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Dishroom Blunders

Neapolitan Margherita Pizza with Sourdough Crust

Chapter 5
Jul 5th, 2020
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n my humble opinion, there are few foods better than pizza. You can put almost anything on it to adapt it to different seasons, flavor profiles, and fusions. It also tastes amazing. The satisfaction I derive from biting into a charred, chewy sourdough crust cooked in a piping hot oven is matched by few things in life (only kinda joking).

I’ve always dreamed of having a pizza oven in my backyard and have had a few rare opportunities where I got to use a pizza oven, but most of the time I don’t have that luxury. We have a ritual of making pizza every Friday night. Even our dog gets his own mini pizza. I have a quarter-inch baking steel I heat in the oven and cook the pizza on top of. The pizzas come out pretty close to pizza oven quality, though there typically is a fair amount of smoke created by excess flour, spilled sauce, etc., so plan accordingly.

This recipe is for a Neapolitan margherita pizza, which is the classic Italian-style pizza. The stars on top of the crust are the three unofficial national ingredients of Italy, which match the colors of their flag–basil, tomato, and buffalo mozzarella.

Recipe

The Dough

Ingredients

  • 320g pizza four
  • 210g water
  • 10g salt
  • 5g diastatic malt
  • 47g sourdough starter

Instructions

  1. Should start dough around 5-7pm the night before you want to use it.
  2. Mix ingredients on mixer level 2 for 5 minutes with a dough hook
  3. Fold the dough NSEW four times spaced out by 30 minutes starting 30 minutes after mixing.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator.
  5. Around 11am the next morning, pull the dough out of the refrigerator and divide into two. Collapse into balls with tight surface tension, then store in an oiled container. Wrap in a proofing plastic bag and rest at room temperature.
  6. Around 5pm, the dough will be ready. If you want to cook earlier/later than 5pm, simply adjust the time you pull the dough out of the fridge accordingly.

The Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Throw it all in a blender and mix! Store in the freezer between uses. It thaws pretty well if you let it happen slowly and don’t end up cooking it in the microwave.

The Pizza

Ingredients

  • Basil
  • Olive oil
  • Buffalo mozzarella
  • Sea salt flakes

Instructions

  1. Place baking steel on a rack in the oven that’s placed approximately two steps from the top heating element. ~6-8 inches.
  2. Heat oven to 500F. It will take a while since the steel will absorb a lot of heat.
  3. Once the oven is heated, flip it to high broil and let the heating element fully heat.
  4. Set out pizza spatula and coat with semolina flour
  5. Remove one of the dough balls and expand it into a saucer by pulling from the middle. You want to leave the edges alone as much as possible and keep them both thick and full of air bubbles. Flour a surface and roll the saucer in flour. You can’t do too much. Switch to using your knuckles to shape the pizza into a full shape. Place the crust on the pizza spatula
  6. Once the add sauce, then the cheese. You need to move quickly. The sauce will start to seep through the dough, which can make it stick to the spatula when you try to slide it into the oven.
  7. Slide onto the baking steel and cook for a few minutes until the cheese is fully melted. If the cheese melts all the way to a liquid before the crust starts to char, try moving the steel closer to the top heating element. I’ve found that usually this happens when I have the pizza too far from the heat and by the time the crust cooks, the cheese has melted into nothing.
  8. Top with basil, add a swirl of olive oil, and serve with flaked sea salt to top.
 sourdough pizza
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