This is the first time that I have made pizza that is unquestionably better than what I get from the local pizza place, and it baked in my toaster oven.
My husband loves Sicilian pizza, but sometimes this pizza has a little too much cheese and the crust is gummy and underdone underneath the heavy layer of sauce.
This pizza had no such problems. The crust was deliciously greasy and super crispy, and not gummy or underdone at all. The secret is not making the crust too thick, using plenty of olive oil, and using less sauce and cheese.
The recipe is from Nick Malgieri’s The Modern Baker. Nonna’s Pizza (p. 118) is a pizza that Malgieri remembers his grandmother making. The basis for the crust is Dough for Thick-Crusted Pizza and for Focaccia (p. 114). Malgieri provides four recipes for using this dough: besides Nonna’s Pizza, there is Sfincione (a Palermo Foccacio topped with anchovy enriched tomato sauce and caciocavallo cheese plus bread crumbs), Focaccia alla Barese (Apulian Onion, Anchovy, and Olive Focaccia), and Filled Ham and Cheese Focaccia.
If you want to see Malgieri make this dough, there is a wonderful YouTube video which he has posted on his website. For the dough recipe, follow the above link for Focaccia alla Barese. There is also a nearly identical dough recipe on Malgieri’s website: Focaccia alla Novese. The main difference is that the Novese recipe calls for 5 Tbl. of lard or olive oil instead of the 3 Tbl. of olive oil called for in the recipe in The Modern Baker.
Here is what I did differently: I mixed the flour, yeast, and salt together, and then added warm water. After thoroughly mixing the dough, I added in the olive oil. Malgieri give genorous rising times (1-2 hours for the first rise, up to 1 hour for the second), but you can let the dough rise for only an hour for the first rise and about a half hour for the second rise. Or even less.
A comment on the salt: I used a Tbl. of kosher salt instead of the two teaspoons of salt specified.
To make the pizza, you need 3 cups of peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes. In a sidebar, he notes that you can take canned tomatoes and drain them well. I took a 28 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes and drained them to get a measly 1 1/4 cups of diced tomatoes.
I divided the dough in half and made two 10″x10″ pizzas. For the first, I spread on the diced tomatoes, 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, 1/2 clove of garlic (very thinly sliced), 3 ounces of mozzarella, and 2 Tbl. of olive oil. For the second, I used more of the oregano and garlic, a thin layer of Barilla Baking Sauce, and another 3 ounces of cheese and some more olive oil.
When the pizzas were done, I thought the cheese amount was rather scanty, barely sufficient. Malgieri says that cheese is optional, so this pizza is not really about the cheese.
The pizza with the chopped tomatoes was the crispiest. The tomatoes were sweet and delicious and did not make the crust soggy at all. The pizza with the thin layer of tomato sauce tasted more like pizza place Sicilian pizza, except thinner and with less cheese.
What really amazed me was that I got a great crust in my toaster oven in about 25 minutes of baking at 425-450 degrees. With regular thin crust pizzas, I have gotten more mediocre results. Maybe the olive oil keeps the dough tender, so it can bake long enough to get brown without getting tough.
Note to ABin5 fans: this dough is extremely similar to the olive oil dough in ABin5 (p.134). Both are no-knead, both are enriched with oil, but the ABin5 has slightly less oil and a bit of sugar added.
I am sending this over to YeastSpotting.