Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sourdough Pizza

Every Thanksgiving my brother and I take my nephew up to Yorktown Heights to visit my aunt and uncle, all their kids come and all the cousins get to hang out young and older. Many many times my uncle has offered to give me some of his sourdough starter.  He's been making sourdough bread, rolls, and pancakes with it for over 30 years.  I always declined because I always wanted to make my own.  Several years ago I had the perfect opportunity to make my own starter but I was careless and I didn't have time to use it.  That was unfortunate because I had made a wonderful starter from a variety of local organic fruit and organic flour that was ver lively. But this year I got off my high horse and asked my uncle for some of his.  Luckily he's a very generous man and since we were staying the night, he took it out showed me how to feed it and made copies of the original recipes and instructions that he haed.  In the morning h gave me a portion to take home.

Since Thanksgiving I've had the opportunity to make dozens of batches of pizza dough for some new friends. One of whom, Chris, who has built a wood fired brick pizza oven in his back yard.  Yeah, way to go Chris!!!! Now I had already conquered the task of making the best New York style pizza, imagine Famous Rays that really was great! Not only in a deck oven (I was working in a bakery at the time) but in my home oven as well.  I happen to be lucky enough to have a piece of composite oven floor in my oven at home.

Now my thoughts have moved on to thin crust and that chewy yummy flavor and texture of the type Una Pizza Napoletana is like.

In 2006 the New York Times published the piece Jim Layhey's no knead bread. Then at the beginning of 2009 Tasting Table did a piece on Jim Lahey's new restaurant Co.and published his recipe for his no knead Pizza Dough.  The no knead bread was fun and everyone was talking about it and trying it.  But the no knead pizza dough is amazing and pretty full proof at that.  The dough works in a wood fired pizza oven, at home on a pizza stone and even in an electric oven on a cookie sheet.  I've used various flours, and even more various toppings. I've added more flour and let it sit for 24 hours in the refrigerator.  And then I took a chance and made up a version for my sourdough starter. Each batch is tasty and unique depending on the flour and yeast used.  The dough is light and crisp and very consistent.

I am now researching various pizza dough recipes and I've discovered a plethera of information that slowly but surely I am putting to use.  Unfortunately as much as I love bread and dough and pizza, I can eat just so much on my own and I have to freeze the rest.  As my experimenting continues I will keep you updated.

Here's to a productive Happy New Year and eating lots of good food and making lots of great pizza!

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