Perfect crust. Tomatoes and bocconcini. Fresh herbs. In other words: Pizza. Yum!
As lovers of bread it is only natural that we are also continuously trying to find the perfect pizza pie. Certainly the main criteria here should be the crust, even though we have some pretty high expectations of the toppings as well. Apparently it is not that easy to find the pizza we are all dreaming of, and sometimes the journey can be a little bit frustrating and disappointing.
This time around, in searching for the perfect pizza we found that it is a little bit easier to be successful in the Rhine-Main area of Germany, than it is in Vancouver. At least we were getting closer.
Of course, two passionate bakers wouldn't be too passionate, if they could resist the urge of playing with a formula for pizza dough themselves. And play we did. Since Florin came over to Germany to visit for a little while, and make friends with my dad and my dad's wood-burning oven, we took advantage of the opportunity and baked some pretty decent pizza of our own. We are still in the process of developing our favourite, favourite pizza crust, but in the meantime we are fairly happy with our results.
For the crust, the total formula is:
1136 gr flour (100%)
772 gr water (68%)
15.5 gr yeast (1.4%)
20 gr salt (1.8%)
57 gr olive oil (5%)
We used 00 flour in this case, but at home we usually go with all-purpose.
Prepare a biga 12 hours in advance and let it sit at room temperature. The formula for the biga is:
229 gr flour (100%)
137 gr water (60%)
0.5 gr yeast (0.2%)
To put it all together, use the following final dough formula:
907 gr flour (100%)
635 gr water (70%)
20 gr salt (2.2%)
15 gr yeast (1.6%)
57 gr olive oil (6.3%)
366 gr biga (40%)
Mix all your ingredients with the exception of the salt and do a 20 minute autolyse. Add the salt and knead to fully develop the dough. Bulk ferment for one hour, then stretch and fold and ferment for another hour. Divide the dough into 200 gr pieces and shape into rounds. Refrigerate the pre-shaped dough covered on a baking tray for at least 6 and up to 24 hours. Take the pizza dough out of the refrigerator an hour or two before you plan to bake the pizza, to let it come to room temperature. Now preheat your oven on the highest setting, so that the baking stone gets enough time to really heat up. (The wood-burning oven was really, really hot, and the pizza had to cook only for a couple of minutes.) Stretch the dough to form the crust, add your toppings of choice and bake till done. Buon appetito.
What is your favourite pizza story? Who makes the best pie in your neck of the woods? Do you know of any good pizza blogs? Let us know.
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