Wood fired pizza has a unique flavour and texture due to the intense heat. Russell only needs to cook the pizzas in his wood fired oven for 2 minutes!
Regardless of the oven you are going to cook in Russell has a few tips for this recipe. He recommends keeping the ingredients to a minimum as the secret to making a great Italian pizza. “Less is more!” He also suggests leaving patches with no ingredients on the pizza dough as this allows the pizza to cook from the bottom up and the top down.
For the pizza dough
- 750 g unbleached bread flour
- 250 g stone-ground wholemeal flour (Russell uses biodynamic 80% light which has the coarser bran sifted out)
- ¼ tsp dried yeast
- 650 ml rain or filtered water
- 2 tsp salt
For the pizza topping
- 2 zucchini
- 4 capsicums
- olive oil
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 2 handfuls olives, lightly crushed and pits removed
- ½ cup parsley, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper
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.
Proving time: 1½ hours
For the dough
To make the dough, combine the flour and yeast on a clean work surface and form a well in the middle.
Bring 125 ml of the water to the boil in a small saucepan, add the salt and stir to dissolve, add remaining water. If the ingredients are cold the water needs to be hotter. (Work towards body temperature dough). Pour water into the well using one hand to gather in the flour to make a paste first and then a dough. Keep one hand free for adding more water or flour.
When the dough is cohesive but wet and sticky, begin to knead with both hands. Keep a plastic pastry scraper handy to scrape the dough from the table and your hands. Continue folding and turning until a smooth, cohesive, easy-to-work dough has formed.
Place the dough in a steep-sided container. If it is cold, put it somewhere warm. If it is very cold, put it in a sink of warm water.
Cover with oiled plastic and a blanket. (Russell uses a foil space blanket from the camping shop). This is a general bread dough, so for pizza, the dough can be used straight away but results will be better the longer it proves.
After about an hour proving, roll out into 4 balls and set aside to prove for a further 30 minutes or so. Then stretch each ball into a round, about 2.5 cm in thickness.
To make the pizza topping. Use a wood fired oven or preheat oven to 230ºC. Slice zucchini into thin strips, lengthways. Cut capsicums in half and remove seeds. Place capsicum, skin side up and sliced zucchini in roasting pan and sprinkle liberally with oil. Roast but keep an eye on it and remove zucchini when it is cooked. Once capsicum blisters, take it out of the oven, peel off the charred skin and slice.
Meanwhile, heat a generous amount of oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently until softened and lightly browned, set aside.
If not using a wood fired oven, heat your oven to as high as it will go. Roll 1 ball pizza dough on a lightly floured surface, transfer to a pizza paddle (if using a woodfired oven) or a baking tray, spread some onions on top then some capsicum, zucchini and olives. Cook until light golden and sprinkle with some parsley, salt and pepper and serve. Repeat with remaining dough and toppings.