Saturday, 28 May 2016

Pizza Bianca Funghi (white pizza with mushrooms)

White pizza has fast become a favourite of mine. I first had one when I went to the Italian restaurant Zizzi and fell in love. It comes away from the classic tomato flavour that crosses between all other pizzas, whether they're thin and crispy or deep and fluffy, but it certainly doesn't lose anything. What I've done here it to really simplify it but it can be easily adapted and played around with to incorporate other ingredients and tastes. 

Tips for dough and pizza making:
  • Using cold water and letting the dough prove in a cool place will mean the proving process will take longer, but this allows the dough to develop a better flavour.
  • If you're in a rush, use tepid water - when you dip your finger in it, it shouldn't feel hot or cold, just wet. DO NOT use hot water can kill the yeast and stop the dough from rising.
  • You can get fresh yeast for the bakery section of large supermarkets, and usually it's free. If you get too much, portion the rest up and freeze it for another time.
  • Dough can be frozen. Do this after the proving stage.
  • Preheat your oven with a pizza stone inside. If you don't have a pizza stone, try using an upturned flat tray. This helps cook the pizza from the underneath, giving a crispy base.
  • Don't over-do the toppings. This can prevent the heat from penetrating from the top and into the base. 
  • Pizza peels are very useful. Dust one with semolina and it'll help slide the pizza into the oven.

For the dough:

500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
20g coarse semolina, plus extra for dusting
10g salt
15g fresh yeast
50g rapeseed oil
320g water

Toppings per pizza:

100g mascarpone
75g mozzarella, broken into small pieces
40g Parmesan, finely grated
3 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Using a stand mixer to make the dough, pour the water into the bowl followed by the rest of the ingredients. Use a dough hook and knead for about 10 minutes on a medium speed, until it is smooth and elasticated.  Tip it out on to a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball before returning it to the bowl, covering with a clean tea towel and allowing it to prove for an hour.

Whilst the dough is proving, preheat your oven to 220C with a pizza stone inside.

Take the dough out of the bowl and cut three. If you're not using all three balls, they can be frozen at this point.

Stretch the dough out into a circle and transfer to a pizza peel that's been lightly dusted with semolina. Add your toppings then shimmy it into the oven. Cook for about 10-15 minutes.

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