Eat The Seasons
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Home made pizza using fresh yeast dough
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500 g (1.1 lb) Italian "00" or "0" type flour for pizza (alternatively use plain flour) bp 100% 15 g Fresh yeast (fresh compressed yeast) bp 3% 10 g (1 tablespoon) Fine sea salt bp 2% 5 g (1 teaspoon) Malt extract bp 1% - optional 20 g (2 level tablespoons) Extra virgin olive oil bp 4% 300 g (½ pint + 1 fl oz) Tepid water bp 60%
Preparation of the pizza dough: Before starting, I make sure that the room where I prepare the dough is warm. In the winter, I suggest a temperature of about 22ºC (73ºF) and in the summer time, where the temperature in the house could be higher, I would reduce the quantity of yeast. Put the flour into a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, stir to evenly distribute the salt within the flour. Crumble the fresh yeast with your hand and add it into the bowl. Rub the fresh yeast through the flour, to further break it down (1 or 2 minutes will be sufficient). Add the malt extract to the water and stir. It should dissolve in few seconds. Add the water and malt mix into the bowl. Add the olive oil into the bowl. Using your hand, start mixing in circular motion. Keep mixing until all the ingredients come together. After a couple of minutes mixing, you should have a dough at its early stage of development. Now, we knead the dough so that it can develop the gluten and become firmer. The pizza dough in this recipe has 60% hydration. This quantity of water should give you a firm dough, however not all the pizza flours have the same quantity of proteins, so if you end up using a pizza flour at its lowest protein content, during a very humid day, you may have to knead a soft dough instead of a firm dough. If that is the case, knead the dough using the stretch and fold method When the dough has been kneaded for at least 10 minutes, you should have a smooth, silky and elastic dough. Now, we need to shape the dough into a ball. To do so, lift and fold the outer edges of the dough towards the centre, while rotating the dough at the same time and tucking the edges into the centre of the ball. When finished, turn the dough over and with both hands rotate the dough while applying gentle pressure to the bottom (as if tucking the dough underneath). Grease the inside of a large bowl with a thin coat of olive oil. Roll the ball inside the bowl, lightly coating the surface of the ball with oil. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rise for a couple of hours. This is called bulk fermentation. Before we do anything with our dough, we need to wait until it has raised properly. I have seen recipes around, saying “raise until it has double in volume”; this sometimes can happen in less than one hour; this time is not enough to develop the dough structure and flavour, so I advise to stick to 2 hours. Next, divide the dough in five segments of equal weight (150-160 g each). Make a ball out of each segment. To do so, roughly pre-shape the segment into a ball, then cup your hands over the ball. Press down and move your hand in a circular motion, while keeping the hand cupped. This action will compact the ball into a tight round shape. Spread some flour over the working surface and lay your dough balls onto it. Cover the dough balls with a dry cloth and leave them to rest for 1 hour. This time is called final fermentation. Once the final fermentation is completed, lightly flour the working surface and take the first dough ball. Using a rolling pin, start rolling so that you can make a large circle. The pizza base should match a 30 cm (12") diameter pizza tray. The pizza base should be very thin; I would say 2 or 3 millimetres (1/16" or 1/8") thick. Be sure that the bottom of the pizza base is appropriately floured before to drag it over the pizza tray. I like to make the base a bit larger than the tray, so that I can make a rim folding the outer edge towards the centre, but you can also decide to make a smaller circle and have a flat outer edge. Always pre-heat the oven, to ensure baking the pizza straightaway at the right temperature. The oven should be set at the maximum temperature (usually 240ºC - 465ºF). If the oven is at the right temperature and your pizza is thin, it should take about 7/10 minutes to cook. Fan assisted ovens may require a different cooking time. After 5 minutes cooking, checking the pizza frequently is a good idea. When the border starts to become golden brown, it is probably the right time to take the pizza out of the oven.
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Note 1: the easiest way to make tepid water is to mix two parts cold water with one part boiling water. However, when preparing the tepid water, be aware that above 46ºC (115ºF) the yeast will start suffering because of the excessive heat and ultimately it will die if the water temperature reaches 63ºC (145ºF). Note 2: the exact equivalent, in volume, of 300 g of water is 300 ml. This does not apply with other liquids or liquid fats (i.e. olive oil). Note 3: with 500 g (1.1 lb) of flour you should be able to make 5 large pizza bases of about 30 cm diameter.
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