Yellow Topped Pizza and Using a New Pizza Tool!

I fancied making a pizza with just one colour and for this week it was yellow.  I used some small yellow tomatoes with a sliced up yellow bell pepper.  The pepper was fried beforehand. So, this turned into a very fresh and tasty pizza that would be perfect for someone who loves yellow or just because it's a nice pizza to make.  The pizza was cooked using the Ooni 3 gas-fired pizza oven.

The Dough Recipe for this pizza was:

  • 500g Molino Grassi 00 Flour
  • 9g dissolved table salt
  • 3g yeast
  • 6 hour room temp proof
  • 5 day cold proof

I used the pizza dough option on my bread-maker

I think the Molino Grassi flour dough cooks really well under a gas flame and provides a great crust.  The stone was hot - about 460c in the middle - maybe I should have left it cool slightly down to 440c.  The base turned out well but I had to lift it off the stone a bit during the cook.

USING A NEW PIZZA TOOL!!

I had to get one of these tools.  I'd seen it on Amazon and wanted to give it a go with the dough.  I know that when I started making pizza I would have benefited from using this tool for times when things weren't going to plan.  My dough has improved since and I will continue hand-stretching with no tools.  However, back then when my dough wasn't so good I would have found this tool handy to save the day!  If you are a beginner pizza maker this tool may be useful at times but learning to stretch pizza dough by hand is definitely a better way to make great pizza!

The dough recipe for this Pizza:

  • 500g Blue Caputo Flour 00
  • 9g dissolved table salt
  • 0.2 g dissolved dry yeast
  • 300g water  (150g for the yeast, 150g for the salt)

Used the pizza dough option on the bread-maker machine.

  • 24 hour room temperature proof

The tomatoes and ham were so tasty on this cook.  The ham cooked wonderfully in the oven because the flames had given it a crispy edge.  The dough cooked really well giving the pizza a delicious crispy, bubbly crust.  The base of the pizza wasn't that great - it could have been better!  The temperature of the stone when the pizza went in was 440c in the middle which is normally good to go, but I think I should have let that increase to 450 to 460c.  The flame was very fierce at the back and yet the stone temperature right at the door was about 400c.  I kept the pizza away from the strong flames at the back but the base wasn't getting the 440c heat it needed.  If the flame at the back had been less fierce I would've moved the pizza up further into the oven and the base would have cooked just fine.

And that leads me on to one of the things I really love about the Ooni Pro - and that is the size of the oven.  You are able to move your pizza around to suit the flame cook - bring it forward - move it back.  This helps so much when you cook with real flames and gives you more control. 

See you soon!

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CIABATTA BREAD-MAKING AND PIZZA MARINARA IN A WOOD-FIRED PIZZA OVEN

I fancied making ciabatta bread rolls this week.  Only because I'd never made them before and I had some bread flour that was nearing its use by date.  I've made bread in the wood-fired pizza oven before but not ciabatta.

I found some standard wood-fired recipes off the internet.  The first thing I needed to make was "biga", the night before the bake.  It's the starter used to create those lovely big holes in the bread. That was the easy part.  It was just like making a small amount of dough and leaving it to room proof for 24 hours.

I used a US version of the dough recipe and I had to convert the Cups into Grams and this may be where I went a bit wrong!  I searched for how many Grams in a Cup and I found an answer that stated 128g for flour and 237g for water.  I'm still not sure if those measurements are correct but they are the ones I used for this recipe.  This recipe stated they used all purpose flour and I was using bread flour.  Looking back there is a difference to the Gram amount for all purpose and bread flour.  So it's 128g for All Purpose flour and 136g for Bread flour.  This explains why my dough mixture was so runny.

BIGA

  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, 1 cup all purpose flour

DOUGH

  • 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon yeast, Biga, 4 cups all purpose flour, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt

 

I placed all of the ingredients into the bread-maker and switched the dough option on.  But the consistency was so runny the blade just swished around.  There was no way the ingredients I had placed in there would form a dough.  So not to waste what I had already started I added more flour - pouring it in until it formed a very wet consistency that I'd be able to pick up.  I added at least another 1.5 Cups to the mixture.   This dough has a very high hydration level and it's very wet to handle.  It sticks to everything like glue so you'll need to get your hands floured up just to handle it!  I got flour everywhere and I had dough sticking to my sink and taps!

Whilst the dough was getting its second and final room proof for an hour  - I was busy getting the pizza oven temperature down to 250c.   I placed the dough on a metal peel covered in parchment to stop the very wet dough from sticking to the peel.  That worked and after a few turns and about 20 minutes later the rolls were ready.

What did I learn from this first cook?  

  • Try not to get flour and the sticky dough everywhere - this dough is very wet and sticks like glue to everything!
  • Biga is really easy to make and it's a fantastic starter.
  • Placing the dough balls on a metal peel/tray with parchment for the final rise is a really good idea.
  • The flour you use may affect the consistency of your dough and a bit of tweaking may be required.
  • Using parchment is a really good idea and it doesn't burst into flames in the oven!
  • Keep an eye on your bread - regular turning is needed.  Also, you will be close enough to smell it cooking or burning!

PIZZA MARINARA

Of all the pizzas I've made - this recipe frightens me the most.  I think my last attempt on video making this Pizza Marinara was a disaster and ended up in my Pizza Fail Playlist.  It's taken me at least a year to make this again.  I have bad pizza memories of the experience!  And what is my greatest fear about this recipe you may ask?  It's the olive oil.  The final set of this recipe is pouring rather a lot of olive oil onto the dough.  And if you don't get that pizza straight into the oven, the oil seeps into the dough and there you have it - a disaster in the making!

Even with this cook I didn't quite get it right.  ARGH.  My oven wasn't quite ready because I forgot to add the log 5 minutes before.  This meant I had to wait for the oven stone to increase in temperature whilst my oil was seeping into the dough!  After all of the cooks I've made I can pretty much get away with these little issues - but not with the Marinara!

The pizza cooked well and quite fast for me too which was nice.  The basil melted beautifully into the sauce and the oil prevented its delicate leaves from burning.  Those ingredients are so tasty together - a real pizza classic.  So, if you are new to making Marinara - just remember that once you pour that oil onto the dough, try and get your pizza into the oven as soon as you can.

See you next week!

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SALMON PIZZA AND LAMB PIZZA. AND I’VE MADE SOME INSTAGRAM CHANGES!

SALMON PIZZA

We made another two pizzas this week - a Salmon Pizza and a Lamb Pizza and they were both very tasty but not without their challenges!  The Salmon Pizza was undoubtedly the nicest fish pizza I've made so far.  Another white pizza, I spread some light soft cheese onto the base, added mozzarella, salmon pieces, a sprinkle of sweet chilli sauce and finished off with a garnish of rocket leaves (arugula).

This cooked quite fast (compared to the troublesome Lamb pizza cook!).  I was disappointed with the pizza base though.  The temperature on the stone was 420c in the middle and that just wasn't enough.  I should have waited a bit more for it to rise to 440c.

The dough recipe I used:

  • 500g Blue Caputo Dough 00 Flour
  • 300g water
  • 9g dissolved salt
  • 0.2g dissolved dried yeast

Process:

I used a Panasonic bread maker with the Pizza Dough option that runs for 45 minutes.  I'm not sure I've mentioned this before  -  I use 150g of the water to dissolve the salt and the other 150g to dissolve the yeast.  I keep them separate, then mix them quickly into the flour with a spoon and finally place the ingredients into the bread-maker.  The dough goes straight into the proofing bowl for a 24 hour room temperature proof.  I ball up the dough and cook it straightaway.  In the video I explain why I do a 24 hour room proof.  There are 2 main reasons: One, it comes out great - taste and texture and Two, it's handy for the unpredictable Winter weather.  

MINCED LAMB PIZZA

Wow, I messed this cook up big time!  I mean - once I got outside to the pizza oven I managed to create a mess but one that I was able to extricate myself from thankfully!  It started off with the log suddenly losing its flame as soon as I had placed the pizza into the oven.  That meant I had to add kindling to boost a flame otherwise the pizza top would have remained under-cooked.  But because the stone was very hot I had to remove the pizza from the oven whilst I put the kindling in to prevent the pizza base from burning.

Once the kindling had taken, it went back into the oven.  The stone remained hot which meant I had to lift the pizza off the stone for most of the cook.  Should I blame the windy day for the log burning out too fast and the stone getting too hot too fast?  No.  I messed up but at least I knew how to save it.  6 months ago I wouldn't have done that.  I would've just carried on with an uncooked top and a totally singed base!

And the thing is - this cook was really fun.  This is the type of challenge that inspired me to share my pizza cooking on video - to show the good and the bad and learn from them.   No matter what - it is the oven that controls me - the fire is the boss and it will put me in my place when I least expect it.  And that's a good thing - it will ensure I never get too confident around flames and fire - you can't play with fire!

INSTAGRAM STORIES AND IMPROVING MY GALLERY!

I've been using Instagram for about 2 years where I've been adding a photo of each pizza I've made to create a pizza gallery.  But there was something missing - it looked soulless to me. So last week I set out to re-vamp it.  I've learnt to add Instagram stories and I'm uploading stills from the pizza videos to the gallery:  

https://www.instagram.com/got2eatpizza/

Hopefully this will give the gallery that extra bit of personality.  There's also an "Updates" button which highlights when I've updated this Blog for example and when I upload a Video.  

Please check the gallery out on Instagram and I really do hope you like the changes!  Thank you 🙏.

See you next week!

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MEATBALL PIZZA AND BACON PIZZA COOKED IN A WOOD-FIRED PIZZA OVEN.

MEATBALL PIZZA - COMPARING A GAS COOK TO A WOOD FIRED COOK

We've been back to using the wood-fired oven this week and the dough suits it better.  I made the same Meatball Pizza as last week - using the same dough recipe and toppings.  In this video I cooked the Meatball Pizza in the wood-fired oven then added clips from the gas-fired oven Pizza to provide a visual comparison of the two cooks:

The outcome from the two differently cooked Pizzas shows that even with the same dough and toppings the gas and wood ovens do provide different results - but not huge ones.  The main difference I noticed was the top of the gas Pizza certainly had been cooked harder, whereas the wood-fired oven had cooked the top in a gentle and less vicious way (I had the gas power on full throttle to cook the crust)!

It also took a while for the gas to cook the dough on the crust and that was one of the reasons why I had to hold the peel over the toppings to protect them whilst the crust cooked.  My thoughts on this are that the dough I'm currently using has been tweaked to work well with a wood-fired flame.  For the gas I will recreate my older dough recipe using Molino Grassi and try again.

This was a delicious pizza and it cooked well.  The taste difference between the gas and wood is minimal.  There is a slight difference but it's very subtle.  I need to do a blind taste test experiment - that'll be interesting.  The wood-fired flame certainly brought the leoparding back to the crust.

BACON AND ONION PIZZA USING A WOOD-FIRED PIZZA OVEN

I made this Pizza on Friday in such a flurry because I only had 45 minutes to get the oven to temperature, make the pizza and cook it.  Why?  Rain.  The weather forecast had predicted just a 10% chance of rain.  And that was due to increase to 50% within the hour.  We've had so much bad weather - rain and strong winds practically every day that it's been impossible to get outdoors for a cook and so if there's a break in the cloud at this time of year - you've got to go for it!

It was a bit windy but overall this was a really good cook.  The bacon lardons together with the cooked and uncooked onions worked well together.

This was the first white pizza I'd cooked in a while and a nice change from a tomato based pizza.  The fried mushrooms together with the onions and bacon were perfect topping combinations.  Add some pine nuts and rocket leaves and you've made one tasty pizza!  The pine nuts roasted beautifully in the flames and provided the hidden crunch within each bite. Yum!

Back to the weather on this Pizza.  Within 5 minutes of finishing the cook, it poured down.  Big time.  I was lucky.  I'll put a video up to show what happens when it starts pouring with rain for more than an hour right onto your 600 centigrade wood-fired oven!

Hoping for better weather - see you next week!

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ANCHOVY PIZZA & CURRIED CHICKEN PIZZA USING WOOD AND GAS FIRED PIZZA OVENS.

OONI 3 GAS-FIRED PIZZA OVEN - ANCHOVY PIZZA

I love anchovies and particularly the way they crisp under the intense upper heat from the Ooni 3 gas-fired pizza oven.

Anchovies have a strong delicious salty taste so I kept the other toppings subtle and added some black olives, roughly chopped baby spinach - not to forget the buffalo mozzarella and the tomato sauce on the base!  Check it out!

This was a real-time cook and I had the gas on full power throughout just to ensure the crust cooked as fast as possible.  Why did I use the pizza peel to protect the toppings throughout the cook?  It was because my dough was taking longer to cook than the toppings and so if I hadn't covered the top it would have cooked within 60 seconds and the crusts would have been left pale and uncooked.  

I've been tweaking my current dough recipe to work well with wood-flames.  Over the last couple of weeks I'd used the Blue Caputo flour dough recipe in a gas-fired oven for the first time and hadn't realised how differently the dough would cook in a gas flame.  This is all I could do to stop it from burning on the top whilst I waited for my crusts to cook.  And it was fine - the pizza tasted delicious.  

In previous videos where the dough cooked really well with the gas flame I was using the Molino Grassi flour.  As you may know by now I love to experiment with dough etc.  I am going to recreate the Molino Dough recipe that I had used previously and make pizza using the Ooni 3 gas-burner.  I'll do that in the coming weeks....

CURRIED CHICKEN - OONI PRO WOOD-FIRED PIZZA OVEN

Back to wood-flames this time!  I used to think that cooking with wood would be more of a fiddle than cooking with gas.  Your hands (and clothes) do get grubby from the wood and lump-wood ash but other than that - setting up the oven and getting it to the right temperature isn't much more effort.  The gas is cleaner and you just switch it on and after 15 minutes - it's ready.  With the wood, it takes 1 minute to light the kindling and then 5 minutes for the kindling and the lump wood to take.  Then you put the log on and in 5-7 minutes the oven is ready.  So it takes about the same time.

When I started cooking pizza I never thought I would be able to cook with wood.  I'd never cooked with the fuel before and had no idea what to do.  I give huge thanks for the support from the viewers and subscribers who gave comments full of advice on the videos I made. They taught me how to cook with wood.  It's been totally invaluable and has definitely shortened my learning curve considerably.  If you are a newbie to wood-fired cooking you may find it helpful to check out the comments on the Ooni Pro videos uploaded from September 2018 when I had just started to use the Ooni Pro.  And if you have any comments or thoughts on cooking pizza with wood or gas then please leave them in the comments section below!

The Curried Chicken Pizza was very tasty and the colourful toppings looked as good as they tasted!  I'm using baby spinach as a topping here as it works really well with the curry.  When I make slow-cooked curries I always add a large handful of fresh spinach to it.  I am also using baby spinach on a lot of my pizzas at the moment to replace Basil.  Unfortunately, my house temperature (which isn't freezing!) gets low enough at times during the Winter to kill off my growing Basil.  It just droops, gets all floppy and withers away at this time of year. 

For this Pizza I used my standard wood-fired Blue Caputo dough recipe but changed the process slightly.  I left the dough to rise for 24 hours at room temperature and I also gave it a 24 hour cold-proof too.  This dough enjoyed that final proof.  But again it was so bubbly even though I had only put in 0.3 g of yeast!  So I need to lower that again to 0.2g and see if that does anything.

It's been a busy but a lovely and sunny week which was good as our family had been off for the half-term break!

See you next week!

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