Famous in Rome, it is light, full of large bubbles and can be filled or topped with many ingredients. Roman-style pizza does not require a wood-fired oven, but traditionally is cooked in a ‘deck’ oven at almost half the temperature of wood-fired pizza. Use stoneground whole-wheat (not wholemeal) flour.
Roman-style pizza is a rectangular, focaccia-like pizza.
- 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz/6 ⅔ cups) unbleached, stoneground whole-wheat flour or strong bread flour
- 3.5 g (¹⁄8 oz) dried (powdered) yeast
- 650 ml (23 fl oz) water at room temperature
- ½ tsp caster (superfine) sugar
- 25 ml (1 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
- 20 g (¾ oz) sea salt
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time: 10 minutes + maturation time
Place the flour in a mixer with a dough hook attachment.
Dissolve the yeast in 100 ml (3½ fl oz) of the water and add to the flour along with 400 ml (14 fl oz) of the remaining water and the caster sugar.
Turn on the mixer to its lowest setting and mix for about 2 minutes until the water is totally absorbed. Add the oil and salt and mix in. Double the speed of the mixer and slowly add the remaining water, a little at a time, only adding more when the previous amount has been absorbed. The mixture will look quite wet, but don’t worry, continue mixing for 8–10 minutes and you’ll see that gradually the dough will begin to stretch and form long gluten strands.
Rest the dough for 10 minutes in the mixer bowl, covered with plastic wrap, before folding, leaving to mature in the refrigerator and forming into three sheets (teglie) of Roman-style pizza dough.
Shaping your Roman-style dough
- Once the dough has been briefly rested, it needs to be folded a few times to give it strength. Oil your hands with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, then lightly oil the work surface. Tip the dough out of the container and onto the work surface. Lift it gently in the centre and fold the ends under (or over) to meet in the middle to form pockets of air.
- Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat the fold. Return to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and rest for 15 minutes, then fold again. Rest for another 15 minutes, then do a final fold as before. Place the dough in an oiled, plastic container with an airtight lid and leave for 18–24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Once the dough has matured in the refrigerator, turn out from
the container on to the work surface. Divide the dough into
- Shape each piece of dough. Place your hands under the outer edges and slide under to form a ball. Repeat several times until
the dough has a ball-like appearance.
- Fold and gather with your fingers at the edge of each piece of dough, bringing the ball towards you. This will eventually make the ball even and smooth. The dough balls should be left to rise again in three oiled containers for 2 hours at room temperature.
- Oil an oven tray (teglia) or baking tray with extra virgin olive oil.
- Place flour on the work surface and turn one piece of the dough.
- Begin to press gently on the surface of the dough with your fingers, stretching it to roughly fit the size of the tray.
To cook the dough for any Roman-style pizza recipes that require the dough to be pre-coooked, preheat the oven to 250°C (500°F) without fan.
Take the sheet of Roman-style pizza dough and if the dough has risen excessively, press down gently with the tips of your fingers to make small indentations.
Bake the pizza in the oven for 11-14 minutes. If the teglia (sheet) is browning more on one side, your oven is not even and the tray may need to be turned.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and let cool a little before dressing with your toppings or allow to cool completely if using later. The teglia can be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Recipe from New Pizza by Stefano Manfredi, Murdoch Books, hb, $39.99. Photography © Bree Hutchins.