image from the new york times
who doesn’t love pizza? for me, it’s an edible plate onto which i can pile a variety of wonderful flavors and ingredients. and just as mark bittman demystified making risotto at home, oliver strand now shares the secret of making a perfect pizza crust in a conventional home oven. the key to getting that delicious and golden and airy and crunchy thin crust on your pizza is to let it rise overnight. in the photo above, the pizza on the left is from newly made dough and the one of the right is made with the same dough that was aged a day.
The prolonged fermentation of an overnight rise not only develops the dough’s structure, it also enables starches to transform into flavorful sugars. The dough becomes complex and nuanced. It’s a crust you want to eat.It’s also a crust you want to admire. While a three-hour rise yields a crust that has the pasty pallor of raw flour, the caramelized sugars from an overnight rise give the cornicione, or edge, a color that goes from golden brown to the deep bronze of a ’70s tan.
this is exactly what tony mantuano of spiaggia restaurant told slash food as they discussed his (in my opinion, unjust) elimination from top chef masters (oops! belated spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the episode!).
So what’s the key to making a good dough from scratch?
TM: Giving it time to rise. More importantly, if you have weeks in advance, making a sourdough starter. My whole effort was to get the dough made and have it rise the night before and the next day, and start rolling them out when I got to the site. Time is what’s most important when making pizza. There’s a simplicity to pizza. You’re relying on great ingredients.
personally, i don’t like a lot of red sauce on my pizzas…i love for the fresh ingredients to sing unimpeded – so this recipe from ina garten is right up my veggie alley – her white pizza with arugula features 3 cheeses (fontina, mozzarella, goat) and arugula, lemon and pepper. simple and delicious!!
so, just like the risotto recipe, once you have mastered the perfect pizza crust, the possibilities for seasonal suppers are endless!
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