Italian Bread and Pizza

A while back, I sent an email far and wide in search of seniors interested in leading seasonal cooking classes with FAC. On a cold Saturday in February, one unexpected email response proved very fruitful.

While Mike is not a senior, he is a professional baker with a passion for pizza and a knack for teaching. With his expertise, a group of us spent the day in the kitchen of St. George’s Round Church baking perfectly airy ciabatta buns as well as authentic Italian pizza – using local ingredients of course.

Ciabatta Buns (makes 8 buns)
570g water
24g instant yeast
670g flour (370g bread flour, 300g Speerville whole white)
10g NS Honey
180g extra virgin olive oil
12 g kosher salt

Method
1)  Mix wets and yeast and let sit 5 min
2)  Mix 300g Speerville whole white flour and 150g bread flour, keeping 220g of bread flour aside with the salt
3)  Mix wet into dry, making a well in the dry to pour the wet into. Then knead 5-6 min. (Note: The dough is extremely wet! Knead it in the bowl by running your fingers throw it.)
4)  Leave in oil covered bowl 45 min – 1hr, cover with damp cloth
5)  Mix in remaining flour and leave in oil covered bowl 1hr – 1hr 15 min
6)  Scrape out of bowl onto floured surface carefully to avoid destroying bubble development
7)  Cut into 8 to 10 square pieces and flip onto floured parchment
8)  Cover with cloth and leave for 1 – 1.5 hr
9) Preheat oven to 425 – 450 degrees
10) Bake until internal temp of 200, or 25 min
11) Cool

Pizza Dough (makes 8 personal size pizza crusts)
1 kg flour (500g bread flour, 500g Speerville whole white)
500g water
50g milk
8g instant yeast
40g extra virgin olive oil
10g kosher salt
10g NS Honey

Method
1) Mix wets and yeast and let sit 5 min
2) Mix into drys
3) Knead 12 min
4) Bulk ferment 45 min (let stand covered 45 minutes)
5) Divide and boule (that is, shape into balls) to 210g each
6) If freezing, bag and leave out 45 min to develop. Then freeze. If baking, roll out into a circle, then stretch gently using your finger tips, and bake on a pizza round for a few minutes before adding toppings and baking completely.

Pesto
5 or 6 cloves garlic
100g pine nuts (roasted)
100 g basil
8g salt
olive oil
Blend ingredients to a paste.
(Pesto freezes well. Try freezing pesto in ice cube trays.)

Pizza Sauce
4lbs Roma tomatoes cored and cut in 12s or 4 cans whole Roma tomatoes drained, uncut
splash of balsamic vinegar
drizzle olive oil to cover tomatoes
3 pinches of salt
3 pinches fresh ground pepper
2 pinches oregano

Method:
Toss in large bowl, then place on a parchment covered cookie sheet.
Roast at high broil until caramelized (tomatoes should just begin to develop black spots).
Place through a hand powered food mill or gently blend some of the tomatoes and mash the rest.
Place in a pot on medium heat on the stovetop.
Add:
2 pinches oregano
2 pinches thyme
Simmer until reduced to desired consistency.
Finish with:
tsp molasses
tbsp NS wildflower honey
salt + pepper
1-2 tbsp basil pesto (= one pesto cube)
 

Our pizza toppings included:
Foxhill pizza cheese curds (mozza)
Quebec blue cheese
Ran-Cher Acres feta cheese
Local mushrooms (button, cremini, baby bella), red onion, bacon, sausage, apples & pears
Canned chipotle peppers

Daniel, a member of the Grainery Co-op on Agricola Street, also joined in for much of the day. The Grainery is a terrific place to pick up local dried goods. They have a terrific selection of Speerville products. Check them out at http://thegrainery.ca/.

Yours in food, Keltie

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3 thoughts on “Italian Bread and Pizza

  1. Pingback: Local Food Dinner Parties! May 14th, 2011 « Adventures in Local Food

    • Hi Trudy,

      My colleague, whose contract has since finished, organized this workshop. So, unfortunately, I’m not 100% certain. However, given that the workshop was led by a professional baker, and I know they tend to do everything by weight, I’d guess that the grams are correct.

      Cheers,
      Marla

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