Getting to the more meaty part of the story, I like the dough that Nancy Silverton has created. Without a doubt, she has come up with an innovative, unique crust. Mario Batali, on the other hand, has complemented that with some American-Italian toppings. My favourite of all is the one with slow roasted tomatoes and burrata cheese, which I made replacing burrata with ricotta (se picture above) due to unavailability of burrata.
As into bread making as I am, it is only logical that I wanted to try to reproduce this delicacy, and so I did. The real problem was that a proper recipe cannot be found. After searching through the net multiple times, I came to the conclusion that there is only one recipe published (2 posts with the same recipe: Pizza School, and Scuola di pizza), and it just doesn't work. I tried that recipe and it was nowhere near what you would have at Mozza. So I did further research, and watched numerous videos by Peter Reinhart on the quest for the perfect pizza. About 3 or 4 of them are dedicated to Mozza, and although there is no mentioning of the recipe which is of course a very well protected secret, I worked it out myself by combining bits of information from the Mozza pizza school, and the process used by the factory to produce Mozza's dough.
This dough contains a small amount of rye flour and wheat germ, which contribute to its distinct taste.
The following doses will produce 3 crusts:
- 125g Bread Flour (in Singapore, I used Prima bread flour)
- 125ml Water
- 1 tiny pinch of dried yeast (about 0.5 grams)
- 250g bread flour
- 150ml Water
- 3g Brown rye flour
- 3g Wheat Germ (this can be found in organic products shops)
- 7g Kosher salt
In a bowl, mix 150ml water together with all the flours, but do not add the salt. Once roughly combined, incorporate the poolish into the mixture, and knead using a dough mixer until gluten is almost fully developed. Then add the salt, dissolved into a very small amount of water (10ml will be sufficient) and continue to mix until you reach full gluten development. Use the windowpane technique to check.
Once completed, pull the dough out of the mixer and place it into a bowl. Let it rest for 15 -30 minutes, and it will be ready for shaping. Divide it into three chunks, and shape each one by dusting it into a very small amount of flour (just as much as you need for it not to stick to your fingers), and shape it into a ball by pulling the sides and folding them underneath it then pushing them into it. This operation must be repeated 5-6 times, and it is important to trap bubbles of air into your dough ball, so that you will get a nicely bloated crust once you bake your pizza.
Put the dough balls into a container and tightly seal to prevent air from drying the surface. Place the dough balls in a cold area of your refrigerator and let them rest overnight. 12 to 24 hours later, pull the dough balls out of the fridge and let them rest outside for about 1 to 2 hours. Now they are ready for use. Shape them into a pizza by following the technique shown in this Mozza video. I recommend you finally place the stretched pizza on baking paper and put it into the oven with the paper, or else you will be likely to mess it up unless you have the right tools. In the video below, I filmed the shaping part and the condiment technique for the fennel and spring onions pizza. My video might help you see how this recipe's dough is supposed to behave during the stretching phase.
When it comes to the topping, needless to say that the combinations are unlimited. I made the first one with one of the Mozza classic toppings: cream, onions and spring onions, fennel, and mozzarella (I omitted the sausage as I didn't have one handy).
The second was my favourite Mozza's topping, the slow roasted tomatoes and burrata one. I roasted the tomatoes for about 6 hours at 90C with some salt, thyme and oregano sprinkled on top.
I prepared a base tomato sauce to dress the pizza so that the slow roasted tomatoes could be placed on top of it. To prepare the sauce, I heated some olive oil, added a tin of chopped Italian tomatoes, then cooked them for about 5 minutes with some salt, pepper and fresh basil.
Finally, the cooking stage. The huge advantage of Mozza's pizza is that, unlike the classic Neapolitan pizza, it doesn't require an incredibly hot oven, and works well with longer cooking times. If your oven can reach about 250C, then you can cook this. Of course, you must have a refractive stone in order to have a crispy bottom like the one below (I purchased a lava stone from Hup Kiong cut to exactly the size of my oven, and it works wonders). Make sure that the stone is fully heated, and that will take at least 30 minutes of pre-heating at maximum temperature before you insert the pizza.
Now it's time to sit in front of your oven and watch the crust slowly blow and brown until ready!