we’ve made our own pizza several times before, each time a little differently. the first time, i was trying out my baking stones, and this past summer, we tried making pizza on the grill. each time, i was amazed at how easy the process went and how delicious the end result was. this time around, i had a secret weapon to make the pizza even better – 00 flour.
the flour came from Kalustyan’s, a specialty foods store we visited in new york city. the place is basically a warehouse of spices, jams, mixes, olives and anything else you might have a hard time finding at your local supermarket. seriously, check out their website, and prepare to salivate.
in italy, flour is classified by how finely it is ground, from most coarse (2) to most fine (00). the classifications go deeper (there are even myriad types of 00 flour to choose from in italy), but the general rule is that 00 is best for pizza and pasta. i wanted to try it out and see how it compared to ordinary all-purpose flour.
everything i read about 00 flour before getting started assured me that it would extremely easy to use, which proved to be very true. the dough came together extremely quickly and cleanly, even as i mixed it with my bare hands. after a few rises, it was easy to shape into rough discs. handling the dough as little as possible results in a chewy, crispy crust, while overworking it gives you a dough that’s too dense and tough. luckily, these kept their shape without too much trouble.
one of the biggest challenges of making pizza at home is getting the oven hot enough (most home ovens don’t reach 800 F). when the girl and i moved into our new place last summer, i was skeptical that the electric oven we would now be using would stand up to the gas oven we had become accustomed to previously. to the contrary, the electric oven has heated more quickly and evenly, and in the case of baking pizza, finally gave us the just blackened melty mozzarella cheese we wanted.
here’s one with a pesto base, caramelized onions, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese. these pictures are making me hungry again.
this pizza (one of the favorites of the night) was topped with a bean salad, mexican cheese and cilantro. overall, the difference in taste between the 00 flour crust and the all-purpose flour crust (both recipes below) was pretty minimal. regardless, it still may be a fun idea to try again, either with a different 00 flour brand, or incorporating it into pasta rather than pizza.