Sorry to disappoint all of you who were expecting a more interesting post on things such as tips on how to get…
The word stone brings many associations for me.
To childhood programmes…
But this time the stoned one is not me… it’s the pizza!
This is yet another of my staple recipes, one that, no matter how many recipes and variations I find for it, I keep coming back to.
If you’re lucky enough to have an oven with a baking stone you can cook the pizza doughs directly on it, but it will work equally well on regular ovens.
Sometimes, if I’m baking bread (usually with Jamie’s recipe) I use that dough for my pizza bases, just like he does. Equally delicious. Except that in both cases I follow Blanca’s method (which I haven’t seen in any other cookbook, by the way) of turning the pizza over half-way through cooking to ensure a v. crispy base. Superb!
Stone-baked Pizza – from La Cocina Divertida by Blanca Cotta
yeast, 50 grams (or 10 grams if you’re using dry yeast)
tepid water, ½ cup (250 cc)
sugar, 1 tsp.
flour, ½ kg and 1 tbsp.
salt, 1 tsp.
vegetable oil, 2 tbsp.
warm milk, as needed
tomato sauce (about 1 ladlespoon per pizza base)
mozzarella cheese or Cheddar cheese, roughly chopped
toppings of your choice: chopped ham, onion slices, anchovies, green and black olives…
How to make:
1. Dissolve the yeast in the tepid water together with the teaspoon of sugar and the tablespoon of flour.
2. Whisk energetically until you see little bubbles on the top.
3. Cover and leave in a warm place until the yeast ferments and becomes really foamy.
4. Place the flour on the table and make a hole in the middle.
5. Put the yeast foam, the salt and the oil in the centre.
6. Bind the ingredients together adding warm milk little by little until you get a soft and somewhat sticky dough.
7. Grab the dough and smash it with all your might against the worktop. The more you do this, the more airy and elastic the dough will become. This is an excellent way to release tension instead of going to the gym!
8. Add a little more flour, shape it round and put it in a bowl. Cover it with a teacloth or better yet, plastic wrap and leave it to rise in a warm place. If you’re doing this in the middle of the winter, fill a pan with boiling water and place the bowl (with the dough inside) on top. The pan has to be smaller than the bowl so that the water does not touch the bowl. You only need the steam from the water to rise the temperature. If you do it like this, the dough will not “burn”.
9. Leave the dough like this until it doubles in size.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
1. Put the cheese in a bowl and cover it with cold water. If the water is not cold enough I even add some ice cubes to it! Leave it to one side. (This is done so that the cheese melts quicker in the oven. It works especially well with somewhat harder cheeses as well.)
2. Grab a bit of dough and stretch it with the rolling pin, thin (or if you prefer, thicker) and cut it out with the pizza mould where you are planning to bake the pizza.
3. Brush the pizza mould with oil, place the pizza dough inside it and carry on stretching it until you cover all the base. If you haven’t got any pizza mould you can also use some tinfoil. Drizzle it with oil and stretch the pizza dough in there.
4. Cover it with a with a teacloth and leave it in a warm place until it has swollen.
5. Shape the other pizzas in the same way. If you have leftover dough, join it together and make more pizza bases.
6. When the pizzas are really swollen, bake them in a v. hot oven until the top is dry but not golden.
7. Take the pizza bases out of the oven and turn the pizzas over in the same mould, so that the bottom is now the top.
8. Spoon the sauce on the pizzas (don’t over do it or the pizza and the base will be really soggy).
9. Dry the pizzas for a few seconds in the oven.
10. Take them out and cover with the cheese (which should be as dry as possible).
11. Put the pizzas back in the oven until the cheese melts. This will happen really quickly so keep an eye on the oven.
12. Take the pizzas out of the oven and decorate with the anchovies and the black and green olives.