Pizza With a Preferment Dough

Today I taught a yeast baking class. I wanted my students to taste a pizza made with a preferment dough (some call this a poolish or sponge). If you make your own dough already, this recipe will not seem that complicated. If you would rather make a one step process dough, please see the "Really Good Pizza" post found in May 2010. The preferment is a slow process, but well worth it! So plan ahead; the dough takes three days.

Step #1
2 1/2 c. bread or pizza flour
1/8 t. dry yeast
14 oz. bottled spring water, room temperature

In a container with a fitted lid (at least 1 qt.) combine flour, yeast and water. Mix to a smooth paste. Cover the mixture with a towel and let set out for about ten hours. If it is a particularly warm day, make that eight hours.

Step #2
Cover and refrigerate for two days.

After two days in the refrigerator, the mixture will expand and become very bubbly.

Step #3
In a mixing bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast and 2 tablespoons spring water to a smooth paste. Scoop the preferment into the yeast mixture with 1 1/2 to 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Knead for about 5 minutes. The dough should be tacky but not sticky. This all can be done in a KitchenAid using the dough hook or by hand.

Oil the dough and place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or a ziplock bag. Refrigerate the dough for eight to twelve hours.

With floured hands, remove the dough onto a floured surface. Cut the dough into four pieces, well-dusting (coating) the dough balls with flour. Cover with a towel and let the dough come up to room temperature (this will take about one hour). This would be an ideal time to prep the the toppings. For a classic pizza margherita, see "Really Good Pizza" May 2010 post. Note: this type of dough will not support raw vegetables or a heavy sauce.

Sage Gorgonzola Pizza (photo above)
For one ten inch pizza. If you want all four of the pizzas with this topping, just quadruple everything but the olive oil (use only 1 cup):

About 8 sage leaves, stem included
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 t. salt
2 oz. gorgonzola cheese

Heat a pan for one minute. Add the olive oil followed immediately with garlic, pepper flakes, sage leaves and salt. Cook for two minutes. Cool. Top the rolled dough, placed on a floured pizza peel, with this mixture, then dot with gorgonzola cheese. Slide pizza onto a pre-heated (450 degrees or higher) pizza stone. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove pizza using pizza peel.

Here is one of the other pizzas we made today:


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