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.

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

  1. Interesting – I checked my site to see if any of my dough recipes did the cold treatment and I couldn’t find any. Will have to give this a try as I love pizza and love it even more when I can make my own – might have to add some prosciutto 🙂

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  2. This looked familiar, as I have the same color mixer! 🙂
    I do use cold fermentation when I want to prepare my dough in advance, or when it’s too hot, but I can’t say I’ve noticed huge differences in the baked product.

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  3. Can’t wait to try this recipe and refrigeration tip! Also, loving that small video clip-makes a daunting task seem easier:-) (for those who might be nervous !) Thanks!! and yum.

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  4. 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!

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