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Posts Tagged ‘dough’

By the Book: Carlo Mirarchi’s Margharita and Cheesus Christ Pizzas and Apple Salad

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013



The last time I was in New York, I went to Roberta’s in Brooklyn, and the pizza was just as good as the hype claimed. Since then, I’ve wanted to get my hands on its first book, Roberta’s Cookbook, so I could get some helpful tips from chef Carlo Mirarchi on making great pizza at home. The book has plenty of recipes for pasta, salads and entrees, too, but I wanted to tackle pizza.




Mirarchi shares helpful tips on how to make truly great pizza, from the best flours to use for homemade dough to DIY mozzarella. I don’t have a wood-burning pizza oven, which I’m sure would help, but with a little guidance from the book, the pizzas I made at home in my regular oven were delicious. The book instructs home cooks to use their  ovens like pizza ovens by placing a stone or tile on the rack and cranking the temperature as high as possible. The pizza is baked for 5 to 6 minutes, then broiled on high for 1 minute before it’s removed.




The dough recipe called for 00 flour, which you can find at DiGregorio’s, and offers two versions of the dough recipe: one with a homemade starter and one with store-bought yeast (one guess as to which I made). The dough came together easily: a little mixing, a little kneading and throw it in the fridge for 24 hours to proof.




The hard part was making the dough look like a pizza crust and not getting burned from my raging hot oven. (For the record, I did get burned. Badly.) The recipes instructs you to follow a slapping method that is detailed quite clearly with step-by-step photos on how to slap your pizza crust into shape instead of stretching and pulling at it. I suspect this takes a little practice because I slapped that dough around like an idiot, and it did not yield to my will. I ended up pulling and stretching it into submission – sorry, Carlo!




I rounded out the meal with an apple salad – an odd combination of ingredients for a salad, but it worked. The apples are tart, the burrata creates a luxurious dressing, and the honey adds a sweet, floral note.

In the end, the Cheesus Christ and Margherita pizzas I made were good, and my family liked it. They were affordable, fun, and even though my kitchen is still a mess, it was all worth it.



Cheesus Christ
Makes 1 12-inch pizza

1 12-inch round pizza dough (Recipe follows.)
20 g. (4 tsp.) heavy cream
60 g. (2 oz.) fresh mozzarella
40 g. (1½ oz.) taleggio*
Freshly ground black pepper
30 g. (1 oz.) Parmigiano, finely grated

• Preheat oven to the highest temperature possible. Place a pizza stone or tiles on the middle rack of the oven and let it heat for 1 hour.
• Drizzle the heavy cream over the dough. Break the mozzarella into several large chunks and distribute it over the pizza. Break the taleggio into pieces and do the same. Give the pizza 8 to 10 grinds of black pepper.
• Bake the pizza until the crust is golden brown and bubbly, and finish it immediately with the Parmigiano.

* Taleggio, which is from the Lombardy region of Italy, is a really pungent but actually mild and buttery-tasting soft cheese. (Editor’s note: Taleggio can be found at Whole Foods in Brentwood.)



Margherita Pizza
Makes 1 12-inch pizza

1 12-inch round pizza dough (Recipe follows.)
43 g. (3 Tbsp.) sauce (Recipe follows.)
Some good olive oil
4 or 5 basil leaves, torn into pieces
80 g. (2¾ oz.) fresh mozzarella

• Preheat the oven to the highest temperature possible. Place a pizza stone or tiles on the middle rack of the oven and let it heat for 1 hour.
• Put the sauce in the center of the dough round and use the back of a spoon to spread it evenly over the pizza, stopping about ½ inch from the edge. Drizzle a little olive oil over the sauce and scatter the basil on top. (We put the basil under the cheese so that the heat from the wood-fired oven doesn’t incinerate it. If you prefer, you can scatter it over the cheese, but we’ve grown to like it this way.)
• Break the mozzarella into several large chunks and distribute it over the pizza. Bake the pizza until the crust is golden brown and bubbly.


Pizza Dough with Store-Bought Yeast
Makes 2 (240 gram/8.5 ounce) dough rounds, enough for 2 12-inch pizzas

306 g. (2 ½ cups) 50-50 blend 00 flour and King Arthur all-purpose flour
8 g. (scant 2 tsp.) fine sea salt
4 g. (scant 1 tsp.) fresh yeast or 2 g. (scant ½ tsp.) active dry yeast
4 g. (scant 1 tsp.) good olive oil
202 grams (1 cup minus 1 tbsp.) lukewarm water

• In a bowl, thoroughly combine the flour and the salt and make a well in the center.
• In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the yeast, olive oil and lukewarm water.
• Pour the wet mixture in the well in the dry mixture and begin mixing the two together with your hands, gradually incorporating the dry into the wet. This process will be more like mixing than kneading. After about 3 minutes, when the wet and dry are well combined, set the mixture aside and let it rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes. This allows time for the flour to absorb the moisture.
• Flour your hands and a work surface. Gently but firmly knead the mixture on the work surface as needed. The dough will be moist and sticky, but after a few minutes of kneading it should come together into a smooth mass.
• Divide the dough into 2 pieces, shape them gently into balls, and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 24 and up to 48 hours before using. This process, called proofing, allows for the fermentation that gives the dough structure – which means a chewy, pliable crust – and flavor.
• To “slap out” the dough: Pick up your disk of dough and hold your hands parallel to the floor. Then squeeze your fingers together and curve them so your hands are like paddles. Drape the dough over one hand and flip it over to the other hand in a smooth motion. Continue moving the dough slowly back and froth, rotating it 90 degrees every few seconds so that you end up with a circle. It will start to stretch. After 1 to 2 minutes, you should have a round of dough that’s about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a floured pizza peel – preferably a metal one – and gently push out any edges that need pushing to make a better looking circle.


Pizza Sauce
Makes about 350 grams (1½ cups)

1 28-oz. can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
Some good olive oil
Fine sea salt

• Drain the tomatoes and discard the juice (or use it for bloody marys) Use an immersion blender or a regular blender to puree the tomatoes until almost smooth.
• Add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt, blend until smooth, and taste. Add more olive oil and salt to taste, if needed, but keep in mind that the sauce will reduce a little bit when it’s baked on a pizza, so it will only get saltier.
• The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and up to 6 months in the freezer.



Apple, Burrata, Sorrel, Honey Salad
2 Servings

2 apples, such as Winesap or Pink Lady, washed and chilled
100 g. (3½ oz.) burrata in its liquid*
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Honey to taste
A handful of sorrel leaves, torn

• If your apples haven’t been in the refrigerator, put them there for at least half an hour before you move on to the next step.
• Cut the apples into 4 big sections each and core them. Cut those sections up into medium-size chunks; they shouldn’t be totally uniform in shape. Put the apple chunks in a medium bowl and add the burrata, torn into chunks, some of its liquid, and a pinch of salt, and toss it all together. You want the apple chunks to be well coated with the cheese and liquid.
• Divide the apples between two plates and give each plate a grind of black pepper. Drizzle with a little honey and garnish generously with torn sorrel leaves (The sorrel isn’t just for looks – it adds a really nice lemony flavor.). Serve.

*Burrata is an Italian cheese, originally from Puglia, that’s a relative of mozzarella but much, much creamier. There are American versions of it now, too. (Editor’s note: Burrata can be found Whole Foods in Brentwood.)

Reprinted with permission from Clarkson Potter Publishers

What dish have you attempted to recreate from a restaurant and how did it turn out? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Roberta‘s Cookbook by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hay, Chris Parachini and Katherine Wheelock. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Robin, whose answer on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of SPQR by Shelley Lindgren and Matthew Accarrino.  Robin, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.




The Ultimate Margherita Pizza

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Crust. Tomatoes. Mozzarella. Basil. The queen of Neopolitan pizza is understated in her simplicity, yet efforts to achieve this crowning beauty have caused countless headaches in the kitchen. Finally, area experts reveal their essential tricks to making the ultimate Margherita pizza at home.

“Pizza is the most easiest, complicated thing to make. I know people who have been trying to make the perfect pizza for 20 years!” – Vito Racanelli, chef-owner, Mad Tomato

The Tools: You don’t have to have a wood-fired oven to get the thin, crispy crust and great chew of a Neopolitan pizza (See the heat trick below.). But a tricked-out pizza peel and stone will elevate your pie to new heights.

G.I. Metal Perforated Aluminum Pizza Peel
Aluminum peels are durable, flexible and don’t dry out like wooden ones. The perforation lets you shake off excess flour before sliding the pizza onto the stone to avoid burning, and the rectangular shape gives you more surface area, making it easier to lift, slide and adjust the pizza. $96. (model A-45RF/50) gimetalusa.com

Emile Henry Ceramic Baking Stone
This rectangular, heat-tempered, scratch-proof, chip-proof, coated stone won’t crack in your oven and has more surface area than round versions, a crucial factor in achieving that crisp crust. $40 to 60. Kitchen Conservatory, 8021 Clayton Road, 314.862.2665, kitchenconservatory.com 

The Ingredients: We queried quite a few chefs about the brands they’ll bet the house on. Bonus: These high-quality products are all made in the USA.

Hodgson Mills Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
You don’t have to spend extra dough to make great dough. Unbleached, all-purpose flour is fine. This near-local company offers a high-quality product that’s available at most supermarkets.

Stanislas Alta Cucina “Naturale” Style Plum Tomatoes
“We tried every single Italian one,” said Gerard Craft, owner of Pastaria, who settled on this domestically grown tomato because it offers “a nice bite of acidity” and “the right consistency, just crushed on its own.” For a fresh sauce, simply crush the whole, peeled tomatoes in your hand and season with salt. A couple ladles is all you need; you should be able to see the dough through the sauce. No. 10 Can, 6 lbs. 7 oz.: $4.89. DiGregorio’s Market, 5200 Daggett Ave., St. Louis, 314.776.1062, digregoriofoods.com

Calabro Fior di Latte Cheese
Buffalo mozzarella? Not so fast. Cow’s milk can produce a cheese with fabulous flavor. This fior di latte has a lovely creaminess, mild saltiness and melts beautifully into the sauce. Cut it into slightly larger chunks (4 ounces cut into 6 slices for a 12-inch pizza); the cheese will take longer to melt, so it won’t burn by the time the crust is done. ½ lb.:$6. Pastaria, 7734 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.862.6603, pastariastl.com

Fresh basil
Some chefs add the leaves before popping the pizza in the oven; others wait until after. Place the outer, shiny side of the leaves up. If you add prior to baking, when drizzling olive oil over the pizza, drizzle some on the leaves to keep them from burning and discoloring.

The Technique: Creating a great pizza at home is all about technique. Let Ted Wilson, who trained under pizza god Jim Lahey, take you through it.

Find Wilson’s recipe for The Ultimate Pizza Dough, here.

Cover the dough with just enough flour so it doesn’t stick to your hands or the lightly floured work surface. Use the pads of your fingertips to gently push on the center of the dough until you feel the work surface but don’t break through the dough. Flatten and stretch the dough by pushing from the center of the dough and moving outwards until you get within 1 inch of the rim of the circle that’s taking shape. Give dough a quarter turn and repeat. Continue until a round disk forms. While stretching and shaping, place a hand under the dough to ensure it isn’t sticking. If so, toss a little flour onto the work surface. Gently guide dough outward from its underside as it rests on your fingers to stretch it further.

Ready the toppings before shaping the dough. Once the dough is shaped, quickly add the toppings in this order: sauce, cheese, basil (optional), drizzle of 1¼ to 1½ tablespoon of olive oil and a 4-fingered pinch of kosher salt. Leave the outer rim of the pizza untouched.

To get your home oven to reach restaurant-high temps, toggle between the bake and broil functions. Place the stone in the oven on a rack set in the topmost position with enough room for the pizza. Preheat the oven to its highest baking temperature for 30 to 45 minutes. Just before shaping the dough, switch to broil. Shape the dough, add the toppings, then use the peel to slide the pizza onto the hot stone. Switch the oven back to its highest bake temperature for 2 to 3 minutes, then back to broil. The pizza is done when the cheese is bubbling, the crust is charred but not burnt, and the underside is golden, about 3 more minutes (5 to 6 minutes total).

Pictured: Margherita pizza from The Good Pie, 3137 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.289.9391, thegoodpie.com

— photo by Greg Rannells

By the Book: Ken Forkish’s Same-Day Straight Pizza Dough

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

The number of minutes it took me to find instant dried yeast in the grocery store (an embarrassingly high number) is inversely proportional to my level of experience in making pizza dough, or any dough for that matter. I love pizza, though, and my husband and I received a beautiful pizza stone and peel for our wedding, which we frequently use … but only with store-bought dough that we then top with our own ingredients and consider homemade. So, when it came time for Sauce’s By the Book bread-themed cookbooks, I figured that learning to make pizza dough sounded like the most realistic and satisfying first step for a beginning bread baker like myself. From Ken Forkish’s book, Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza, I chose his recipe for same-day straight pizza dough because for me, when it comes to baking, prepping anything in advance usually just means we get take-out instead.

On the whole, the recipe isn’t hard, but many of Forkish’s techniques such as shaping and proofing require reading other sections of his book, for he covers bread-making as a whole, illustrating (pictured, above) certain techniques that you will continue to use in most every bread you’ll ever make.

When it came time to use the dough, mine looked like his dough in the pictures (for the most part), so I chose to remain optimistic and assumed my dough was going to be great. After shaping the dough and placing it on a floured pizza peel, I spread some garlic that I’d roasted to the consistency of a paste, topped it with a thin layer of marinara sauce, added lots of shredded mozzarella and torn basil and placed it on the piping hot pizza stone in the oven.

Was it great? I have a feeling Forkish would think not, getting all Goldilocks about how the crust was too tough or too chewy or too thick or not airy enough, but for me, it tasted pretty good. And the best part is that I have four more balls of dough in my fridge to experiment with later in the week.

Same-Day Straight Pizza Dough
Makes 5 340-gram dough balls, each of which will yield a thin-crust pizza-stone pizza about 12 inches in diameter or a thick-crust iron-skillet pizza.

This recipe is ideal if you want to make dough in the morning and bake pizza that evening. It’s even better if you refrigerate the dough balls overnight and make pizza the next day. What I often do with this recipe is make pizza two days in a row, or pizza one day, and the next day make focaccia, perhaps to serve alongside a meal, as a predinner snack, or for lunch.

Note that the dough doesn’t include olive oil, as pizza doughs often do. Therefore it bakes up crisper, with more open holes in the perimeter of the crust, which is how I like it. I do think drizzling olive oil on the dough after the pizza is baked is a great idea. The crust will showcase the flavor of the flour, so it’s best to use a good flour, preferably soft white 00 flour, Caputo brand if you can get it. If 00 flour isn’t available, use the best-quality all-purpose white flour you can obtain. The resulting flavors will be delicate, sweet wheat, and ideal for combining with high-quality tomatoes and toppings.

700 g. or 3 cups water, divided
2 g. or ½ tsp. instant dried yeast
1,000 g. or 7¾ cups white flour
20 g. or 1 Tbsp. plus ¾ tsp. fine sea salt
Special tool: pizza stone (optional)

• Hydrate the yeast. Measure 700 grams of water at 90 to 95 degrees into a container. Put 2 grams of yeast in a separate, small container. Add about 3 tablespoons of the water to the yeast and set aside.
• Autolyse. Combine the 1,000 grams of flour and the remaining water in a 12-quart round tub. Mix by hand just until incorporated. Cover and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
• Mix. Sprinkle the 20 grams of salt over the top of the dough. Stir the yeast mixture with your finger; then pour it over the dough. Use a small piece of the autolysed mixture to wipe the remaining yeast goop from its container, then throw it back in the tub.
• Mix by hand, wetting your working hand before mixing so the dough doesn’t stick to you. (It’s fine to rewet your hand three or four times while you mix.)
• Reach underneath the dough and grab about one-quarter of it. Gently stretch this section of dough and fold it over the top of the other side of the dough. Repeat three more times with the remaining dough, until the salt and yeast are fully enclosed.
• Use the pincer method (Using a pincerlike grip with your thumb and forefinger, squeeze big chunks of dough and then tighten your grip to cut through the dough. Do this repeatedly, working through the entire mass of dough. With your other hand, turn the tub while you’re mixing to give your active hand a good angle of attack.), alternating with folding the dough to fully integrate the ingredients. Cut and fold, cut and fold. The target dough temperature at the end of the mix is 77 to 78 degrees.
• Fold. This dough needs 1 fold. It’s best to apply the fold 30 to 60 minutes after mixing. After folding, lightly coat the dough and the bottom of the tub with olive oil to help prevent sticking. When the dough is about double its original volume, about 6 hours after mixing, it’s ready to be divided.
• Divide. Moderately flour a work surface about 2 feet wide. With floured hands, gently ease the dough out of the tub. With your hands still floured, pick up the dough and ease it back down onto the work surface in a somewhat even shape. Dust the entire top of the dough with flour, then cut it into 5 equal-size pieces with a dough knife or plastic dough scraper. Each piece should weigh about 340 grams; you can eyeball it or use a scale.
• Shape the dough into balls. Shape each piece of dough into a medium-tight round, working gently and being careful not to degas the dough.
• Refrigerate. Put the dough balls on a lightly floured baking sheet, leaving space between them to allow for expansion. Lightly oil or flour the tops, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to make the dough easier to shape.

To use the dough for pizza (as I did), you can use the technique you are most used to such as placing the crust on a pizza stone, pizza pan or a baking pan. As for shaping the ball of dough into a crust though, here are Forkish’s instructions:

• Remove the dough ball from the refrigerator, put it on the floured work surface, and gently pat it down a bit to coat the bottom with flour. Leaving about 1 inch of the outer rim undeflated, punch down the middle, then flip the dough over and repeat.
• Using both hands, grab the rim and lift so the dough hangs down vertically. Let gravity pull the rest of the dough down and stretch it. Run the rim between your hands, working all the way around the circumference of the dough several times.
• Next, make two fists and position them just inside the rim, with the dough still hanging vertically. Gently stretch and turn the dough repeatedly, still letting the bottom of the dough pull down, expanding the surface. Keep a close eye on the thickness of the dough. You want it thin, but you don’t want it to tear or develop holes. If you end up with a small tear, don’t panic – it’s OK to patch it.
• Spread the dough on the floured peel and run your hands around the perimeter to shape it into a round and work out the kinks.

Reprinted with permission from Ten Speed Press

What’s your favorite way to top a pizza when you’re making it at home? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast by Ken Forkish. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column. 

And now we’d like to congratulate Hao whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won him/her a copy of Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. Hao, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew. 


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