White Pizza from the New York Times

Winter Squash, Onion and Pine Nut Pizza (from the NY Times)

This flavorful autumnal pie uses winter squash purée as the pizza topping; the purée is spread like a sauce on the crust. You can find puréed winter squash (sometimes labeled as “puréed acorn squash” or “puréed butternut squash”) in the freezer section of most markets — thaw according to the package instructions before using.

  • Yellow cornmeal to dust the pizza stone (or nonstick spray to grease the baking sheet)
  • 1 pound fresh dough (from a pizza shop) or a frozen dough, thawed; or prebaked pizza crust – Or even better, try making your own dough!
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved through the stem, then thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup frozen winter squash purée, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons minced sage leaves or 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano or pecorino, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts

1. Preheat pizza stone or oven. If using a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes; if using a pizza tray or a large baking sheet, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Prepare the crust. If you’re using fresh dough on a pizza stone, dust a pizza peel lightly with cornmeal. Add the dough and form it into a large circle by dimpling it with your fingertips. Pick it up and shape it by slowly turning it by its edge, stretching that edge all the while, until the circle is about 14 inches in diameter. Set it cornmeal side down on the peel.

To use fresh dough on a pizza tray or a large baking sheet, grease the tray or baking sheet lightly with nonstick spray. Lay the dough on the baking sheet and dimple it with your fingertips — then pull and press it until it forms a circle about 14 inches in diameter on the pizza tray or a 12-by-7-inch, somewhat irregular rectangle on the baking sheet. If you’re using a prebaked crust, place it on a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel or on a greased pizza tray or a large baking sheet.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then swirl in the oil. Add the onion slices, reduce the heat to very low, and cook, stirring often, until soft, golden and very sweet, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, stir the squash purée, sage, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until uniform. Spread this mixture evenly over the prepared crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border at its edge.

5. Top with the caramelized onions, then sprinkle the finely grated cheese and pine nuts over the pie. Slide the pizza from the peel to the very hot stone, or place the pie on its tray or baking sheet with the pie either in the oven or on the section of the grill grate that’s not right over the heat source.

6. Bake or grill with the lid closed until the crust is golden and somewhat firm to the touch, perhaps even a little darkened on its bottom, 16 to 18 minutes. Check fresh dough occasionally to prick any air bubbles that may arise so you’ll have an even crust on the pie. Slip the peel back under the pie to get it off the stone, or set the pie on its tray or baking sheet with its pie on a wire rack. Cool for 5 minutes before slicing. If you want to make sure the crust stays crunchy, consider transferring the pie directly to the wire rack after a minute or so.

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My Latest Variation on a Thin Crust Dough Recipe – Bacon Grease Anyone?

Hi Ya’ll,

Just wanted to share with you my latest variation on my dough along with a new little video I shot for you the other day. Things to note in this new variation: Vital Gluten, malted syrup, bacon grease, and a rolling pin! Enjoy.

Recipe

  • 22.5 oz of flour
    • First put in 2oz of vital gluten
    • Then 20.5oz of all purpose flour
  • 1T malted syrup
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1tsp Instarise yeast
  • 2T bacon grease
  • 1.75c + 1T warm water (’bout 100 degrees)

Toss all the ingredients into your stand mixer and mix on slow ’til everything comes together – should be about 2-3 minutes. Once it looks like a chunky, cohesive mass, turn the mixer off and let the dough sit for 10-20 minutes with a nice clean shower cap over the top of the mixer bowl – many people like to put a towel over the top of the bowl, but many other people claim that the towel absorbs the moisture in the air, which isn’t great for the dough, so I like the shower cap. Reusable as well 🙂 Once at least ten minutes is up, start mixing again on slow for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the mixer off and rest for another 10-20 (remember that shower cap). Finally, pull the dough out and form 4 10oz balls and place into air tight containers (this could be tupperware, plastic bags, etc). Put the containers in the fridge and let them hang out for two to three days. After at least 48 hours, pull the dough out two hours before you plan to bake the pies. One hour before you want to eat, put your stone in the oven, crank it up as hot it will go, and let it pre-heat for the last hour. Lastly, pull your dough out onto a lightly dusted counter, flatten your ball out with your knuckles – try pushing the bubbles that have formed out to the outer rim of the dough. I’ve been playing with a rolling pin recently and liking it a lot, so grab a floured rolling pin and do some rolling out til you get a nice flat disc going. Lastly, pick it up and slap it back and forth to dust off the excess flour, toss it a few times to get that final thin stretch, then plop it on a peel, top it, and slide it in the oven. If your oven gets nice and hot, you won’t need to cook it more than five minutes or so. Enjoy!

Thai Peanut Pizza from Ryan (W)

My buddy Ryan was over the other night and introduced this awesome Thai Peanut Pizza. Here is his recipe and a few photos from the evening.

Ingredients:

  • mozzarella cheese
  • Goat Cheese
  • Thai Peanut sauce (I use San-J brand, but you can use any you like, or heck even get adventurous and make your own)
  • Spinach or Arugula
  • Carmelized Red Onions with Balsamic Vinegar
  • Peanuts
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Cilantro

Directions:

  • Carmelize the red onions with olive oil on low heat. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until translucent. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and let cook into the onions.
  • Roll out pizza dough and spread a thin layer of the peanut sauce.
  • Sprinkle a thin layer of the mozzarella cheese. You will want to be able to see plenty of the sauce through the cheese.
  • Place the spinach or arugula leaves
  • Sprinkle red bell pepper slices
  • Place the carmelized red onions
  • Sprinkle peanuts
  • Place the cilantro
  • Hand pull pieces of the goat cheese and distribute over the top of the pizza.

Yeast-Free Pizza Dough – Pizza for Restricted Diets

I’ve recently found it necessary to explore yeast-free pizza dough and so I’d like to offer this recipe up as a jumping off point for those celiac disease or are taking Isoniazid. I would suggest using double-acting baking powder as all the chemical leavening may just leave this dough is you let it rest for any amount of time. If you use double-acting baking powder, you’ll get an initial boost of CO2 when the powder is first incorporated into the dough, but you’ll also get a second burst of gas when you apply the heat a couple days later.

  • 2 c. bread flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2/3 c. water
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl or your stand mixer. Mix until everything has come together and looks like a rough dough. Then stop, cover the bowl with some plastic, and let sit for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, start that stand mixer a-mixin again and mix for 5-8 minutes. Then, you guessed it, stop the mixer and re-cover it – let it rest for another 20 minutes. Lastly, place the dough in the fridge and let sit for a day or so – pull it out an hour before baking and let the dough return to room temp. Make a pizza and place it in a 550+ oven for a short amount of time.

The only thing I’m unsure about here is the rest in the fridge. Normally this would give the yeast time to develop flavor and begin to convert the dough into yeast by-product (CO2) but in this case that won’t be happening. My theory is that a day-long rest in the fridge might still be nice for the overall texture of your dough, and if it went into the fridge as a tight, tough ball of dough, the rest should give the gluten network that has formed time to relax and slacken so you can spread/toss your dough more easily. I’ll report on my findings here.

Good luck – and good eats!

-Ryan

I found the proportions for the ingredients listed in this recipe here. Thanks!

Latent Tuberculosis: A New View on Pizza

Ok, so strange turn of events: I have latent tuberculosis. I’ve got some medication that I’ll be taking for the next twelve months and during that time, I’m supposed to avoid all “homemade yeast breads.” Of course, if you are at all a regular reader of this blog, you realize how absurd this is. So, as of this weekend, I will changing the focus of this blog to be unleavened, un-yeasty pizza doughs. Woof.

Wish me luck.

I’ll report back with all new findings.

*UPDATE: I am going to start taking my medicine after the holiday, so until then, the search for the perfect pie is BACK ON!!

Yugon Gold Potato White Pizza

I saw a pizza episode of “The Best Thing I ever Ate” the other day and Alex Guarnaschelli said that her favorite pizza was the Five Points, yukon gold potato pizza. Well this sounded interesting and new, so I ran out and whipped up what I thought the pizza would be like – and let me tell you, it sounds super funky, but man oh MAN it was good! See recipe and photos to follow.

Ingredients:

  • Pizza Dough – I used this recipe.
  • Mozzarella – I used fresh mozz here, which I liked a lot, but the grocery store stuff would work too.
  • One Yukon Gold Potato
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic Salt – I used Chico Spice Garlic Powder, made right here in Chico.
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to as high as it will go. Slice your potato up into the thinnest possible slices you can. Using a mandoline would make this process a piece of cake, but all I had was a knife, so I cut slowly and carefully. Next, spread out your dough onto whatever pan, peel, or whatever you are going to use to bake the pizza. Use a silicone brush to brush on a thin layer of olive oil. Next, give the whole crust a light sprinkling of garlic salt and rosemary, and then crack a bit of fresh black pepper on top of the spices. Then, spread out the potatoes in concentric circles around the pie. Place your medallions of cheese down on top of the potatoes. Put a few dribbles of olive oil down on top of the pie and I like to brush on some more oil on the outer crust (and dash on some more garlic salt on there for a yummy finish to each slice).  Place it in the oven until you see some nice browning on the cheese and crust and that’s it! You’ve got yourself potato pizza my friend! Enjoy 🙂

Pizza Stone Resources

Whether you are looking for square, round, thick, or even made for BBQs, here is a good list of pizza stones you may want to check out.

Baking Stone, 14 x 16 x 7/8 in Thick, No Lead Fire Brick Material – CordieriteLarger Image

Baking Stone, 14 x 16 x 7/8 in Thick, No Lead Fire Brick Material – Cordierite. Perfect for snall restaurants and bars. Ideal where hearth baking is not possible. Keeps pizzas warm in heated display cases. Made of Corderite; a no lead fire brick material. FDA approved for oven use. Perfect thickness and porosity for heat retention.

Old Stone Oven Pizza Grill Stone Shaped For Weber BBQ GrillOld Stone Oven Pizza Grill Stone Shaped For Weber BBQ Grill 4471

Give a delicate crispy, restaurant-quality crust to any pizza, focaccia or bread on your backyard Weber grill using this Old Stone Oven™ Pizza Stone. These were the first baking stones introduced in 1973 and are still considered the best by pizza experts, including Cook’s Illustrated Magazine (October, 2003) where they ranked #1.

Kitchen Supply Company’s Pizza Grill Stone can be used to line your Weber barbecue grill for a true stone hearth effect without the weight of one heavy stone. Brown box includes a recipe booklet.

Kitchen Supply Old Stone Oven Baking Tiles, Set of 6Kitchen Supply Old Stone Oven Baking Tiles, Set of 6

Over 25 years ago the Old Stone Oven Company first introduced the original baking stone for home use, designed by international pizza expert, Pasquale Bruno. It is still the best on the market. It has a porosity and heat retention that is unmatched for giving a delicate crispy, restaurant-quality crust to any pizza, focaccia or bread in a standard home oven. Stone is a pure ceramic product made of clays fired at over 2000-degrees Fahrenheit. Set of 6 Tiles, 6-inch by 6-inch each. Use tiles individually or together for just the right size for you recipe. Can be used in the Oven, Toaster Ovens or can also be used in the microwave by preheating for 5 minutes. Perfect for recrisping last night’s pizza, baking frozen pizza slices or made-from-scratch mini-pizzas. Complete instructions and recipes are included. Made in the USA.

Old Stone Oven 16″ Round Pizza StoneOld Stone Oven Pizza Stone Round

Our Old Stone Oven 16″ Round Pizza Stone is a great choice for making outstanding pizza with a crispy crust. Old Stone Oven Pizza Stones are also great for evenly baking breads, rolls, and even some cookies.

How to Make a Sourdough Pizza from Scratch – THE VIDEO!

I’ve been talking about how “my new great pizza recipe is coming soon” for a while – well, now it is HERE. And I’ve even shot a video to go along with it! Enjoy making your new, most favorite pizza EVER.

How to Make Sourdough Pizza from Scratch

from Ryan Sanders on Vimeo.

Here is the recipe I follow in my newly released how-to video. This is based on the Jeff Varasano recipe, with a few modifications for an oven that only goes to 550.

Things to know before you begin:

  • This recipe assumes you have an active sourdough culture.
  • Prep time on the dough is at least one day.
  • This recipe makes two pies.
  • This recipe is only given in weights. You’ll need a scale that can measure grams.
  • If any of this sounds a bit much, check out my simpler thin crust recipe here.

1. Make sure you have a sourdough starter going before starting this recipe. If you don’t have one going yet, you can order one at sourdo.com or cultivate your own local yeast like this.

2. Measure according to weight (in grams) the following.

  • Filtered Water – 220 grams
  • Bread Flour  – 336 grams
  • Kosher or Sea Salt – 1.5 tsp
  • Sourdough Yeast Culture -36 grams
  • Instant Dry Yeast – 3/4 tsp

3. Pour everything except for about one quarter of the flour into your stand mixer.

4. Use the standard paddle attachment and mix on the slowest speed until your dough is evenly mixed. You should be aiming for the consistency of a thick batter. It shouldn’t look like dough yet.

5. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. THIS IS IMPORTANT, DON’T SKIP THIS.

6. Put the dough hook onto your mixer and start kneading your mixture. After five minutes, bein to gradually add in the remaining flour. Aim to have all the flour in by about the eight minute mark or so. If you reach a point where the dough looks good but you still have more flour, just don’t add it.

7. After about 8 minutes, click your stand mixer up to the next highest speed. Kneed until you see the dough form a wet ball. Always err on the side of dough that is too wet, and never “be a slave to recipes” as Jeff Varasano would say. If the dough needs a bit more flour, put some in.

8. Cover the bowl and rest for 20 minutes. THIS IS IMPORTANT, DON’T SKIP IT.

9. Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured counter top, sprinkle the top of it lightly with flour, and use your hands to form it into a nice round ball. It should be wet enough so that it sags when you form your ball. If it’s perk, your dough may be too dry.

10. Place the dough in a container, cover it with plastic wrap or a nicely fitting lid, and stow it away in your fridge for 1-6 days. The 3-4 day range is best, I’d say.

11. Take the dough out about an hour to an hour and a half before you want to bake it.

12. Heat your oven to as hot as it will go.

12. Toss the dough and put a small amount of sauce on. I stick to one ladle full.

13. Top the pie with mozzarella and the toppings of your choice and slide it onto your super hot pizza stone, or if you are using a pan, just slide the pan onto a baking rack.

14. My over doesn’t have a cleaning mode, so I top out around 500 degrees. My pizzas take about 5-7 minutes to bake. Keep an eye out on yours.

15. Pull it out and cool it on a wooden surface if you can. Wait about 3 minutes to cut into it. Serve.

Hope you found this helpful!
Cheers,
Ryan

The Pizzetta Stone – Translating Jeff Varasano’s Technique

If you, like me, have ever done a Google search for “NY pizza recipe” then you have no doubt stumbled across the bible-esque tome that is Jeff Varasano’s Famous NY Pizza Recipe. The recipe, which is in itself very simple, tips the scale at a hefty 22,000+ words. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve read almost every single one of those words, but it took me months to get up the courage to sit down and plow through it all!

What I’ve prepared for you here is a condensation of Jeff’s recipe; a reduction, if you will, of the simple steps minus all of the asides and fascinating science behind his pie’s creation. What we’ve got here is a recipe you could have open on your laptop in the kitchen (I prepare exclusively from my computer) and actually follow the steps without hours of scrolling looking for the next step. If you ever want more explanation as to WHY you are doing the steps below, please grab a cup of coffee and sit down for a nice bit of reading at Jeff Varasano’s Famous NY Pizza Recipe. And Jeff, if you’re out there, thanks for publishing all of your findings for the rest of us to benefit from. Enjoy!

Things to know before you begin:

  • This recipe assumes you have an active sourdough culture.
  • Prep time on the dough is at least one day.
  • This recipe makes one pie.
  • This recipe is only given in weights. You’ll need a scale that can measure grams.
  • If any of this sounds a bit much, check out my simpler thin crust recipe here.

1. Make sure you have a sourdough starter going before starting this recipe. If you don’t have one going yet, you can order one at sourdo.com or cultivate your own local yeast like this.

2. Measure according to weight (in grams) the following.

  • Filtered Water – 110 grams
  • Bread Flour (Jeff likes King Arthur) – 168 grams
  • Kosher or Sea Salt – 6 grams (This is roughly one teaspoon – my scale doesn’t do well with such small amounts, so I use a tsp)
  • Sourdough Yeast Culture – 15 grams
  • Instant Dry Yeast – 0.5 grams (equivalent to a pinch – optional)

3. Pour everything except for about one quarter of the flour into your stand mixer.

4. Use the standard paddle attachment and mix on the slowest speed until your dough is evenly mixed. You should be aiming for the consistency of a thick batter. It shouldn’t look like dough yet.

5. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. THIS IS IMPORTANT, DON’T SKIP THIS.

6. Put the dough hook onto your mixer and start kneading your mixture. After five minutes, bein to gradually add in the remaining flour. Aim to have all the flour in by about the eight minute mark or so. If you reach a point where the dough looks good but you still have more flour, just don’t add it.

7. After about 8 minutes, click your stand mixer up to the next highest speed. Kneed until you see the dough form a wet ball. Always err on the side of dough that is too wet, and never “be a slave to recipes” as Jeff would say. If the dough needs a bit more flour, put some in.

8. Cover the bowl and rest for 20 minutes. THIS IS IMPORTANT, DON’T SKIP IT.

9. Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured counter top, sprinkle the top of it lightly with flour, and use your hands to form it into a nice round ball. It should be wet enough so that it sags when you form your ball. If it’s perk, your dough may be too dry. For photo examples of how wet your dough should look, go to Jeff Varasano’s Famous NY Pizza Recipe of course!

10. Place the dough in a container, cover it with plastic wrap or a nicely fitting lid, and stow it away in your fridge for 1-6 days. The 3-4 day range is best, I’d say.

11. Take the dough out about an hour to an hour and a half before you want to bake it.

12. Heat your oven to as hot as it will go. Jeff broke the safety off of his over and bakes pizzas while it is running on it’s cleaning cycle. Of course, he doesn’t suggest you follow his example… If you are using a pizza stone, make sure it is in when you begin to heat the oven.

12. Spread the dough out on a floured counter (Jeff says it isn’t great for tossing), put a small amount of sauce on. I stick to one ladle full.

13. Top the pie with mozzarella and the toppings of your choice and slide it onto your super hot pizza stone, or if you are using a pan, just slide the pan onto a baking rack.

14. My over doesn’t have a cleaning mode, so I top out around 500 degrees. My pizzas take about 5-7 minutes to bake. Keep an eye out on yours.

15. Pull it out and cool it on a wooden surface if you can. Wait about 3 minutes to cut into it. Serve.

Now if you are dying to know why or how, or want to see examples of what certain stages should look like, or want to know what your options are as far as flours, cheeses, sauces, yeasts, mixers, etc, or just want to read a more in depth explanation of anything you’ve read here, check out Jeff Varasano’s Famous NY Pizza Recipe for Pete’s sake!

Hope you found this helpful!
Cheers,
Ryan