Here’s another pizza I often make at home. Sauteed wild mushrooms are paired with soft, mellow Italian cheeses –Taleggio and Fontina, accented by fresh thyme leaves and bits of bacon or speck. I think a whole wheat crust (recipe below) complements the toppings’ rich flavors, but, of course, this pizza is delicious on a traditional crust too. These are flavors I usually associate with the fall and winter months, but they’re good for any chilly evening.
Tempting as it is to pile on these delicious ingredients, please don’t. Too much of a good thing –particularly cheese– will give you a soggy crust and probably a stomach ache too.
Here’s a short video about assembling this delicious pie.
And now for some tips on making thin, delicious pizza crust.
Whole Wheat Crust
(for two 10-inch (25cm) pizzas)
(adapted from Quick Whole Wheat Bread Tart Dough in Salad as a Meal by Patricia Wells.)
3/4 cup (180ml) whole wheat flour
3/4 cup (180ml) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if needed and for dusting
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon table salt or fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup (160ml) lukewarm (about 100F or 38C) tap water
2 teaspoons olive oil
For the crust:
1. Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse to combine.
2. Add the oil to the warm water and then, with the motor running, gradually pour the liquid into the food processor until the mixture forms a sticky ball. (This should just take a few seconds.) If the mixture is too dry and won’t come together, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of water. If it’s extremely wet and sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour.
3. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface and kneed for about a minute. Form into a ball.
4. Cover with a cloth and let rise for at least 10 minutes before rolling out. (Or keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days, punching down as necessary.)
5. Divide in half and roll out or stretch on a lightly floured surface to a diameter of about 10 inches (25cm). The crust will be thin –about 1/4 inch (5mm)– but it handles easily.
6. Transfer to a pizza peel or cutting board generously dusted with cornmeal before proceeding. Top as desired and bake in a very hot oven –500F (260C).
Traditional Neapolitan-Style Crust
(for 4 10-inch (25cm) pizzas, adapted from A16 Food and Wine by Nate Appleman and Shelly Lindgren)
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups (355ml) warm water (about 100F or 38C)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups (945ml) all-purpose flour
1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let it proof for 10 minutes (until you have a soft, frothy paste on top of the water). Stir in the olive oil and salt.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour and yeast mixture and mix together on low speed for about 2 minutes. Then knead the dough on low speed for about 10 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and looks smooth.
3. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest for about 5 minutes. Then return it to the mixer and knead it on low speed for another 10 minutes until the dough is very smooth and soft.
4. Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to this bowl and turn it so that it’s completely covered in a film of olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
5. The next day, punch down the dough, then fold over the sides and turn the dough over in the bowl. Return to the fridge for at least 24 more hours.
6. About two hours before you’re ready to make pizza, remove the dough from the fridge and cut into four pieces. (You can also just cut off what you need and return the rest to the fridge. The dough will keep for at least a week.) One at a time, cup each piece in your hands and turn over the sides until you have formed a smooth ball. Place the balls on a floured work surface and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let them rest for 90 minutes to two hours, or until they have doubled in volume. (If a skin starts to form on the dough, dampen it again — a skin will prevent it from rising properly.)
7. Pat the dough into a disk and then stretch it into a round 10-12 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. Place on a cutting board or pizza peel generously dusted with cornmeal before proceeding. Top as desired and bake in a very hot oven –500F (260C).