Monday, 27 May 2013

Asparagus and Cheese Fondue Pizza with a Biga


Increasingly I find the quality of a pizza crust is improved no end by making the dough with a biga. I simply add half the yeast I would normally use, in this case 3 to 4 grams of fast action yeast, all of the water and enough of the flour to make a very thick batter, just before going to bed; in the morning I am greeted by a very healthy looking ferment with which to make the dough.
When it's asparagus season, here in Norfolk and cheese fondue was on the menu the night before, I think combining the two to make a pizza topping makes complete sense.

For this recipe you will need:
For the base
Half a packet of fast action yeast
500ml of water
700g of strong white bread flour
12g of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil.

For the topping;
300g of grated mozzarella
300g of left over cheese fondue
400g of blanched asparagus
A little olive oil

Begin the night before by making the biga as described above. Leave overnight to ferment; in the morning add the remaining flour, salt and olive oil and knead until you have a smooth elastic dough. Leave to rise in a cool place, stretching and folding every hour. I find the dough is happy enough in this state for a good 6 hours but that's because I can keep it relatively cool. Transfer the dough to the fridge in order to suit you own timing, taking it out of the fridge 4 hours before you need to cook the pizzas. Divide the dough, this quantity make 4 medium size pizzas, and leave for an hour before stretching them out into a large thin round, placing on a  pizza stone heated in a hot oven, 240C and placing on your topping. Drizzle with a little olive oil and cook for 7 to 10 minutes.

Notes:
I have taken to placing a few oak shavings on a sheet of kitchen foil in the bottom of my oven when I switch it on, the shavings begin to smoke as the pizza goes into the oven and the result is the distinctive flavour you get from a traditional wood fired pizza oven, sadly domestic ovens can't achieve the high heat of these ovens so the result is not exactly the same.


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