This weekend I experimented with a slightly wetter dough, at 70% hydration instead of the 65% I had settled on previosuly. This means that for four pizzas I used 588 grams of flour and 412 of water.
At first I was a bit worried because the dough started to show some bubbles on the surface (see photo), but the results were excellent, the pizzas had a light, airy crust and nicely charred exterior while still being chewy and wet inside, just the way I like it. In fact I’m so happy that I will update the recipe to use 70% instead of 65% hydration.
Handling the dough was a bit more difficult but still manageable, I had to take care of using a lot of flour on the working surface and pizza peel, because a dough this wet tends to stick pretty quickly. I also tried to work fast to keep the time on the peel at a minimum, shaking the peel very often to make sure the dough wasn’t getting stuck.
While I was at it, I also tried some new pizza toppings. I figured that after having spent so much effort on the dough, some amount of thought should be put also on what goes on top of it. Here is what I tried:
Spinach and pine seeds
I had some leftover spinach in the fridge, and what better use for them than to throw them on the pizza? I drained and tore to pieces some canned peeled tomatoes, mixed them with oil, basil, salt, a pinch of sugar and one garlic clove, and let it rest for about an hour. I shaped the pizza, spread the tomato sauce and put in the oven for about 5 minutes. I took it out, added the spinach (that I had previously fried in the pan with some oil for a few minutes), pine seed and mozzarella and returned to the oven until the mozzarella had melted. Although it was thrown together to use some leftovers, it turned out to be the best pizza of the set. I think the tomato mixture had something to do with it.
Potatoes, thyme and rosemary
This one is from Jamie Oliver, see the original recipe here. It was nice but not great, I don’t think I’ll do it again.
Artichokes, prosciutto, olives and egg (Capricciosa à la Jamie Oliver)
Another one from Jamie, recipe here. This would have been great except that the artichoke was a bit chewy, I think it should have been cooked a bit rather than put raw on the pizza. Still, it was good (and look at that charred crust! Heaven!)
Another thing I realized today is that the best way to prepare the mozzarella is to shred it to pieces with your hands and let it dry on a colander for an hour or so.