Sunday, 25 November 2012

Pizza Dough - The Bread of the Gods

Guest post from Jar Head:

As every fan of good pizza knows, the starting point is the dough. You cannot have a great pizza without first having a great dough - without it you might as well cover a cardboard box with tomato sauce and cheese.

This recipe has gone through many adaptations over time and I am very happy with the results. Patience is a virtue here as this recipe uses a delayed fermentation technique, using a small amount of yeast to work with the natural sugars in the flour which are released as the dough rests in the cold fridge. This concept came from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Bakers Apprentice, which is a great book on everything to do with bread.

What you will need:
  • 3.5 to 4 cups of flour*
  • 1.75 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1.75 cups cold water
* I use a mixture of 3 to 3.5 cups of bread flour together with 1/4 cup rye and 1/4 semolina. You could use all bread flour (or all purpose) but I prefer the slight nuttiness and texture that the rye and semolina adds.

Add 75% of the flour together with the water and bring to a paste - the mixture will be very wet, almost pancake batter in consistency. Let sit for about 20 minutes. This is known as autolyse which allows enzymes break down the proteins in the flour so they can reform as gluten and amylase enzymes convert the broken starch into sugars. Add the remaining ingredients, including the remaining flour, and kneed in a stand mixer for 5-8 minutes (10-12 by hand).

Separate the dough into 4 balls and place in lightly oiled containers. Place in fridge for 1 to 3 days (you can place in freezer after 1 day in the fridge and save for 3 months).

After a day in the fridge you are ready to make pizza - I will be doing a posting on that step soon.

Now I only need to get going on that wood burning pizza oven in the back yard...

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