Instructionals
Focaccia Dough Recipe, Genoa-Style
Peter Reinhart

Last week we gave you a recipe for caramelized onion marmalade that makes a killer focaccia topping when couple with walnuts and blue cheese. But any focaccia or pizza, no matter the quality of the toppings, is only as good as the crust, and this one is the best I've ever had, even better than in Genoa and San Francisco. See what you think and let us know.



Focaccia Dough, Day One
4 1/2  cups  (20.5 ounces by weight)………….…unbleached bread flour
1 ¾  teaspoons (.33 ounces)……………………………salt
1 1/4  teaspoons (.15 ounce)   ………………….....instant yeast
2  cups (16 ounces)…..................................cold water
2 tablespoons (1 ounce)    …………………………….olive oil
(Plus extra olive oil for oiling the storage bowl and the baking pan, about 1/4 cup)

Day One:
--Make the focaccia dough by mixing all the dough ingredients, except the olive oil, in a mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer (you can add the instant yeast directly to the flour—it does not have to be hydrated first as you would with active dry yeast. See Notes below). Use the paddle attachment if using an electric mixer, on slow speed. Mix or knead for about one minute, until all the flour is hydrated and you have a coarse, wet, shaggy mass of dough. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix an additional 15 seconds to coat the dough with the oil. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then resume mixing for 1 additional minute.  The dough will be very soft and sticky, like ciabatta dough, but the gluten will be developed enough and the dough will be soft but bouncy. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, stretch and fold it from all four sides and flip it over in the bowl, cover the bowl (not the dough) with plastic wrap, and refrigerate immediately, overnight.

Day Two:
--Remove the dough from the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before you plan to bake it (it will have nearly doubled overnight). Cover the bottom of a baking pan with either baking parchment or a silicon pad (aka, Silpat). Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the surface and rub it around to coat the entire surface area of the pan as well as the inside walls.

--Transfer the dough from the bowl to the baking pan with a bowl scraper or rubber spatula that has been dipped in water. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top and then use your fingertips to press and "dimple" the dough into the pan (begin from the center and work out towards the edges of the pan). Do not flatten it with the palms of your hands but only with the fingertips, to make these dimpled pockets in which the oil will settle. The dough will only cover about 2/3 of the pan before starting to spring back. Stop pressing and let the dough rest for 20 minutes, uncovered, to relax the gluten.

--Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil over the surface and evenly dimple out the dough as in the previous step. This time the dough will cover nearly the entire surface but will probably spring back a little to cover 85% of the pan. Let it rest another 20 minutes.

--Drizzle another tablespoon of olive on the surface and dimple out the dough one final time. It will be nicely covered with "flavor pockets" and should cover the whole pan. If it recedes from the corners, don't worry as it will fill the corners when it rises and bakes. Let the dough rise, uncovered, for two to three hours at room temperature. It will fill the pan to the rim. At this point, add the toppings, but not the cheese (other than wet cheeses like blue or feta or goat cheese--but other cheeses should be added only at the end of the bake--see below).

--Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees (400 degrees if convection). Bake the focccia on the middle shelf for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake an additional

 
Caramelized Onion Marmalade
Peter Reinhart

You can never have too much of this in reserve as there are many dishes with which it can be used. However, my favorite application is on top of focaccia. It takes about an hour to make so don’t wait till the last minute if you plan to use it that day. It will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator (and for months in the freezer) so it’s okay to make it up ahead of time and have it ready and waiting.

You do not need to use sweet onions for this, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla’s, as the cooking

 
The Sweet Water Gypsies
Peter Reinhart

This week's Instructional video comes from our weekend at The Fire Within Conference in Boulder, Colorado. When the conference ended we gathered some of the oven owners and filmed a number of demonstrations in the Forno Bravo ovens mounted on Fire Within mobile rigs. We'll be sharing more of these with you during the coming weeks. This time around, meet the Sweet Water Gypsies, two serious pizzaiolas, Monica and Beth, from the national wilderness area of southern Utah. They truly embody the frontier spirit with appealing vitality. Enjoy their fresh mozzarella pizza with tomato sauce, bacon, grana padana cheese and fresh arugula. This one should give all of you a few new ideas....

 

 

 
Pesto Genovese
Peter Reinhart

 

Note to readers: This is an excerpt from my book, American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza (Ten Speed Press). This recipe is one of my most requested and I think it rivals any pesto recipe I've seen or tried anywhere. Let me know what you think when you try it.

When I first discovered pesto about 35 years ago I thought the heavens had opened and revealed a very special secret. It was so new to Americans then, and now it’s so familiar and has been overused in so many ways that it runs the risk of being a culinary cliché. But throughout my travels in Liguria and Genoa (and thus the term Genovese), where it has been a staple for centuries, nobody seems to tire of it and my passion for it was born anew. The problem with much of the pesto of recent memory in this country is its lack of brightness--not just in color but brightness as a flavor tone. That's where the lemon juice makes the difference in the recipe below--it's my secret ingredient.

My favorite pesto memory in the United States was at the legendary Caffe Sport in North Beach during its glory years in the 1970’s when Tony Latona was alive, roaming back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room. His pesto was bright green, the basil flavor exploded in my mouth, carried by the cheese and pine nut base notes. A lot of restaurant pesto now is a dull green, thick and pasty, the flavors locked up, trapped in the cheese. It had been a long time since pesto sent me into ecstasy but when it was served to us at Ristorante da Vittorio in the town of Recco over some toothsome troffie pasta, I felt as though

 
Crushed Tomato Pizza Sauce
Peter Reinhart

Now that we've posted two easy to make pizza dough recipes, let's continue to build our repertoire of fundamental pizza components. During the next few months we'll post not only these really basic recipes, the essential culinary tool box, so to speak, but also more elaborate recipes and finished dishes, as well as videos with techniques for mixing and shaping dough and such. But for now, let's focus on a great, all purpose red pizza sauce--part of the holy trinity of pizza (you know--dough, sauce, and cheese).

This one is my favorite, go-to sauce when making pizzas at home regardless of the type of dough. I published it originally in American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza, and it has served me well for at least the past ten years. I prefer using crushed or ground tomatoes instead of tomato puree or tomato sauce because I like the texture of the tomato particulates and solids. However, the sauce can also be made with smooth tomato sauce or puree.

As for which brand, well this is very controversial discussion and one that I tread very carefully. Many people absolutely insist on using tomatoes only from San Marzano--not just San Marzano tomatoes,which are a particular type of plum tomato that can be grown anywhere, but tomatoes

 

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