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Thursday

Stratoblogster Nails Ultimate Pizza Crust!

Oblong's are easier to shape and handle if you don't toss. Plus, you can still cut triangle slices!


I'm flexing this. It doesn't flop nor does it crumble.


Thin and chewy, with crispy edges and a little snap when you take a bite!


Maybe we'll come up with how this is some kinda guitar related metaphor, and maybe we won't.

Either way, this is such a milestone event in my life that I have to talk about it. Besides, most people like pizza-- including guitar geeks.

I've been working for awhile on dialing in a great East Coast style thin pizza crust, and finally nailed it a couple days ago. Yeah, while all the other guitar bloggers were either at NAMM or caught up online, I was busy perfecting my pizza crust!

The crust is very thin and only crispy on the outer edges. Overall, it's firm and chewy, and doesn't flop when you pick it up. It just flexes a little. I'm utilizing three different types of flour in specific ratios, along with plenty of kneading and proofing (rising). I turn my oven up all the way to 500F, and use a large unfinished stone tile I got from Lowes for under $8. You don't need to spend $40 or more at a kitchen store for a pizza stone. The stone tile just has to be unfinished and porus; no glaze. Add 30 minutes to your preheat time in order for the stone to get real hot.

Get a large pizza paddle or peel-- or grind down a Fender Squier body real thin and use the neck for a handle. My crust recipe is based upon Albert Grande's Youtube demo. How it differs, is that I use 3.5 cups of bread flour and .5 cups of semolina flour. Then, while kneading it I add high gluten flour, and knead for about 10 minutes. Everything else is the same as Albert's.

Use a high quality flour brand. I use Bob's Red Mill products, produced in the Pacific NW, but available in finer markets across the US.

After rising in a large container this size batch is divided into eight balls which I roll into oblong crusts about 5" x 18". At this dimension the dough is very thin. I roll it out with a rolling pin, using lots more semolina flour, which feels like fine sand. You'll also need plenty of semolina between the paddle and the crust, so that it slides easily onto the stone. I roll my crusts right on the paddle, and do two at a time. Sometimes corn meal is used in the same way, but I prefer semolina as it makes for a chewy, crispy crust without grittiness.

On a stone at 500F, these pizzas take 5 minutes-- and they sizzle when they hit the stone! They usually don't stick to the stone, but it's best to stick a fork in the crust and pull it onto the paddle when done. These pizzas are very light, and it's too easy to push them into the back of the oven with the paddle.

The oblong shape can still be cut into traditional triangular slices, plus they're easier to handle than large round crusts. They're also easier to shape than a large round crust, unless you can toss, which is the best way to make an evenly thick-perfectly round crust. Physics.

As for toppings, that's up to you! Just know that 5 minutes at 500F will brown the mozzarella and soften bell peppers if the peppers are sliced nice and thin. Anything else is gonna fall within those textures if you slice thin.

The next day, I made calzones with the same oblong roll-outs simply by topping just like pizzas, then pulling up the sides and ends, and pinching together at the top. Go ahead and leave some gaps in the top seam for steam to escape. These calzones are a nice golden brown, and they don't get soggy.

There ya have it folks! The guitar metaphor is to just keep playin' till you nail it, and when you're done jammin', make some pizza!


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