we were waiting for snow on friday night, which turned out to be a bit like waiting for godot. after dinner on friday night, we rushed into whole foods to stock-up our pantries in case the great blizzard of 2010 hit. i spent the rest of the evening making a giant vat of borscht soup and some pizza bianca to go along with it.
i first fell in love with pizza bianca at sullivan street bakery, back when it was still on sullivan street and before some sort of internal fissure led to the bakery being re-named grandaisy. for $1.50 (i think it’s $2, now post 2007 food inflation), you would get a great bit slab (the slabs are slightly smaller now) of chewy flat bread, well-endowed with rosemary fragrance and just enough sea salt to leave you wanting for more. i would go there, maybe once a month, to get my pizza bianca fix, and if i could somehow pace my pizza bianca eating habit better (instead of one fell swoop), i’d probably go more often. grandaisy still sells pizza bianca and it still tastes heavenly but make sure you go to the location at sullivan street rather than the west broadway branch — the latter seems to sell a staler version of the bianca.
fearing that the snow would block all road access, i whipped up some pizza dough on friday night with which to make pizza bianca at home. you can buy pre-made pizza dough instead if you don’t feel like making your own, but peter reinhart’s recipe is easy enough to make, so why not? all you need to do after you’ve got the dough, is to stretch, sprinkle on some olive oil, rosemary and sea salt, and bake.
my homemade version turned out less chewy and thinner than the commercial edition; it’s not exactly same but tremendously tasty on its own. at least i got hubby hooked on my version. . . he finished the last piece.
Peter Reinhart’s Pizza Dough
(best made a day in advance so that the dough can properly ferment overnight)
|Bread Flour||4 ½ cups|
|Salt||1 ¾ tsp|
|Instant Yeast||1 tsp|
|Olive Oil||¼ cup|
|Ice water||1 ¾ cups|
- Whisk together bread flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer.
- Fit the mixer with a dough hook, and slowly pour olive oil and ice water into the dry ingredients.
- Let the dough hook do the work, until you get a mass of dough that is smooth, elastic and slightly sticky.
- Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Rub a little bit of olive oil on the outside of each piece of dough and wrap well in plastic.
- Let the dough ferment overnight. It’s ready to use the next day and can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 days or frozen for 3 months.
To make the pizza bianca
- Sprinkle some corn meal on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. If you’ve got a pizza stone, use that instead. Stretch out the dough until it reaches the desired size and thickness. The corn meal helps the dough stick and keep its shape.
- Lightly brush some olive oil on surface of the dough.
- Sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt.
- Bake at 500ºF for 7-9 minutes, or until golden brown.