Breaking in a Pizza Stone with Kate and Nir

As do most newlyweds, Kate and Nir have a neglected pizza stone. It was pretty obvious from looking at it that its only purpose had been reheating a couple rogue slices. There are certainly better ways to reheat a slice (or maybe this one) and most folks who have stones have no idea how to use them, so I figured this would be a great opportunity to show them you don’t need a brick oven to pop out a good pie.

This was a particularly rainy night and I foolishly rode my bike across town so I traveled pretty light. All I had was some dough, a bit of cheese, can of tomatoes, small tin of oil and a cheese grater. No peel, no extra flour, no slicer, etc. I like improvising but the underside of a lipped cookie sheet isn’t the most efficient means of transporting a dressed dough skin into the oven. I had some near disasters but the resulting pizza, however misshapen, was still pretty tasty.

The big hit of the night was a pie with onions, mushrooms, egg and za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice. We dropped the egg on it about 2 minutes before the pie was done and smacked the still-liquid yolk so the rest would cook on the hot cheese after removed from the oven. Za’atar gave the pie a nice kick without overpowering the other flavors with too much heat.

Kate and Nir stretched and topped this one — AMAZING JOB! The fresh tomato slices were really nice and I love that they finished the pie with tiny shreds of basil. Classic! Something tells me this stone is about to get some heavy use.

Now it’s time for a sexy crumb shot…

My stretching was way off. You can see some extra thickness in the center. I’m ashamed of it, but displaying this publicly is the first step toward recovery. You can probably tell from the following dough formula that I was just trying to get rid of partially-used bags of flour.

75g King Arthur Whole Wheat
230g Pillsbury Bread Flour
320g Pillsbury Bleached All Purpose Flour
208g Ischia Starter
400g tap water
16g salt

4 day cold rise, 2 hour pre-bake proof

I love red onions on a pie and we tossed these ones onto a bed of mozzarella, mushrooms and creamy farmers’ cheese. It was absolutely delightful! Suffice it to say Kate and Nir’s pizza stone is fully functional and did a great job of baking these pies. Now they just need to get a peel so I don’t have to risk the life of every pie with an upside-down cookie sheet.

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