The guy from Little Italy and his pizza making skills

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The phone rings early one Saturday evening and it’s Rob.  “What are you guys up to tonight, how would you like to stop by, we’re making pizza and serving wine.”  When an impromptu offer like this comes up with Rob at the other end, you literally give up all other offers and say “yes, we’re coming, we’re on our way”!  We stopped to pick up some wine  and headed right over.

What you don’t know about Rob is that he’s beyond talented in the kitchen. We’ve spent many a time in each others’ kitchens taste testing and talking food.  He’s a Master Chef in my book, it just all comes naturally to him.  He loves having people over and if and when you attend some of his food gatherings, nobody ever walks out hungry.  Fortunately for us, Rob is a 10 minute walk from us.  He grew up in a section of Wilmington called “Little Italy” famous for its pizza and pasta.  So its only natural that he has some knowledge of making pizza from scratch.

Adding the ingredients into the mixer.  Don’t you just love the color of the KitchenAid mixer?

When it all came together, he poured a bit of oil in the base of the mixer and let it proof in the refrigerator to slow down the activity of the yeast.  Preferably overnight is what the experts call for.  At cool fridge temperatures, yeast behaves differently, producing more of the desirable flavor compounds.  When researching it, I read that the texture and gluten is also improved.  In the above picture, you will see onions caramelizing in the pan in the background on a very low heat.

 

After about an hour in the refrigerator, here’s the beautiful result.  I was completely bowled over by this cold fermentation process – I had never heard of this method before.  But, I can definitely vouch for it, it surely intensified the crust’s flavor and besides, this was the best tasting pizza I had ever had! 🙂 Now for the crust recipe.

A step-by-step tutorial showing how he prepares the dough for making these mini pizzas.

In my humble opinion, I thought that these toppings did the trick, you could actually taste the crust, the cheese, caramelized onions and the arugula.  Simple, yet oh so flavorful!

pizza dough from scratch

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water -105 deg F
  •  1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons veg oil

Method

  1. Mix water, yeast, sugar, salt and 1 cup flour till incorporated.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of regular vegetable oil.
  3. Add second cup of flour – keep mixing for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add third cup of flour – let the mixer do the magic.
  5. Grab the dough and fold it over, shape it.
  6. Spray bowl or add a bit of oil, then put the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  7. Let it ferment overnight.  If using right away, keep for 1 hr in refrigerator.

26 Replies to “The guy from Little Italy and his pizza making skills”

    1. Like you Judi, I too doubted that cold fermentation process as I had never heard or seen it before. But it seems like some of the other readers have and even tried it. I too am ready to give it a go and see how it turns out. Love prosciutto too, but oddly enough now my pizza tastes have changed. The caramelized onions in my humble opinion definitely gave it the flavor and paired with arugula, it was a winner!

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    1. Ahhh interesting that you use that cold fermentation for your sourdough bread. Are you able to tell the differences at all? Not sure if you’ve left it on the counter for comparisons? I see Elaine is now giving lessons on sourdough bread – I’m afraid of getting too hooked on eating sourdough bread all day, so I’m avoiding the temptation 🙂 I hope you’re doing well Julie xo

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  1. I knew about keeping the dough in the refrigerator for bagels, but have not tried it for pizza dough. Will try it next time. Thanks for sharing the recipe Loretta. I love my kitchenaid mixer too.
    What a fabulous friend you have in Rob! The pizza looks delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh so another friend who is knowledgeable about the cold fermentation. Have you tried it Sandhya? Love my mixer too, but it’s not Kitchenaid, and it’s not as sexy as the red one 🙂 Talking about mixers and such…..do you have a smaller gadget for mixing masalas? I used to have one that someone gave me that I used upside down on my blender attachment. But it is no longer and I’m looking to replace it. I also need to replace my spice grinder for powdering dry spices.

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      1. Loretta I have been wanting to try the cold fermentation for pizza dough after seeing your post. But summer gets extra busy doesn’t it?
        For blenders, I have the same upside down one from India. Sadly they don’t make it anymore. It fit on my Osterizer here so it was a great combination with the sharp blades meant for masala grinding from India and the motor from here. In fact I got another Indian blender made for voltage here (Sumit mixers) but have not even use dthat yet as this little attachment is so handy.
        For spice grinding, I liked the Hamilton Beach coffee grinder for its design- the cup comes out so it is easy to keep clean.

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  2. I was a working Mom so when we wanted pizza I’d mix it the evening before and take it out the next evening. I guess I didn’t even know I was doing a cold ferment! But I did notice my homemade crust tasted great and fresh and yeasty and complex. This pizza sounds wonderful! I’m going to try it = it’s been so long since I’ve made pizza I’m not even sure where my recipe is! I love the toppings, too!

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    1. Thanks Mollie and you GO GIRL!! You were the one then that invented the cold fermentation process? 🙂 Great to hear though, it seems like many have heard of the process, but I hadn’t and I’m willing to give that a try and see how it differs. It will be pizza making weather soon, (yes I know, pizza is a year round fav), but it tastes better in the cooler weather with a glass of red no? 🙂

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      1. lol, Loretta! I used to do the same thing with my chocolate chip cookies, haha! It was just that I always had to try to work ahead – I’d pick the kiddos up at about 5:45 after commuting from downtown! The poor things would have perished, wasted away to nothing, if I didn’t get dinner out fast! I think the more glasses of red you have the better any pizza will taste, haha!!

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