Wow, Anthony might be even more obsessed than me about his pizza (he tried to make pizza in his fireplace as a kid)! Anthony is the owner of Una Pizza Napoletana in New York City. In these short videos he talks about his oven, his ingredients and even gives advice to home pizza bakers. I found them inspiring and educational.
I was experimenting with Google Insights for Search this evening and I’ve discovered that Sausage is the Worlds most searched for pizza topping! Here’s a link to the statistics: Sausage vs Pepperoni vs Mushrooms on Google Insights
It’s also interesting to note that mushrooms is beating out pepperoni in the US, but not Canada or the UK. How does your favorite topping fare?
PS: Check out this surprising comparison of Chicago vs. New York Pizza
Is this a trend or is it a coincidence that this episode of “In Search of Perfection – Perfect Pizza” featuring the self proclaimed culinary alchemist Heston Blumenthal covers a recipe very similar to the dough that is in my refrigerator right now? The videos show Heston traveling to Naples and bringing back some wonderful advice for making pizza at home. It’s inspired me to seek higher temperature bakes from my oven.
I am really excited about a new experiment I am doing based on the secret dough recipe recently revealed by World pizza champion Bruno DiFabio. For the first time I am using a starter dough which is a pre-fermented batch of dough used to enhance the chemical reactions which occur during the proofing period effecting texture and flavor. In Italy this “Biga” starter was used as the bakers moved away from sourdough and needed a method to add more flavor to the dough.
DiFabio gives details about the preparation of this dough which I started last night and will have to wait until Wednesday to bake. The aroma of the dough is remarkable and I know that the next 3 days are going to be very hard for me.
I learned a bunch from the article about DiFabio and his pizza which you can read here:
Here is the pre-fermentation process for reference:
Ingredients for Phase1:
11/2 tsp. dry yeast
2 oz. warm water (exactly 97 degrees)
2 cups of water (room temperature or cool)
2.2 lbs. of high-gluten flour (not all-purpose)
Ingredients for Phase 2:
2.2 lbs. high-gluten flour 2 cups water (49 degrees)
1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1.5g olive oil (by weight, not converted to ounces)
- Add the dry yeast to the warm water. Stir slightly. Let stand for 2-3 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the pint of water and the yeast water.
- Add the flour and mix only until the ingredients are blended. The mix will feel slightly dry and lumpy; this is OK.
- Place a dish towel or cheese cloth over the bowl to completely cover it.
- Let stand for 15-18 hours at room temperature. The dough will triple in size and give off an amazing aroma.
- Uncover your biga and add half the flour and all the water. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Add sugar and mix until incorporated.
- Add salt and mix until incorporated.
- Add olive oil and mix until incorporated.
- Add the rest of the flour and mix until incorporated.
- Let the biga rest for 10 minutes covered. This should yield about 5 pounds of dough.
- Divide the dough into sections to about a pound each and roll them into balls.
Note: Keep each dough ball in its own container refrigerated and covered for 3-4 days before using.
Our friends over at my favorite pizza blog, SliceNY.com have raised a challenge to all pizza aficionados to test your knowledge of our favorite food. The Pizza Quiz is full of tough and tasty questions like “What year did the world’s first pizzeria opens its doors?” and “The Margherita Pizza was first created in what Italian city?”. If you consider yourself to be a pizzamaniac, it’s time to put your number 2 pencil where your mouth is…