Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, Prosciutto and Black Olive Pizza with Béchamel Sauce
Recipe by Dragon
Basic Pizza Dough Recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart
This was my second Daring Baker's Challenge. Pizza!! I've always wanted to try my hand at pizza dough. Part of the challenge was to use the toss method for stretching and shaping the pizza. I have tall ceilings in my kitchen so I thought this would be a cinch. Ummm, well, not so much, no. I failed at the pizza toss. I managed to get flour all over me. It hit the light fixture once and the kitchen cupboards twice. Sigh. It was kind of fun though and I would recommend everyone give it a try. Even if it's just for the laughs.
The challenge required us to use Peter Reinhart's pizza dough recipe but the toppings and sauce combination was up to us. I decided to get creative and go gourmet with my pizza. I started with a Béchamel sauce infused with garlic and Parmesan cheese. For the toppings I sautéed some cremini mushrooms with thyme and white wine. I also added caramelized onions, Prosciutto and black olives. This pizza was pure heaven. Enjoy!
Makes One 12-inch pizza
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk, hot
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup of water
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 slices of Prosciutto, coarsely sliced
1/3 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Basic Pizza Dough: Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches pizzas).
4 1/2 cups Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all-purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Instant yeast
1/4 cup Olive oil or vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 tablespoon sugar
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting
1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).
2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.
NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.
3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.
4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).
NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.
5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.
NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.
6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.
7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.
NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespoons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.
8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.
9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).
NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.
10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.
NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.
During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping. In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully, then try again. You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.
11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.
12. Make the Béchamel Sauce. Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add flour to the melted butter and cook for about 2 minutes. While whisking, add garlic and hot milk to the sauce pan and stir until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Add nutmeg, pepper and cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted into the sauce. Keep warm until ready to use.
13. Make Caramelized Onions: Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat and add onions, salt, pepper and sugar. Sauté for 1 minute and then add water. Continue to cook until the water is evaporated and the onions are caramelized.
14. Prepare Mushrooms: Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat and add the mushrooms. Cook for 2 minutes then add salt, pepper, garlic and thyme. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add the white wine and continue cooking until the mushrooms are golden and the wine has evaporated.
15. Spread the top of the pizza with the Béchamel sauce just to the edges of the pizza. Top evenly with the caramelized onions, mushrooms, Prosciutto and black olives. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and thyme leaves over the top. The notes say that you shouldn't have more that 3 or 4 toppings (including cheese and sauce) for a good pizza. I say, what the heck, go nuts. :)
16. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.
17. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a bit before slicing.