Friday, August 25, 2006

Cornmeal Crust Pizza with herbs and pepperoni

Excerpted from Bob's Red Mill Baking Book by John Ettinger and Bob's Red Mill Family,

Makes one 16-inch, two 12-inch, four 8-inch or eight 4-inch pizzas

1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (105 degrees F. to 115 degrees F.)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste, optional
3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. In a small bowl, add the sugar to the water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Stir to dissolve and let stand for 5 minutes until foamy.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine well 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the unbleached white flour with the wheat flour, cornmeal, salt, and red pepper flakes. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the yeast mixture and the oil, and using a wooden spoon, vigorously stir the flour into the well. Begin at the center and work slowly outward, until the flour mixture is incorporated and the dough just begins to come together.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough gently, pressing down with the heels of your hands and pushing the dough away from you before partially folding it back over itself. Use a dough scraper to pry up bits of dough that stick to the work surface. Shift the dough a quarter turn and repeat. As you knead, gradually add just enough of the remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky; you may not need all of it. Continue to knead until the dough is smooth and shiny, with good elasticity, about 10 to 15 minutes more. The dough should feel springy and be slightly moist. Too much kneading may result in a tough crust.

4. Oil a large bowl, shape the dough into a smooth ball, and place the ball in the bowl. Turn to coat the dough with the oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise until it doubles in size, about 90 minutes.

5. Punch the dough down and use within 2 hours. (If you are not going to use the dough within 2 hours, turn it into an oiled bowl to coat again, tightly cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. When the dough has doubled again, in about 5 to 8 hours, punch it down, re-cover it, and leave it in the refrigerator. You can punch it down a total of 4 times, but after that, it gets tough. Use the dough within 32 hours or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 4 months.)

6. Break the dough into equal pieces for smaller pizzas or keep whole for a large pizza.

7. Use your hands or a rolling pin to shape the ball of dough on a lightly floured surface. Press and stretch it gently to the desired shape and thickness. The thinner the crust, the crispier it will be.

8. Leave the dough to rest, about 15 minutes, or place in the refrigerator for thinner crust (because the dough doesn't rise as much in the refrigerator), until you're ready to top the pizza.

Note from B - Bake as per your regular pizza recipe. (several are on my sidebar).

I topped with the thinnest coat of tomato sauce, perhaps 3 tablespoons, LOTS of cheese, pepperoni and a sprinkling of dried Italian herbs. It's a crisp/tender crust that paired well with the herbs and cheese.

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