pizza bianca

You might complain that this is called a pizza and yet there are no toppings. No cheese, no sauce, no cured meats or roasted vegetables. All I can say in my defense that I didn't name the thing, I just made and devoured it. And really, I don't care what you call it as long as you make it right away. Pizza or not, it's simply wonderful.

pizza bianca, finished

This recipe requires instant yeast and I thought that meant it would be a faster process, but it still rises twice. The flavor is strong and complex on account of this and it's well worth the time. Breads seem tricky but I'm realizing that they take time and patience (things I tend to lack) but they're not actually that difficult, and they are so rewarding-- it's amazing to take a handful of simple ingredients and magically transform them into something with so much flavor.

pizza bianca, dough prepped for the oven

I will note that this bread (like most homemade breads) doesn't keep well, and the recipe makes far too much for one person, so I would recommend that you halve the recipe or share. It's so good that you may think you will eat the whole batch yourself, but I tried valiantly and failed. I wonder if it would make good breadcrumbs for another project?

pizza bianca, sliced

Jim Lahey’s Pizza Bianca
From Smitten Kitchen

Makes two long pizzas

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary

1. Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer, and slowly add 1 cup cold water. Mix on low speed until ingredients begin to combine, increase speed to medium-high, and continue to mix for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth, elastic, and cleanly pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. I used the paddle attachment on a kitchenaid until the dough came together and then I switched to the dough hook.

2. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and allow to rest for 2 to 4 hours until it has doubled in size. Split the dough into halves, and form each into a log [or in my case, realize that I forgot to do this, and roll it out instead!]. Place each log on a generously floured surface, and allow it to rest until the formed dough doubles in size again, at least 1 hour.

3. Put dough on a lightly floured baker’s peel, or something flat covered in cormeal. You'll have to slide the dough off, so don't use anything with a lip or raised edge. Dimple dough by pressing it down with your fingertips. Work the dough outward toward the edges of the peel until you reach your desired size and thickness, about 1/4 inch. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, rosemary and sprinkle with remaining salt.

4. Place a baking stone, sometimes known as a pizza stone, in the oven. Set oven to broil, about 520 degrees. Slide pizza onto baking stone. Bake until the bubbles range from golden to deep brown in color, 10 to 12 minutes. If you don't have a stone baking it on a baking sheet is fine.

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