Happy New Year! May this new year bring joy, health, peace and safety for everyone.
My first pizza! So forgive me for the burnt bits of sundried tomatoes. 😛
I bought a baking stone from Taobao.com during their 11.11 big sale. This sale is annual and is meant as a celebration day for singles. Yeah, I think it’s to comfort us singles. I received my goods around mid-December but since I was going for a holiday to Japan, the stone was not used till now.
I did some research and it was said there is no need to season the baking stone.
The standard practice for Chinese when getting any clay equipment is to submerge that in water for a day. This is said to help prevent cracking or breakage. With that in mind, and plus my mum’s warning “You better soak it to prevent cracking!”, I did submerge the stone in water for a day. Yeah, it is stone and not clay but still, better safe than sorry. My baking stone is not the super high quality type and it doesn’t look like it came out of one piece of stone. It looks more like a clay tile really.
As per instruction for the pizza recipe from the talented Jim Lahey, I heated the stone on the highest temperature setting of my oven (supposedly 250C but I don’t think it hit that) an hour before I wanted to bake the pizza.
No-Knead Pizza dough (from Jim Lahey)
- 1 kg all-purpose flour or bread flour (I used 00 flour from Italy)
- 4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 3 cups (750ml) of water
- In a large bowl, whisk flour, salt and yeast until well combined.
- Gradually add water, stirring as you add, with a wooden spoon, until well combined.
- Gently scrape the dough and shape into a rough ball. Place in a large clean bowl, cover with cling wrap and proof at 22C for 18 hours.
- Flour the work area well. Scrape out dough and divide into 6 portions. Gently shape each portion into a ball.
- If using immediately, cover with a damp cloth and let rest for an hour. During this resting time, you can start heating the baking stone.
- Gently stretch the dough into the desired shape, using your fingertips and knuckles. Take a look at the video linked below for how to shape.
- Place the dough on a pizza paddle or an inverted tray, dusted with semolina or flour. Top with your desired toppings.
- Switch the oven function to grill and grill for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
The dough is just beautiful. Soft and just so cute! Not an appropriate word to describe pizza dough but it really is cute. Especially after shaping into a ball and dusting it with flour. Cute puffy dough ball sitting on the work board. 🙂
For the pizza sauce, I made a big batch without garlic, since I intend to use this sauce to make pizza for a Chinese vegetarian friend. His diet does not allow onions or garlic. Here, the vegetarian pizzas we can buy are really limited. The usual toppings are just mushrooms and red/green peppers (which he can’t eat too since he will get indigestion).
- 2 cans tomato puree
- 2 cans tomato paste
- MasterFoods Italian herbs (marjoram, basil, rosemary, oregano, capsicum, parsley and thyme)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (aged 4 years)
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Stir everything together in a saucepan over low heat.
- Simmer, stirring constantly to prevent the sauce from bubbling out, for 15 minutes.
- Let cool and store in a mason jar.
- If making pizza for non-vegetarian, spoon out 2 tbsp of sauce into a bowl and add grated garlic.
- 2 tbsp pizza sauce
- Shredded Mozarella cheese
- Sundried tomatoes
- Smoked salmon
- Feta cheese
- Brown/White fresh mushrooms
Not a bad result for a first try. Crust is crunchy, sauce is salty enough so I can skip the salt/pepper for the pizza. Have yet to try adding olive oil. The base can be stretched thinner. I did try but it just sprang back after a while. Ha.
My dad was hanging around, looking intently at all I was doing. You see, pizza is one of his favorite foods. Give him some hot habanero sauce with his slice of pizza and he is a happy happy man.
By the way, we ate these for breakfast. Happy New Year eh? LOL.
Things I noted
- The proof time for the pizza dough is not fixed at 18 hours and dependent upon the room temperature. In hot and humid Singapore, I proofed the dough for 4 hours at room temperature (about 28-30C) and another 4 hours in an air-conditioned room programmed to be 22C (but in actual fact was probably only about 26C). I divided the dough into 6 pieces, wrapped each piece in cling wrap and placed in the fridge for 8 hours before using.
- Know your oven. I placed the baking stone on the upper third rack and I believe my baking stone is not hot enough, particularly when grilling the second pizza. The grill was hot enough to burn the ingredients (poor burnt sundried tomato). So for the next attempt, I shall position the baking stone on the lower second rack.
- It is not easy sliding the pizza onto the baking stone. At first, I placed the parchment paper on the baking stone, then attempted to slide the pizza from my Fat Daddio’s jumbo cake lifter. Nope. Stuck, even though I did flour the lifter. So you can imagine me, banging and smashing about, to try to dislodge the pizza. In the end I had to use a fork to push in the sadly misshapen pizza. What worked for me was to place the pizza dough on the parchment paper, sauce and top it, then use the cake lifter to slide under the parchment paper and push the pizza (with parchment paper) into the oven.