Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sourdough Pizza on a Wood Stove

Some friends wanted to get together for a pizza dinner with the kids. I made a sourdough pizza dough, because "Murph" my starter, has been neglected for a while. We're all hanging out, laughing, talking all at once and watching the munchkins play, as folks do, when bourbonbaker had a fabulous idea. Always wishing I had a wood-fired pizza oven, I looked over at the flaming hot woodstove in the corner and said, "can we cook our dinner on that?"

Well, gosh, the looks I got from my friends were priceless. Mostly, "are you nuts" kind of looks, but also the, "here she goes again, might as well humor her" kind. So, Jenn and I head upstairs for cleaning products and Philip goes outside for firewood.

I did a quick clean on the top of the wood stove with vinegar and water and we were set.

*We kicked the kids out of the room and upstairs so they didn't get any brilliant ideas about cooking their own food or touching the stove in any way*

Philip put 2 big logs on the fire and a ton of kindling, the idea being that we needed the stove as hot as possible. As the adults are close to undressing to cool down in the sweltering room, Jenn runs and opens a window. Great thinking woman, that's why we always need an adult on the team.

I toss 2 big pizzas on top of the stove and the effect is amazing, immediately the crust starts to bubble. Audibly, this is what sensory cooking is all about; the crackling of the fire, stray pieces of arugula snapping on top of the stove and the crust, releasing steam and making popcorn-like popping noises.

3 minutes and 41 seconds later, the pizza is done. To make an eye-pleasing and kid-pleasing effect, I take a quick blowtorch to the top to get a little browning on the cheese and voila, dinner time.

*Please note that when cooking like this, a fire extinguisher should always be nearby and you should have suitable gear for handling hot foods and the hot stove. To keep hands safely away from the woodstove, I recommend a pizza peel which you can buy at many kitchen retailers like Barnes & Castle or restaurant supply stores.*

Sourdough Pizza- makes 2 crusts

220 g water
325 g ap flour
30 g ripe sourdough starter
2 g fresh yeast (or 1 g instant dry yeast)
1 Tb olive oil
10 g salt

Mix all ingredients except the salt, cover and rest for 20 mins.

Add salt, then stretch and fold 20-30 times.

Rub a small amount of oil onto tabletop and knead dough on the
oiled surface until the oil begins to absorb.

Divide dough into equal pieces, then retard in the fridge for at least 1 day.

When ready to make pizza, remove dough from fridge and let come to room temp, about 1/2 hour. Push dough out onto a floured surface and slowly shape. Don't try tossing this one, it's way too wet! Gradually stretch the dough from the center out into the shape you desire, then transfer to a pizza peel or to the back of a cookie sheet.

Big thank you to our adult supervisor Jenn who made sure we didn't burn the house down AND reminded me that my cell phone has a camera on it, love ya!

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