Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pizzaz at 4000 Metres (12,000 feet) Above Sea Level

Often I am accused of loving to play pizzaiolo (pizza maker) and now after creating pizza at 4000 meters (12,000 ft) it seems altitude doesn´t much effect the fun.

Visiting old friends and old haunts in La Paz, Bolivia gave opportunity to throw flour, pop the cork of wonderful South American wines (Italians prefer to drink beer with pizza) and thrill the young of various generations. I´ve found that adults and kids are equally enthusiastic about an afternoon of making personal pizzas and eating the results. Just offer a huge salad and the Party Menu is complete.

First hint is to make the dough at least 24 hours earlier. The dough relaxes as you should when dazzling your friends and family.

Secound Hint, buy inexpensive unglazed terra cota tiles from any tile store and line the oven-rack placed at the bottom position. If you have a gas oven place tiles on the oven floor. Cook the pizza right on the hot tiles, good results assured.

Pre-heat oven to highest setting (Professional wood oven temperatures reach 750° to 800° F). At home 500° to 550° F works just fine.

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil or veg oil (optional)
1 3/4 cups warm water
cornmeal for dusting pizza peel

The dough should be a little sticky. Form a ball, douse with olive oil, place in plastic bag and refrigerate up to 2 or three days. The longer it reposes the greater your ease in making the thin crust Neopolitana Pizza. Allow dough to come to room temperature before using.

Red Sauce: 1 can (28 oz) of favorite peeled tomatoes
4 teaspoons olive oil
salt to taste

Bechamel Sauce is a good alternative:

Toppings? Think in terms of the pizza you want to eat: Traditional Margarita, Marinara, Mediterranean, Kiddie, Veggie, Hawaiian, etc. Some in our creative crew loved Hearts of Palm, one young palate prefered canned corn and ham. Pfft, new one on me.

P.S. To give ingredients visual pop use a Kitchen Mandoline:, to julienne veggies like the zucchini pictured above. I love the less expensive and versitile Borner V-Slicer:

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