Pizza

It’s been four months since people here have started caring about COVID-19, and yet the pandemic shows no signs of stopping. This is especially so as I live in Florida, where we have apparently taken “flatten the curve” to mean creating a flat vertical line on the graph.

So, I’m still staying at home as much as possible (and occasionally eating coffee with a spoon.) And because I’m prone to laziness, this means I end up ordering a lot of takeout. But after hearing that the staff at one of my favorite takeout restaurants isn’t wearing masks, I’m starting to feel wary of this plan.

Which brings me to this pizza. I’ve been practicing this for a while, and there’s still some tweaking I’d like to do regarding style, but I’m exceptionally happy with how the crust turned out this time. I’ve never been a fan of thin-crust pizza, but this was perfectly chewy and full of bubbles.

This crust uses the same dough that’s outlined in Tartine’s Country Loaf recipe. No frills or fancy additions, only the light sourdough taste and a small amount of wheat flour. I’ve previously been working with a 50/50 white/wheat flour mix for my breads in spite of what’s outlined in Tartine’s book, but I’m not too proud to say this mix works well.

You’ll want a pizza stone for this recipe. If you don’t have it, a perforated baking sheet will also work. A pizza peel also adds convenience to the process, but I’ve made do in the past using a small cookie sheet. Make sure to top both with cornmeal to aid in transferring the dough, which will get sticky.

For toppings, I opted for something outside of the normal pizza shop offering and went with prosciutto and arugula. The prosciutto adds salt and savory flavors, and arugula adds some peppery taste and the illusion that I’m eating something somewhat healthy. Combined with some inexpensive pizza sauce and shredded cheese (see previous comment regarding my laziness) and dinner was served.

For the dough, I cut the Country Loaf recipe in half and made two personal pizzas out of it. ‘Personal’ is probably an overstatement, as there will be more than enough pizza for two of you to stuff yourselves.

Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza

Serves 3

For the dough:

  • 350g plus 25g water
  • 100g levain (See this recipe for instructions)
  • 450g AP flour
  • 50g whole wheat flour
  • 10g salt

Toppings (all to taste):

  • Pizza sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Proscuitto, sliced thin
  • Fresh arugula
  • Olive oil (optional)

Mix the 350g water and all of the levain into a large, preferably transparent bowl. Add the flours and mix until no dry flour remains in the dough. It will be shaggy at this point.

Let sit, covered, for at least 30 minutes. Mix the remaining 50g water and the salt, add to the dough. Fold periodically for 3-4 hours until the dough shows about a 20% volume increase, bubbles form, and holds its shape well. Dough will be sticky, but dipping your fingers in water helps when folding.

Turn out dough on a floured work surface and divide into two even pieces. Shape them into two round loaves and let them rest for about ten minutes. Use this time to preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. If you’re using a stone, be sure to put it in before preheating!

Once the oven is preheated, stretch one of the rounds into a flattened disc going from the center outward. Place on your cornmeal-covered peel or solid baking sheet and top with sauce, cheese, and prosciutto in that order.

Carefully transfer the pizza to your stone or perforated cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Use the peel to transfer the pizza from the stone/sheet to a cutting board. Don’t move the stone if it’s in the oven. Stretch, top, and bake the second pizza as described above.

Once both pizzas are done, turn off the oven and leave the stone inside until it cools completely. Cut both pizzas into slices and add the arugula. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

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