Rome – Not Built In a Day

– but not a bad start.

Us aged and vulnerable people have taken our first couple of local excursions since lock-down in the past two or three weeks. A couple of OK meals that leave you longing for something special – at least more special than you can make yourself at home.

My baking mate, Kev told me about a place in Menai Bridge, Plus 39, he thought was worth a visit. So we visited.

Basically they do Bruschette, Focacce and – Pinse. Must confess, never heard of Pinse, and checking it out on the net wasn’t very easy – especially because “Pinse”, in Scandiwegian languages, means “Pentecost” – until I found that the dough related information was listed under the singular, Pinsa. And most of what I could find came from people on US forums arguing about the particular flours and proportions essential to an authentic Pinsa dough. Seems rice flour, soya and spelt in addition to bread flour is the way to go.

But first a revelation – the food at Plus 39 is seriously good. Don’t mean complicated or sophisticated but simple, honest, good ingredients, no bollocks. Perfect, crisp, bubbly bases made from proper dough. You don’t often hear me say something like that about restaurant bread. Came home determined to give it a punt.

All I know about it is it’s a Roman style dough, so naturally I turn to an Australian book, Stefano Manfredi’s “New Pizza” because at least he takes doughs seriously. No way is a relatively low hydration, 100% wholemeal formula going to replicate what we had at Plus 39 but my pizza making needs a bit of discipline so I followed his Basic Roman Style recipe to the letter.

Even after 24 hours in the fridge, the dough was very tight and did not want to be pressed out very far despite rests. (Using my own fresh milled grain – something else to get used to.)

Made two bases @ 250g, brushed with olive oil, baked 10 minutes @ 300C top & bottom. Added tomato sauce and cheese baked another 10 minutes. Topped with thinly sliced fried courgettes, a little cured duck and serrano, few salad leaves.

OK, so the results look pretty clunky and not at all like what I was hoping to achieve. But it was absolutely delicious – that big thick crust was biscuity on the outside and soft on the inside with really good flavour.

We’re on our way …

Categories: Uncategorized

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