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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sourdough PIzza a'la Farine with Portabellos

Sourdough PIzza a'la Farine with Portabellos 

In response to popular demand I am blogging about today's pizza.

By 'popular demand' I mean one anonymous coward suggested I continue, out of the perhaps units or even tens and dozens of people who might have stumbled upon my blog (no doubt most of them family)  -- when I last wrote about I had lost my drive to blog about pizza).  I swear, blogs are like a message-in-a-bottle-to the-universe.  To get one comment, even from someone who doesn't leave their name, is a big deal.  Why I should change what I do, based on such minuscule feedback is laughable.  But there it is.

I previously said that the pizzas were boring me now, and that is why I haven't been blogging about them.  I suspected it was because the ones I was making were not whole grain, they were white flour.  They were tasty enough, but they weren't interesting to me.  They seemed too much like junk food.

I really wanted a whole grain pizza, if I was ever going to blog about them again.

For some time now, I've been wanting to try the whole grain pizza dough recipe that one of the top bread bloggers in the world (IMHO) has shared.  The baker who blogs by the name of "Farine" posted this recipe, which was her sourdough take on the 'Five-Minute-A-Day' recipes.  She used it for pizzas that her grandchildren enjoyed.

By the way, it is worth following the link to her recipe, just to learn about phytate in grain (especially whole grain) and the reasoning behind why she uses sourdough instead of commercial yeast.  (How great a problem this really is, however, is anybody's guess.  As "Laurel's Kitchen: A Handbook for Vegetarian Cookery and Nutrition" states, longer leavening periods even with yeast doughs will increase the amount of phytase, the enzyme that reduces the amount of phytic acid that binds up the calcium, iron and zinc and prevents it from being absorbed by the body.  Laurel Robertson suggests that if the body needs the mineral or vitamin, it will find a way to absorb it despite the phytate.  Also, look here for some suggestions on benefits of phytochemicals in food, and a rather extensive list of them.)

I didn't have quite enough spelt on hand to duplicate Farine's recipe, so I used as much as I had and then I improvised.  I don't think I improved on her recipe, but it was the best I could do today.

Here is what I used:

Dough Ingredients

  • 150g sourdough, mine was 100% hydrated
  • 950g flour:
    • 427g whole wheat flour
    • 340g spelt flour
    • 131g kamut flour
    • 82g garbanzo flour
    • 95g rye flour
  • 50g vital wheat gluten
  • 787g water
  • 18g salt
  • 100g olive oil


Mix together with no-knead techniques.  I had to use my hands because it was somewhat sloppy and I couldn't stir it up with a spoon.

It is supposed to stay on the counter 2 hours and then be refrigerated.  Mine sat out about 6 hours before it hit the fridge, because we went out for dinner at the last moment.

I used it the next day, instead.  I took out a handful (softball sized piece), and just set it in a ball in the middle of a pizza stone that had been liberally coated with olive oil.  Then I just spread it out, like I usually do, pressing it thinner and thinner with my fingers until it fits the stone.

This dough felt substantially different; while there was some gluten, it didn't take much effort to push it to the edges, so it was not very elastic.  I may have used a bit too much dough, too.

Today's Toppings

Since today I wanted to showcase the dough more than the toppings, I was fairly pedestrian in what I choose to put on today.

  • Tomato Sauce (to cover to the edge)
  • Sundried Tomatoes in Oil
  • Sliced Olives with Pimento
  • Half a Leftover Veggie Sausage, sliced pepperoni-thin (rubbed some oil from the sundried tomatoes over top of these so they wouldn't dry out in the heat)
  • A tiny bit of a tiny red onion
  • A small handful of oregano
  • Some Mozzarella, grated
  • Some Cheddar, grated
  • A Couple of Portabello Mushrooms, sliced thin (put some right on the edge of the pizza, so the edge wouldn't dry out in the heat)

I put on the toppings, then I stuck it back into the refrigerator while the barbecue preheated, and I took the dog for a walk.  It does take some time for the firebricks in the barbecue to heat up; probably it isn't worth it to do one pizza, like we did today -- more economical to do two this way.  But it was just us, so one pizza was all we required.

The dog and I were gone about 45 minutes, by which time the barbecue read about 600 degrees F.

The pizza on the stone is placed on the firebrick, and the lid goes down.  By lifting the lid just once like that, the temperature falls to about 500 degrees.  What you don't want to do is lift the lid again to have a peek at it.  You have to let it sit 14-15 minutes, and by then the toppings will have cooked.  You can now take it out, and it will be very hot still.  Another 10 minutes on the baking stone, and the bottom crust will firm up some more.  You can eat it right away, of course -- and we did -- but the second piece is always just a little bit better, I think.


I probably used too much dough; and leaving it sit once the toppings were on was not a great idea: even in the refrigerator, it expanded a bit, and made it a bit too doughy for my taste.  I like a thinner crust.
The first piece is always a bit gooey, and very very hot.  Waiting ten minutes -- if you can -- improves the bottom crust.
Not that it was bad, per se.  I think that the kamut and garbanzo flour didn't improve it.  My wife said that the dough was okay.  She said that with her second piece, the crust had the consistency of a cookie.

I'd like to try more rye, maybe a 50:50 mix with rye and whole wheat.

I also put too much tomato sauce on this pizza.  It was a bit overpowering.  Couldn't taste the mushrooms.

Leftovers. When it cools, this pizza is even better.  I prefer cold pizza, I don't like it microwaved the next day.
I have to use the rest of the dough in the next seven days.

Notes to Myself
  • try the real farina recipe
  • try a 50:50 recipe, whole wheat and rye flour
  • go easy on the toppings, especially the tomato sauce, which is going to soften the dough

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