In anticipation of the great work and progress that Brandon and I are going to make on the pizza oven this weekend, I’d like to give us a hearty pat on the back! (We’re already making great progress and I’m excited to share it with you guys soon!)
Here’s the update:
We’ve bought the materials and Brandon’s Dad came up to Seattle to visit us this weekend, complete with his masonry skills and brick cutter. We’ve got a plan and the weather has been cooperating, meaning we’re making great progress on our backyard wood-fired oven project. We won’t be ready to make pizzas for tonight’s True Blood party, or for our party next week, but soon!
We’ve also been testing different dough and sauce recipes — it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it– and have settled on winners!
Our favorite dough comes from Forno Bravo, our favorite everything-to-do-with-building-a-pizza-oven website:
Authentic Vera Pizza Napoletana Dough Recipe
- 500gr (4 cups) Molino Caputo Tipo 00 flour
- 325gr (1.5 cups) water (65% hydration)
- 10gr (2 tsp) salt
- 3gr (1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
We highly recommend cooking by weight. It is fast, and easy to get the exact hydration (water to flour ratio) and dough ball size you want.
Personally, I do not use recipes or a mixing cup when I cook dinner for the family, but pizza and bread dough is different. Being exact counts, and nothing works better than a digital scale.
Mix the dough in a stand mixer, by hand or in a bread machine. If you are using a stand mixer, mix it slowly for two minutes, faster for 5 minutes, and slow again for 2 minutes.
Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until double. Punch it down and push out the air bubbles. Form the dough into a large ball, then cut it into three 275 gr equal pieces.
To make your pizza balls, shape each piece of dough into a ball. Gently roll your dough into a ball, then stretch the top of the ball down and around the rest of the ball, until the outer layer wraps around the other side. Pinch the two ends together to make a smooth ball with a tight outer “skin.” Set your ball seam-side down where it can rest. Dust your pizza balls with flour, and store them under a damp towel, in a proofing tray, or under plastic wrap. This will prevent the outside of the ball from drying out and creating a crust, and becoming difficult to work with. The top of the pizza ball should be soft and silky.
Your pizza balls will need to rest for about an hour to become soft and elastic, so that they can be easily stretched into a thin crust pizza.
If you won’t need your dough for more than an hour, refrigerate it until you are ready to start.
If you won’t have an hour to let your dough rest, read our Dough in a Hurry strategy. By cutting back each phase of dough preparation by the right amount, you can make great pizza or focaccia dough in as little as an hour.
We normally don’t measure when following recipes either, but Brandon busts out my Little Britches Bakery postal scale for dough measurements. He means business! (I so want to make fun, but I can’t, since the dough is that good!)
And our favorite sauce recipe, also from Forno Bravo:
Smashed Tomato Sauce
1 can (28 oz) San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 tablespoons of fresh basil
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil – done forget to swirl excellent extra virgin olive oil on your pizza right before you put it in the oven
I love to provide recipes, but I also love to provide facts. Here is the latest infographic I found on pizza. I have no idea how truthful or valid it is, but it makes me hungry for pizza, so it’s ok in my book… Happy pizza eating and I’ll be back soon with some photos from our weekend of building!