Have you been looking for the secret to the amazing pizza crust you enjoyed in Italy? 00 flour!
Unlike American all-purpose flour, 00 flour is a very finely ground, low protein flour that creates a strong, chewy crust. This means that your crust will bubble beautifully in the oven, and will be strong enough support toppings when you pick it up.
The other secret to a great pizza crust is a very hot oven with a preheated stone. These pizzas will cook in 5 to 10 minutes if you crank the heat up to 500 degrees. Remember not to pile on too many toppings, or you may have trouble transferring the pizzas onto the hot stone.
We like to experiment with toppings. Last week, we made three pizza varieties. The first was tomato sauce with a slightly pungent goat cheese, sicilian olives, and some fancy, spicy salami from the Italian grocery store. The second was a home-made arugula pine nut pesto with mini sweet peppers and chevre, and the third (and our favorite) was drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, topped with figs, carmelized onions and burrata (heaven in a ball of cheese), and finished with fleur de sel. We like to sprinkle fresh basil on all of our pizzas as well.
Recipe: For the dough, follow this recipe from Jaime Oliver. You may need to add extra water if you live in a very dry climate. When the dough is finished rising, divide into eight balls.
1. Prepare your toppings in advace. Place your pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.
2. Prepare pizzas one at a time. Gently stretch the crust do your desired thinness. I like my crust pretty thin, so we aimed for 10 inch diameter pizzas.
3. Place the stretched crust on a cookie sheet and add your toppings. Using a large pizza peel, gently transfer your pizza onto the preheated stone. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until cheese is melted, crust has bubbled and is slightly browned. Watch your first pizza carefully to make sure you don’t burn it!