warm-ish room temperature for an hour.

Put a cup of flour out on a large clean work surface, and turn the dough out onto it. Knead it till it absorbs all that flour, and continue adding more flour till you get a dough that, though it's still pretty sticky, holds its own.

Oil the bowl and put the dough in, flipping it over so all of it gets coated with a little oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap again, and leave for at least an hour, more if you can (you could park it in the fridge and use it the next day, even; when you take it out of the fridge, knead briefly then let it come to room temp again before trying to roll it out). This will make enough dough to fill the bottom of two well oiled half sheet pans (the 13x18 type cookie sheet). I think it might be too wet to try on a peel/stone, though maybe given enough flour and cornmeal, it could be done. I don't have a pizza stone, or I might have tried it out.

Anyway, it's lovely and soft, so you just have to sort of gently stretch and prod it out (it rips easily, so really, be gentle) into an even thickness (or rather, thinness) in the sheet pan.
After I got both sheet pans all filled out, I let them rest another 20 minutes or so.

I already mentioned our margarita pizza - I bought some fresh mozzarella just for the purpose, sliced it up and laid it on the dough (left an inch or so between pieces), topped it with nice thin slices of the tomato, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled on salt and pepper and parmigiano, and that's how I baked it (Jenean added the thin sliced basil after it came out of the oven).

To top the other pizza, I had (a day or two before) cooked up a bunch of spinach (the previous week's csa spinach looking too sad not to just cook up), with onions, garlic and some chopped up zucchini - all sauteed down till it was practically a uniform green color and nice and thick (I think I meant to make a quiche or fritatta with it, but this use came up sooner). I treated that like my sauce (green sauce!) and spread it all out on the dough evenly, sprinkled on the last little bit of mozzarella left, and then dolloped on spoonfuls of ricotta, spread that all around, and then grated on some parmigiano.

I had the oven as hot as I dared (475 F) and put them both in at once, one of the racks up high and the other down low, and rotated and swapped them several times.
I think next time I'll only swap them once halfway through baking, and have the strength of will to leave them in longer, because though the edges were gorgeously crisp and yummy, the very bottom wasn't nearly as brown as I wanted it - so I think each of those pizzas deserved a while longer near the bottom of the oven (where our heat source happens to be). Probably it would be better to end up with a couple corners burned and the whole thing crispy, right? Anyway, it was still good - I got no complaints from anybody.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you're asking for a baking stone - that pizza is crying out for one.