I make pizza often, and it's often been featured here - see, for example, Polpo's courgette one, their red onion and thyme, Leon's bianca, Hugh F-W's asparagus and even his kale and onion version. I'm constantly trying to perfect what is essentially a very simple dish, and thus every iteration, variation of flour, cooking time, and so on, is scrutinised and compared.
Last week in Oxford I had pizzette from the wood-fired oven at Gee's (and I'll come back to Gee's in a later post), and they were very thin of crust, and with their goats' cheese and garlic or prosciutto and black olive toppings, very good indeed.
I couldn't hope to replicate the cooking conditions in a domestic kitchen, even though the Aga's roasting oven is very hot, but I thought I'd try for a thinner pizza than usual, so I turned to Hugh F-W's magic dough recipe (from River Cottage Veg Every Day, but I used only strong plain flour instead of the mixture he specifies) and did the following:
- let the dough rise for a good hour and a half
- divided it into four pieces rather than my usual two (for 4-5 people)
- rolled them a bit and shaped them by hand until they were roughly the same diameter as my usual two, i.e. half as thick as normal
- pre-heated the (oiled) baking sheets
- baked the pizzas without any topping for 3-5 minutes
- gave each one a 'suggestion' of tomato sauce (Hugh's roasted tomato sauce from the Veg book again)
- added the toppings (the same ones as Gee's) and then baked them for around 8 minutes, by which time they were nicely brown, crisp, and still pleasingly thin.
There was much swapping of trays in and out and from oven floor to rack, and then to the simmering oven while the later pizzas cooked, so there was a bit of a production line going (and no chance to take pictures), but it was worth the extra faff because although I say it myself, they were the best I've ever made.