My quest for pizza perfection is no secret. Tonight was a giant leap toward that goal. I’m going to apologize now, this is a long one. I mentioned awhile back having checked out Peter Reinhart’s American Pie and his quest for the perfect pizza.
My perfect pizza is a super thin crispy crust with a extra browned (pre-char) pizza topping. While I love pizza on the grill for the great crust, the cheese doesn’t brown on top.
I have made Peter’s Roman Pizza Dough a few times now and this is my new favorite dough. I haven’t done it on the grill yet. It is VERY thin, the grill will be a good test. So far I have only been doing this in the oven as he has suggested. Peter suggests starting with your stone in the middle, then move to lower racks if needed to get the crispier crust. I got the best results with it on the bottom rack. Preheat the oven at your oven’s highest temperature, fluctuating to broil now and then to get it even hotter. When my oven was at full 550* preheated, I turned to broil for 5-10 minutes, then turned back down to 550 when I put the pizza in.
5 cups(22 1/2oz) all-purpose flour **
1/4 cup (1oz) semolina flour
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast (my teaspoon was generous)
1 3/4 cups cool water
Divide this into six 6-ounce dough balls.
He gives detailed instruction on how to knead and rest and knead again. But if you haven’t figured out by now, I’m lazy. I love the mix, sorta knead and walk away method. I brought the dough together and gave it a few good turns then covered with a damp towel and went for my morning walk. An hour(ish) later, I gave it a few more good turns, drizzled with some olive oil and tucked in to rest in the hint o’ warm oven for the day.
That night, I kinda rushed it and was sorely disappointed in my results. Be assured there wasn’t a crumb left and everyone seemed pretty happy, but it wasn’t right. I threw 3 dough balls in zip-top bags and threw them in the freezer.
Fast forward 6 days. I pulled a dough bag out of the freezer this morning when I left for work and left it on the counter. When I got home I turned the oven to 550 and turned the dough out of the bag onto a lightly floured counter gently turning it into a ball (trying not to break all my bubbles). I dinked around for a few minutes, then fired up my cast iron skillet and threw in chopped onion and eggplant, spinkled with some kosher salt and cumin.
I rolled the dough out then let it rest a few minutes before I rolled it all the way out. Dusting my peel with a little flour making sure my dough moved smoothly, I began building. I hadn’t thawed any sauce so I just took a few tablespoons of tomato paste and smeared a thin layer on the dough. Followed by a sprinkle of blue cheese crumbles, a few fresh spinach leaves and my eggplant that has softened nicely. Topped all of that with a little mozzarella. I still had movement on the peel, but I was really concerned my zeal had gotten the best of me and this was too much weight for this delicate dough.
My fears were unfounded! This was incredible! I’m patting myself on my back (if you could see me- I’m skipping like a 4 year old girl). I really want you to click on the image below so you can really get a glimpse of my heavenly dinner.
If you are keeping score, 1 pizza dough is only 404 calories. This pizza is just a bit smaller than my dinner plate. Depending on what you put on it and what you’ve done for the day, you can work this sucker off in no time!
**super side note… I weighed my flour this time. and it only took 4 CUPS to get me to the 22 1/2z of flour I needed. Cooking Spree wrote recently about weighing our scoops and how different each scoop can be. It was a good reminder and I think I’ll weigh more often seeing how much of a difference it made.