Pizza Bianca Recipe

There is great satisfaction in offering guests bread that you have made yourself. Making bread at home may seem intimidating to the uninitiated, but here is a recipe that will dispel any fear. This is a forgiving dough that takes little time to rise. The recipe calls for a minimalist approach, dressing the bread only in olive oil, salt and sugar. It’s a great base for your pizza fantasies.

Note: This recipe offers a host of variations, all resulting in a delicious end product: the dough can be kneaded by hand or with a stand mixer, and the pizza can be cooked on a pizza stone or on the grill. Instructions for the various cooking methods are below.

Ingredients

¼ cup Rioja (light red or white)

½ ounces yeast

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon sea salt, plus 1 teaspoon for garnish

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish

3 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon sugar

Directions

1. In a large bowl, place wine, ¾ cup warm water, yeast and honey; stir until dissolved. Let sit until mixture is frothy (this means the yeast is alive), about 10 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil; mix well to combine.

By hand

1. To yeast mixture, add 1 cup of the flour; mix with wooden spoon, the consistency will be loose. While stirring, add remaining flour ¼ cup at a time. Bring dough together by hand. On a clean, flour counter top or wooden board, turn out dough. Knead until dough is smooth and firm, about 8-10 minutes.

With stand mixer

1. Fit stand mixer with dough hook. In bowl of mixer on low speed, add yeast mixture and 1 cup flour. Continue adding flour ¼ cup at a time until 3 three cups have been added. Raise speed to medium-high; mix until dough is smooth and firm, about 6 minutes.

2. Coat a large bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, add dough; cover bowl with plastic wrap. Place bowl in warmest part of the kitchen; allow dough to rise until double in size, about 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 pieces.

In oven

1. Put pizza stone in oven; heat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle counter top or cutting board with ¼ cup flour; roll out ½ half of dough into a 14-inch circle; keep remaining dough covered and set aside. Transfer rolled out dough to pizza stone; brush with olive oil; cook 10-12 minutes. Garnish with salt and sugar; serve immediately.

On grill

1. Start fire about ½ hour before cooking pizza. To determine if the fire is the right temperature, hold your hand AT LEAST 5 inches above the grill; if 3 or 4 seconds is the longest you can hold it there, the grill is hot enough.

2. Oil a baking sheet; with hands, spread and flatten dough until desired size and shape; thickness of dough should be uniform.

3. Place dough on grill; sprinkle with salt. Cook until puffy, about 1 minute; turn over; cook another 3 minutes, rotating dough constantly to keep from burning. Remove from grill; garnish with salt and sugar; serve immediately.

Yield: 2 14-inch pizzas