Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Few Shots of My Pizzas

All right, Will, this is for you. Here are a few photos taken of the pizzas I made last night. I was actually really happy with these, and that's the only reason you're getting to see them! The dough was made with a sourdough starter and contains no commercial yeast. Sauce is a blend of San Marzanos and 6-in-1's.

All photos by my neighbor, Austin Haas, unless otherwise noted.

(photo by Adam Lindsley)


  1. That looks fantastic! Nice charring pattern there. I was pretty disappointed with the underside of my crust the other night... but that tends to happen when I make more than three pizzas.

    No commercial yeast, eh? How long was your rise? looks like you got a good amount of spring in that crust.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful pizza Adam! Are you using the all-broiler method? Cold or warm rise? What strain of sourdough? So many questions!

    I've been getting closer to hitting a quality level on my pizzas to allow me to blog and share, but I'm not quite there yet.

    Looks like you're on to something out there!


  3. Thanks for the interest, guys! Here's some answers to your questions:

    Sourdough recipe basically involves leaving a cheesecloth bag of grapes in flour and water for two weeks (see Nancy Silverton's book on breadmaking for instructions). Once I mix the dough, I let it rise at room temperature for about 3 - 4 hours, then stick it in the fridge for 1 - 3 days. On baking day, I take the dough out of the fridge a couple hours before I plan to cook it. An hour before cooking I leave my cast-iron pizza pan on the rack directly under my broiler and let it absorb the heat from the broiler for the full hour; this gets the pan to roughly 700 degrees F. Pizza goes under the broiler for 3 minutes on the dot.

    At this point I'm anxious to get my hands on a true pizza oven that can offer the high heat I'm looking for (and I'd love to try making a sauce from freshly-canned heirloom tomatoes, if only I could find them). As pleased as I was with these pizzas, they're still nowhere near as good from those served at Ken's, Apizza Scholls, Motorino, Di Fara, etc. I'd love to taste my pies with the smoky flavor a wood-burning oven imparts. I'm looking at you, Will!

    Oh, and while there may not have been much "char" on the underside of your pies the other day, I really didn't think it mattered. The dough was cooked perfectly, not underdone at all, and had a great crispness to it. Plus, it tasted awesome.

  4. What's the flavor like from your sourdough? Is it similar to your typical bakery sourdoughs?

    I will definitely keep you posted on my progress w/r/t the wood-burning oven. The refractory cement is due to be delivered next week. My calendar for May is super busy, but my hope is to have it up and running by mid-June... probably optimistic, but y'never know...

    As for my pizza's bottom crust, it was just a bit disappointing since I've had better-looking results in the past. Next time, I guess... sigh... I dream of leopard-spotting...

  5. @Flushy: It's funny, I feel like the sourdough flavor is much more pronounced when I make bread with the starter than when I make pizza dough with it. It's not an especially SOUR sourdough by any means. Just kind of a slight tangy flavor.

  6. Purty. Except that basil should go on after cooking. ;-)

  7. @extramsg: Your mom should go on after cooking! Er...sorry, that's my knee-jerk reaction to any criticism. But yes, I made two pies, one with the basil cooked in the oven with the pie (as seen in the photo of the single slice), and one with the basil added afterward (as seen in the whole cooked pie above). I like it both ways, but I agree that basil added afterward is better.

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  9. Would you be willing to share your crust recipe. I've bake bread with Silverton's starter for about 5 years now, but haven't used it for pizza.

  10. Thanks Adam. You did not list dry yeast as an ingredient but is in directions. Amount?

  11. Whoops, good catch, Lisa. I used to use dry yeast along with the starter, but I've since upped the starter and scratched the dry yeast entirely. I'll try to fix it here.

  12. Okay, the fixed version:

    (for three 10-12" crusts)

    *11.6 oz. water
    *18 oz. bread flour
    *0.6 oz. sea salt (get the good stuff)
    *6.3 oz. sourdough starter

    1. Add about 3/4 of the flour and all of the water, salt, and starter to a stand mixing bowl.
    2. Mix on lowest speed for 1-2 minutes or until completely blended
    3. Cover bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.
    4. Return bowl to mixer and mix on low speed for 8 minutes. 5 minutes into this, start gradually adding more of the flour.
    5. After the 8 minutes, slightly increase the speed of mixer, but not past 1/3 of the dial. Continue to add the rest of the flour, but don't feel forced to add all the flour if you feel the dough's too dry.
    6. When the dough becomes firmer and forms a ball, mix one more minute.
    7. Let dough rest for 15-20 minutes.
    8. Knead the dough by hand about ten times, then form into a ball.
    9. Brush a bowl with olive oil and place the entire ball of dough into it, rolling the dough in the oil to coat the entire surface.
    10. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours, until it swells by 50 - 100%.
    11. Pour dough onto a floured surface and cut into three equal balls.
    12. Place each ball of dough into a plastic container that has been lined with a very thin coating of olive oil, and seal with lid.
    13. Let dough sit out for 1 hour, then place into refrigerator for 1-6 days.