Pizza notes

I’ve been experimenting, trying to make the best thin base pizza I can at home. I’d heard that Italian pizza is about the crust, not the topping, the same way Italian pasta is about the pasta, not the sauce. I wanted on board. With much trial and error, using me Dad’s basic bread-in-a-breadmaker* recipe:

Bread maker instructions

…I’ve been able to consistently produce a tasty, if slightly doughy-crusted pizza like this:

Testing testing 123

…in our oven at home in about 15 minutes, cranking the heat up as far as it’ll go and using a pizza stone.

What I REALLY want is a thinner, crispier pizza base, Italian / New York style, the kind of thing Tom Ripley would have in Napoli.

So, when I was entertaining at the beach, with access to a BBQ with a hood, it was time to try out my theory that a hooded BBQ would produce enough heat to really get a pizza cranking. I used Giovanni Tiso‘s fine pizza recipe to produce four adult size bases, and one for the bambina, using the trusty wine-bottle-as-rolling-pin method.

With hood down and all three burners cranked right up for about ten minutes, we were ready. Using one of those non-stick BBQ / baking sheets to cover the flames, the first couple of bases took five minutes each and were a little charred on the bottom – but still came out proper crispy and light. After turning the heat down, the last three came out just fine after six or seven minutes each, if a little under-done on top. A couple of minutes under the grill would have finished the job nicely, but everyone was too hungry for any of that carry-on.

Birthday tea cc @gtiso
I was pleased with the results, and feedback from the diners was encouraging. I’ll try this again, probably using a pizza stone.

Next experiments at home include using the fancy ‘0’ type flour I picked up at Farro’s and the NY Times’ ‘fry it in a frypan and stick it under the grill’ recipe.

* minus the wholemeal

8 responses

  1. Giovanni Avatar

    Wonderful. Six-seven minutes is a good cooking time, and getting the base nice and crispy is the key. From the picture it looks quite top heavy compared to a classic napoletana, if you reduce the filling a tad it might cook better on top as well.

    I used to use ’00’ in Italy and I’ve since discovered since moving to high grade that it was in fact too finely ground – I think high grade (which may in fact be ‘0’) is best, for pizza and definitely for bread.

  2. che tibby Avatar
    che tibby

    it’s looking good!

    i’m with gio on the top-heavy call though. pizza is a dish where less is more.

    and be careful with that tomatoe base. looks like it’s blackening your crust.

  3. Thomas Avatar

    Looking good – Are you putting some fork holes in the base before cooking? Apparently it’s what every good pizza needs to help the base cook through?? Anyway – it works for me.

  4. Richard Avatar

    @Giovanni – thanks! I guess that’s the Kiwi in me, I can’t LOOK at a pizza without wanting to load it up like a free buffet plate. At least I left off the Watties spaghetti for now.

    I’ve always had good results using high grade flour, like I say, I’ll see if this ‘0’ flour makes a significant difference.

    @Che – fair call, see above. I felt bad feeding blackened pizza to the wee chap alright, for a couple of seconds.

    @Thomas – thanks, and no, no holes, that’s a new one on me. The guys above might have opinion on that.

    Thanks guys 🙂

  5. che tibby Avatar
    che tibby

    you could try the fork holes method, but i’ve aways found just limiting the water in the toppings to help a lot with the cooking too.

    too much soggy topping = one hell of a soggy pizza.

  6. Giovanni Avatar

    I’m with Che – you might have to mdoerate the Kiwi in you if you want to succeed at thin base pizza. Otherwise go for the tick base, which allows for longer cooking time.

  7. che tibby Avatar
    che tibby

    however, you can also read my comment as:

    boatloads of bacon, salami, ham. hardly any pineapple, tomato, mushrooms (especially mushrooms).

    not much water in cured meats. 🙂

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