Friday, 3 August 2012

Voh-dee-oh-dough!


I have nothing against Chicago but I would rather trust Al Capone and his mob than tuck into a slice of pizza that bears his city´s name.That said, pizza owes so much to the Windy City´s flapper era and its "Voh doh dee oh doh".In the 1920´s  a new woman was born.She smoked,drank,danced and voted.She cut her hair,wore make-up and went to petting parties.She was giddy and took risks.She was a flapper and even had a magazine named after her.Was this the right definition of flapper? The dictionary set me right by defining the word as.....

"a fledgling,yet in the nest,and vainly attempting to fly while its wings only have pinfeathers"

A great way to describe pizza dough before it has been given a good kneading.Set pizza making in a Vaudville-esque Chicago reminiscent of the 1920´s and it is crying out for a little voh-dee-oh-doughing.These petting parties,where petting("making out" or to put it bluntly foreplay)was the main attraction,became popular.A hot sultry Portuguese summer may not seem the time or the place for heavy petting, or rather kneading dough,yet not surprisingly the constant heat couldn´t be more conducive to "making out" and getting a Portuguese pizza dough to rise to the occasion.The heat in the summer is a more even heat so you get a slower,more natural rise. Not to use your hands is such a pity.The gratification one gets from feeling the warm,springy dough against the palm of your hands conjures up unrepeatable images. The sensation is akin to the cooks answer to foreplay.So, put on your pinny,open a bag of flour,dust your pastry board and, imagining yourself for a moment as the reincarnation of Louise Brooks, get Voh dee-oh-doughing.
Rosemary and olive pizza dough
250g plain white flour
250g strong white bread flour
1 sachet dried yeast or 5g fresh yeast
10g salt
350ml warm water
3 bushy sprigs rosemary finely chopped
12 black olives pitted and halved
In a bowl mix the flours,yeast,salt and water.If you are using fresh yeast,then dissolve the crumbled yeast into a little of the warm water before adding it to the flour.Mix to a pliable dough using your hands which will become very sticky until all the ingredients come together.Mix in the rosemary and olives and knead more until they are well combined into the dough. Turn the dough out onto awell floured board or work surface and knead firmly,but not violently for 10 minutes.When the dough becomes elasticated put it back into a n oiled bowl.cover it loosely with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place for an hour or two.the dough will rise to about double its original size.when you press it with your finger it should feel springy and alive. 
Get your oven really hot (240C/Gas mark 8).
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and cut it into 2  or four pieces,depending on what sized pizzas you want.
Roll out each piece to give you a pizza base.
add your chosen topping and transfer to a pizza stone or flat metal sheet 
and bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until any cheese is bubbling and the pizza base is lightly crispening up.
A suggested topping
 and for the Portuguese incarnation try this.......
David Leites Pizza à Portuguesa /Portuguese Pizza


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