Recipe: the woodward pizza
There’s something to be said for sharing a good meal with good people. Aran was in town this past week to teach at The Makerie in Boulder, so Jeremy and I met up with her at The Kitchen for a lovely evening. We shared a family-style dinner that was almost as excellent as the conversation, the company, and the laughter. Despite traveling and meeting people all day, after 20+ hours, Aran was delightful and genuinely sincere as always. Jeremy said it best, “Aran is good people.”
filet on spinach with bernaise
aran was happy to be back in colorado
So did anyone stay up to catch the Lyrids meteor shower over the weekend? I’m going to guess the majority of you did not. That’s okay, because I did and there are pictures to prove it! The best one I was able to capture was at 2 am while I stood in my neighbor’s driveway (they said I could). It was brilliant and lasted several seconds.
that’s my house in silhouette
We used to have to drive 4.5 hours to get to a decent dark sky site when we lived in California. Now? Less than 30 seconds of walking and I’m there (on my deck or in my neighbor’s driveway). You know what else we used to do? We used to order pizza when we didn’t have the time to make our own dough. Things have changed.
with the help of this book
I received Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day from St. Martin’s Press back in October. It was written by Jeff Hertzberg and my friend, Zoë François. Yes, I realize it is now April, but I didn’t want to write about my experience with the book until I could do it properly. We have made a lot of ghetto pizza at home in the past, but I finally went out and procured a pizza stone and pizza peel. And because a 550°F oven in warm weather makes me cranky, we also have a proper grill (one that doesn’t simultaneously undercook and scorch the same piece of food). Huzzah!
you will need: flour, water, salt, yeast, and olive oil
the water should be 100°F
add the yeast and salt
After learning about all of the equipment involved in pizza-making, I started with the olive oil dough variation on their master recipe. There are many other recipes in the book and not just pizza dough recipes (gluten-free too!), but focaccia, pita, tarts, pies, soups, dips, and spreads. However, we really needed to get our pizza dough down in this house once and for all.
add olive oil
add the flour
a slightly sticky, viscous dough
It looks like your basic pizza dough ingredients, right? Except the key to the whole “in five minutes a day” is that you make a nice big batch of dough, store it in your refrigerator, and use it as needed over the next couple of weeks. The basic recipe just fits in my 5-quart stand mixer bowl. I give it a little stir with a spatula to moisten the ingredients and to avoid the flinging-of-flour ritual. You could store it in a large bowl covered with plastic, but this was the perfect excuse to go and get a food-grade bucket from my local home-brewing shop. I love buckets. When the young men working the counter asked me what I was making with the bucket, I replied, “Pizza dough!” They were surprised, but completely enthusiastic and I told them to get Zoë’s book.
[Edit: So many have inquired after my bucket (which I have named Wheatley). I purchased it from Hop To It Homebrew in Boulder at 2900 Valmont Rd. near 29th St. It is a 2 gallon food-grade fermenting bucket which cost me about $5.50. The lid is sold separately for $3.]
there’s a hole in my bucket, dear liza, dear liza…
place the dough in a vessel (like this awesome bucket!)
let it rise for 2 hours
Okay, that was pretty easy. I think the hard part is the waiting. For first-timers (me), it is recommended to let the dough refrigerate overnight (makes it easier to handle). Oh, and that hole in the lid of my bucket allows the gases given off due to fermentation to escape without exploding the bucket in my refrigerator. Awesome! You can refrigerate the dough for up to two weeks, but so far, we have gone through it faster than it can expire. It’s just too easy to make great pizza.
grab a half-pound wad of dough (the size of a large orange)
stretch the surface of the dough down on all sides to form a smooth ball
I have rolling-pinned my dough and I’ve tossed my dough. Both work fine. I did notice that Kaweah took a step closer to me with each toss… If your dough isn’t rolling out (keeps springing back) let it rest for a few minutes to allow the gluten to relax – it will be easier to roll or toss. My ultimate goal was to reproduce a favorite pizza at Secret Stash in Crested Butte, Colorado – a good 4+ hour drive from here. The Woodward pizza has a garlic butter base, fresh spinach, prosciutto, mozzarella, a salt and pepper crust, and is topped with eggs. The only thing I changed was fresh arugula (added after baking) instead of the fresh spinach, which leaves a funky gritty film on my teeth.
prosciutto, mozzarella, garlic butter, fresh eggs, baby arugula
salt and pepper the crust, then spread some garlic butter on top
add sliced mozzarella and prosciutto
It was hot over the weekend, so we grilled our pizzas on a pizza stone. That worked well for us, otherwise I think we would have lost a pizza or two between the grates. Once you transfer the pizza from the peel to the stone, add the cracked egg on top. I haven’t mastered making large pizzas, so one egg per little pizza (about 12-inches in diameter) works perfectly. Seven minutes on the grill yields a soft-cooked yolk.
add the egg as soon as the pizza hits the stone
that looks ready
Once the pizza is done, sprinkle fresh arugula on top and serve hot or else you will waste all of that gooey egg yolk goodness. The dough is crisp outside and chewy inside. You know how some folks have crust left after they eat pizza? This is not one of those pizzas. You will eat the crust and you will relish every bite. We love the flavor and texture. I have to say it is especially good with that garlic butter base.
We’ll still go to Crested Butte a couple of times a year and we’ll still stop by Secret Stash for our pizza fix, but I foresee cranking out heaps of great homemade pizzas right here from now on. Big thanks to Zoë, Jeff, and the little bucket!
my version of the woodward
best pizza i’ve ever made
Full disclosure: I received a free copy of Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day from St. Martin’s Press without any obligation.
flour or cornmeal for the pizza peel
2 half-pound balls olive oil pizza dough (see below)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup garlic butter (see below)
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced
6 thin slices prosciutto
2 cups fresh arugula
olive oil pizza dough
3 1/6 cups or 25.3 oz. (725 g) water at 100°F
1 tbsp (10 g) granulated yeast
1 1/2 tbsps (25 g) kosher salt
1/3 cup or 2.5 oz. (70 g) olive oil
7 1/2 cups or 38 oz. (1080 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
Make the dough: In a mixing bowl or the vessel you plan to store your dough, measure that the water is 100°F. Add the yeast and salt to the water. Stir in the olive oil. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon, Danish dough whisk, or use the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. Make sure all of the flour is incorporated (you may have to use your hands if stirring with a spoon), but don’t knead the dough. It goes quickly if using the mixer. If you didn’t mix your dough in your storage container, transfer the dough to that container. Cover the container with a non-airtight lid and let the dough rise at room temperature for two hours or until the dough flattens on top. Don’t punch the dough down! Refrigerate the dough with the non-airtight lid. It should be good for the next 14-days (it will deflate, but that’s okay). Makes enough dough for eight 1/2-pound balls of dough.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup (4 tbsps) unsalted butter, softened
Make the garlic butter: Gather the minced garlic into a small pile. Sprinkle the salt over the garlic. Turn a heavy knife blade on its side and mash the salt into the garlic to form a paste. Add the paste to the butter and mix well.
Make the pizzas: Get all of your toppings together first to minimize the amount of time the dough spends on the peel (because it will stick). Preheat your pizza stone in the bottom third of the oven to 550°F. Sprinkle your pizza peel with cornmeal or flour (to prevent sticking). Now sprinkle some flour over the surface of your refrigerated dough. Reach in, grab a handful of the dough, and pull up. Using kitchen shears or a knife, cut off about a half pound of dough (the size of a large orange). Add a little flour to your hands and gently stretch the top of the dough down around to the bottom on all sides. It’s like you’re petting the top of the dough, stroking it down and tucking it under the bottom. Turn 90 degrees and repeat until you have a nice and smooth ball. Flatten the dough on a floured work surface or onto the peel and roll it out to 1/8-inch thickness. Transfer the dough to your peel if it isn’t on there already and roll or shape it to a 12-inch diameter. Add more flour as you work to keep the dough from sticking to the peel. If you are comfortable tossing the dough, then do so (I, Jen, have no business instructing ANYONE on how to toss pizza dough).
Sprinkle salt and pepper over the dough. Spread 2 tablespoons of the garlic butter over the dough. Place slices of mozzarella on the garlic butter (don’t overdo it). Tear up two to three slices of prosciutto and scatter them over the pizza. Shake the peel to make sure the pizza is not sticking (if it is, gently use a dough scraper or a knife to unstick it and toss a little cornmeal or flour underneath the trouble spot between the dough and the peel. Set the tip of the peel on the far end of the pizza stone and give it a jiggle so that the pizza begins to slide off and the edge is resting on the stone. Pull the peel out from under the pizza at an angle (to encourage the pizza to disengage). Bake for 8-10 minutes, but check for doneness. Remove from heat and serve. Repeat for the second pizza. Makes two 12-inch pizzas.