Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pizza Dough, from Figs

¼ cup whole wheat flour
3½ cups all purpose flour plus additional for rolling
2 teaspoons (¼ ounce) fresh yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1⅔ cups lukewarm water

Place the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour; yeast, salt, and sugar in a mixer fitted with a dough hook. While the mixer is running, gradually add the oil and water. Knead on low speed until the dough is firm and smooth, about 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into four balls, about 7½ ounces each. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place two balls on a sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let them rise in a warm spot until they have doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

To roll out the dough: Dab your fingers in flour and then place 1 ball on a generously floured work surface and press down in the center with the tips of your fingers, spreading the dough with your hand. When the dough has doubled in width, use a floured rolling pin and roll out until it is very thin, like flatbread. The outer border should be a little thicker than the inner circle. Pick the dough up with a spatula or the back of a knife, allowing it to fold up almost like an umbrella and transfer it to a paddle. Do not worry that the pizza is not round, you are looking for; an 8- to 10-inch shape, a cross between an oval and a rectangle. If you get a hole; simply pinch the edges back together. Repeat with the remaining balls and proceed; with any of the following recipes.

Basic Tomato Sauce - Makes about 1½ quarts
1 T olive or vegetable oil
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup red wine
1 T dried Greek oregano
one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes in juice
1 cup chicken broth or water
2½ T fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
½ to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Place a large saucepan over medium heat and, when it is hot, add the oil. Add the garlic and cook until lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine to de-glaze the pan and cook until reduced by about a third, about 5 minutes.

Add the oregano, tomatoes, and Chicken Broth and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to low and cook until the mixture starts to come together as a sauce, about 45 minutes. Add the basil, salt, and pepper.

Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.

Margherita Pizza:
2 pizza rounds
cornmeal for sprinkling
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon minced garlic
2 pinches kosher salt
2 pinches black pepper
½ cup Basic Tomato Sauce
6 to 8 thin slices mozzarella cheese
12 whole fresh basil leaves
4 teaspoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

One hour prior to cooking, place a baking stone in the oven and preheat it to 500 degrees.

Roll out 1 pizza dough as thinly as possible. Place it on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover the surface with 1 teaspoon oil, ¼ teaspoon minced garlic, and 1 pinch each salt and pepper. Be sure to leave an outer lip of 1 inch all the way around.

Evenly distribute ¼ cup Basic Tomato Sauce on the pizza. It is not necessary to cover the bottom completely. Top with 3 to 4 slices of mozzarella cheese, 6 basil leaves, and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese.

Shake the paddle lightly and slide the pizza onto the baking stone. Bake until browned, about 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a firm surface and cut into slices.

Serve immediately.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

Yields: Makes four 8- to 10-inch pizzas


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