This past weekend was the opening weekend for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. It was the Italian Carnivale themed weekend and we broke-in our new wood fired oven discussing the history of pizza and how it developed as well as demonstrated how to make pizza from scratch. Many of those who attended the lectures requested the recipe for the pizza dough and I said I would comply.
Below is the recipe that my assistant Olaf provided. It is very easy to do and use and made a very tasty pizza. This is a pizza dough recipe that worked in our wood fired oven, but it is tailored for a standard oven. Beneath this recipe is a pizza dough recipe ideal for wood fired ovens.
Pizza dough (yields two 14” pizzas)
4 cups of flour (extra for rolling out)
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
¼ cup oil (we used olive oil)
1 oz of yeast
½ cup warm water
Place the flour in a bowl and mix the water and yeast together in a separate cup. Once done, add the sugar to the yeast water (this will feed the yeast). Pour the yeasted water to the flour and begin to mix. Add the oil and the salt to the dough. The dough should be somewhat sticky, but not too much. If it is very sticky, add more flour. Knead the dough and prep it for rising.
To raise the dough, do not roll it into a ball. Press down on the dough and have the loose ends tucked under the dough and place the tucked side down. You can place the dough in a bowl and set aside for a couple of hours at room temperature to rise. After a couple of hours, separate the dough as needed (we made smaller 5-6” pizzas). Use your hands to flatten out and place your desired toppings on the dough to cook.
Using a wood fired oven, you want to make sure the temperature is between 500-600 degrees. Place your created pizza on a peel (pizza paddle) and place the pizza directly into the oven (removing it from the peel). Watch you pizza closely as after a minute or so, you will want to turn it 180 degrees to cook the other side and repeat. Remove the pizza and let cool for two minutes before cooking.
For an indoor oven, I recommend buying a pizza stone and placing that in your oven. Pre-heat your oven to 450 with the pizza stone inside. Once ready, place your uncooked pizza on the stone and watch carefully. These pizzas will take longer to cook, so you will want to watch it carefully. It takes between 7-10 minutes.
For those that truly want to experience a wood fired oven pizza crust recipe, I would recommend this one courtesy of http://woodfiredpizza.org/recipes/recipes.html
Makes 4 pizza crusts
3⅓ cups bread flour
¼ teaspoon yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1½ cups water
- Mix 2 cups of flour with the water and yeast and beat it with a whisk until smooth. Then add the remaining flour and salt and knead by hand or with a KitchenAid mixer.
- Divide dough into quarters and form into balls. Store in Tupperware-type deli containers. (Spray with cooking spray first.) After resting in the refrigerator overnight, let them rise at least 6 hours at 80 degrees or 8 hours at 65 degrees.
- Using a wood fired oven, you want to make sure the temperature is between 500-600 degrees. Place your created pizza on a peel (pizza paddle) and place the pizza directly into the oven (removing it from the peel). Watch you pizza closely as after a minute or so, you will want to turn it 180 degrees to cook the other side and repeat. Remove the pizza and let cool for two minutes before cooking.
More on Baking
During my lectures this past weekend, I mentioned making wild yeast. Like many people, I use various textbooks at the library, internet, and other means to gather my research. Often times, I find nuggets of information that will be valuable to others. If you are interested in creating wild yeast to make breads, etc., I recommend visiting http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/13/raising-a-starter/.