This looks fancy-ish for a pizza but was actually a very simple dough to make and an easy technique to implement, with stellar results. I will be making this again, not necessarily for dinner but perhaps as one of the options for a buffet brunch or as a contribution to a potluck or tailgate party. You could make it as is, or add prosciutto or your favorite pizza toppings, or you could even make a cinnamon-sugar version for breakfast as well.
- 4 cups flour
- 1 tsp active-dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tsps salt
- 1 1/3 cups warm water
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1/4 cup + 2 tsps olive oil
- 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
- 1/4 cup chopped basil or small handful baby basil leaves
Put the garlic cloves in a small bowl. Add the quarter cup of olive oil, cover and place in the fridge until needed.
Mix the first 4 ingredients together to form a cohesive dough with no dry flour spots.
Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the bowl and roll the ball of dough around in it so that its surface is covered with a thin sheen of oil.
Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside somewhere draft-free for 5 hours.
After 5 hours, the dough will have risen nicely and be full of bubbles. Without knocking it back too much, portion the dough into 4 equal pieces. Leave three in the bowl.
Remove the garlic oil from the fridge.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and place some on your counter as well. Roll the piece of dough into a 10 inch circle, using as little flour as possible to keep it from sticking. Once you have rolled out your circle of dough, transfer it to the lined baking sheet, brush it with some of the garlic oil and sprinkle with a third of the cheese. Repeat until you have four layers of dough and three layers of garlic oil and cheese; the last layer should be plain. Press down the edges.
Take the small bowl that you will be using for your sauce and place it in the center of your dough. Using a sharp knife and making sure that you do not cut through the parchment paper, start from the bottom of the dish that you have placed in the center of the dough to the edge and cut the dough into 16 equal sized strips. Because you are cutting from the edge of the dish, the strips will all be joined around a small central circle of dough.
Working with two adjacent strips at a time, twist them away from each other two or three times. Bring them back side by side and pinch the ends together. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough so that you end up with eight pairs of strips.
Remove the dish from the center. Cover the dough with the damp tea towel and let rest for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Once the dough has rested, place it in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until it sounds hollow on the bottom but the sides, when gently pinched, have a bit of give. Remove from the oven and immediately brush with the remaining garlic oil and the basil.
Serve with your favorite tomato sauce nestled in the center in the small bowl you used to shape the dough, or with my chunky veggie-full tomato sauce. That recipe is posted at: https://www.onthemenublog.com/post/perch-kofta-or-skip-the-perch-and-have-the-vegetarian-sauce-on-its-own
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