Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pizza Napoletana - Bread Baker's Apprentice #11

So why, you might ask, Why am I showing a picture of a pretzel and a couple pretzel sticks of this is a post about Pizza dough???

Glad you asked.  the recipe is a make ahead.  Meaning you make six servings and either freeze or refrigerate the dough.  This recipe makes a terrific crispy outer layer.  But the insides are creamy, soft and wonderful (if you make a thick crust pizza... or a pretzel.  Besides, I will be doing pizza posts soon, this post is just about the dough.  The pretzels makes a better 1st photo than a ball of dough.

Another week spent in the Caribbean, it must be my day to post my bread baking adventures for the week. I promised myself on New Year's Eve that I would be trying to learn more as a bread baker, and if possible to cook through the"The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread" book. I brought three cookbooks with me to my island adventure. The "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" book was one. 

And I am loving this bread formula for a number of reasons.  It uses cold water instead of warm water.  It also uses a very small amount of yeast.  This causes a small amount of rise, leaving a heavy dense dough that has all the flavor condensed into the small amount used for the recipes.  the recipe makes so much more than just a thin piece of bread.  It's a killer!

I will save the recipe here for posterity, but if/when you are lucky/smart enough to have a copy of the book, there are 6 pages of commentary and photos making this one of the more idiot proof recipes in the book.  Every word is gold, not to be missed.  Head to the library if you want to read some beautiful turns of phrases.

But i digress away from the recipe...

4 1/2 cups chilled Flour
1 3/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp instant Yeast
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 3/4 cups COLD Water (40 degrees)

 OK, did you read the 2 cold ingredients.  Takes an extra hour or two of planning, I measure the water and the flour and pop them in the fridge for a couple hours to get cold.  The small amount of yeast, relative to the amount of flour and the cold will make for a flat bread, almost no fermentation (rise).  Just enough to soften the taste, but not make a big rise.

I took a shot with this recipe.  I mixed and kneaded this recipe in a gallon size ziplock bag.  Worked great, largely I believe because of the oil in the recipe.  Without that, the dough would be too sticky to mix in a bag.  But this sure made clean up easy.  

Here's what I did...
  • Mix the dry ingredients first
  • add the water and oil about a fourth of each at a time
  • mix well until all the flour is hydrated and you form a large dough ball in your bag
  • continue kneading for about 10 minutes
  • And now, time to divide...  Generously sprinkle a work surface with flour.  Also, prepare 6 ziplock sandwich size bags (bigger works fine as well) by spraying the insides of them with spray canola oil.
  • Plop the dough ball into the flour and coat well.  Divide into 6 equal parts (or fewer if you know you are making larger pizzas).  Put each dough ball into a prepared ziplock bag and refrigerate at least 6 hours, and preferably overnight.
  • They store for 3 days in the fridge, and can be frozen at this time if you are making in advance.
And from here, it depends on what you do with the dough...

I made a Stromboli that the dough needs to be handled different than a...

Fried toast point appetizer (an incredible recipe), which the dough needed to be handled different than a...

Glass full of pizza sticks ready to be dipped in marinara sauce, which the dough needed to be handled different than a...

Brie stuffed BLT Calzone, which the dough needed to be handled different from a...

Yes, you can also make a pizza from this recipe.  Very versatile.  Anything that you want a crispy outside and creamy chewy inside.

Like pretzels...

  • Form the dough into whatever pretzel shape you like... Pretzel sticks works great.
  • lay them out on parchment paper lined baking stone
  • Brush with a whipped egg.
  • Add toppings.  I like either some rough cut sea salt or a mixture of white/black sesame seeds and sea salt.
  • Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • Cool and eat.
Just cause there is pizza in the title, don't limit yourself to just pizza with this recipe.

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The book is LARGE, lots of photos, and information.  Filled with dozens of recipes and easy to follow step by step directions.  And now Amazon is selling this for nearly half price (less than half if you want a used copy.  Follow the link  above and order TODAY!...

Any of those recipes I showed pictures above that you want to see?  

Drop me a comment.


  1. Personally, I believe pizza dough would make for a fantastic pretzel. So good. Call.

    Your stromboli looks like it is seriously loaded with deliciousness!

  2. I seriously want to eat them all...very creative use of the dough Dave!

  3. Well done. I am always looking for interesting new dough recipes. This looks like quite the versatile one.

  4. Great ways to use this dough. Love stromboli's!

  5. Everthing you made with this pizza dough looks delicious. Cheers, Catherine

  6. Well, I just clicked on your book icon to Amazon and bought the book! Looking forward to learning new things. Thanks. The stromboli looks deee-vine.

  7. Damn, that dough is a multitasker, isn't it? Holy smokes!

  8. I have been looking for a GOOD pizza dough recipe! I must try this. Will let you know how it turned out! THANKS!