Old Dog: Pizza 2

This is my second attempt (1st one here) at Peter Reinhart’s Detroit style pizza using my own 80% hydration pizza dough. The dough had been refrigerated for 24 hours before I started.

His recipes are for two pizzas baked in 9″ square tins. I baked a single pizza using an 8″ tin, scaling the dough and the cheese down. I calculate that he uses 7.2 grams of dough per square inch and 2.8 grams cheese which works out at 460g dough and 180g cheese for the 8″ tin.

His basic method is to oil the tin well and to press the dough out to the edges by dimpling over a period of about an hour (3×20 minute intervals). You can speed this up by scaling the dough into the tin the night before and returning to the fridge.

The second feature of the method is that the cheese is cut into small cubes and half is pressed into the dough at the start of proving.

Proving goes on for 4-6 hours and the dough bubbles up around the cheese.

Most of his toppings are pretty substantial and are based on popular American sandwiches. This is comprehensively entitled “Philly-Style Roast Pork with Broccoli Rabe”. I substituted braised pork and spinach.

So the running order was a a “generous” (his description) layer of pork chunks, a layer of sauteed sliced onion, red pepper and garlic, followed by the second half of the cheese.

Baked at 240C for about 18 minutes.

Layer of spinach, few squirts of a pizza sauce, back in the oven for a minute. He suggests using Hoagie Spread. First I googled “Hoagie Spread”, didn’t have the ingredients, found the commercial version on ebay – £5.94 + £22.35 postage from the US – thought I could do without it.

It’s a pretty hefty boy.

The crumb is much more open than it appears – the knife has dragged down the topping.

And you can see that the base was fully cooked.

So, what do I think? Too much topping, too much cheese, too much dough. Sue and I could only get through half of it – but then we’re not citizens of Detroit. But there’s lots more in this book that I haven’t touched yet and the best thing about it so far is that it’s made me reconsider my ideas and methods and helped my brain to start functioning again. After all, books aren’t blueprints, they’re there to make you think.

Right now, the best thing is the simplest focaccia just with herb oil. Same dough (another 24 hours down the line) and method as above (460g for an 8″ tin). Same timings.

Dimple the herb oil into the dough.

Bake about 18 minutes at 240C.

Can’t be beat!

Perfect Pan Pizza – Peter Reinhart

But then, nothing to do with the Reinhart book, a further 24hrs down the line, the last of the dough:

Instant (in the time it takes to heat your oven to 250C) rustic buns.

Baked for 15 minutes just before the burgers are grilled, after the first frying of the chips – not need to grill, just add mayo …

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