Dear Fellow Foodies:
Being from Chicago, Pizza was a way of life for us. While reading the latest Bon Appetit I came across a method of cooking pizza that I haven’t
tried before. Since we sell the “00″ flour at the Mercantile I wanted to use this to make the “crunchewey” pizza you find in pizza parlors that use a wood burning pizza oven. The secret to this dough is not to mess with it too much. Don’t roll it out. Don’t knead it too much. Go light on your toppings. You will need to start this a day ahead of time to allow it to ferment property. If you follow these suggestions, you will end up with an amazing pizza. In fact, this is so easy you may just opt to make your own from now on. The pizza in the photo has Italian baby artichokes on top as well as using the Jacksonville Mercantile Cherry Tomato Tepanade as a sauce.
Happy Pizza Dough
5 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 Cups “00″ Flour
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
4 teaspoons flake sea salt (I used Murray River)
3 Cups Very Warm Water
Mix all your dry ingredients together. While stirring add your water to the
flour mixture (I did this in a mix master with a paddle). Take out the
dough and place on a well floured surface. Knead until all the flour is
incorporated. Place this into a bowl that is large enough for the dough to
expand by two and a half times. Do not oil the bowl. Cover the bowl with
plastic wrap and set out at room temperature for 24 hours. The dough will
look bubbly and will have expanded by twice the size. Remove the dough from
the bowl onto a well floured surface. Spread out the dough with your
fingers and then cut into 6 or 8 even pieces. Roll each dough piece into a
ball and cover with plastic wrap for an hour before baking. At this point
you can wrap the dough balls in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3
days. This dough does not freeze because of the limited amount of yeast.
Maybe it is time for a pizza party!
If you have a pizza stone this is the time to get it out of the closet. If
your stone seems dirty, do not wash it in water. The best way to clean a
pizza stone is to brush it off and when you are cleaning your oven, place
the stone in the oven at the same time. Use a wire brush to scrub off any
leftover bits. If you have accidentaly gotten your stone wet, do not use it
for a few days. This will prevent your stone from cracking or exploding in
Now it is time to make your pizza! This is the fun part and the new method
I just read about. Preheat your oven to 500F or 550F if it goes that hot
with the pizza stone in the top 1/3 of the oven for one hour.
To form your pizza, take a rested pizza dough ball and place on a well
floured surface. Using your fingers, start spreading the dough outwards.
Take the dough and invert over your fists, allowing gravity to stretch the
dough further. Place onto a pizza peel or the back of a cookie sheet that
has more “00″ flour or polenta on it to prevent sticking. Rub the dough
with olive oil, truffle oil or any oil of your choice. Put your toppings on
(go light on the toppings) and a light sprinkle of flake salt and cracked
When you put your pizza onto the stone turn on your broiler. Yes, really.
The heat from the broiler coming from above and the hot stone recreates the
wood-burning pizza oven effect. Keep your eye on the pizza. These cook
quickly. Your pizza will be done between 5-7 minutes. Take it out of the
oven and allow to rest for a few minutes on a wooden board or wire rack.
Cut and serve hot. To make more pizzas, turn off the broiler and set the
oven temperature to 500F or 550F. Allow 3-5 minutes between pizzas to let
oven get to the optimal temperature.
Happy Pizza Cooking Everyone!!
Chef Constance Jesser