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Roman-style Pizza Bianca

Naples may be the home of the first ever, original pizza, but there’s another Italian city that’s a destination for truly great pizza - Rome! In Rome, you’ll find a local pizza style that’s completely unique. Classic Roman pizza features a thin crust, with a dough that’s almost like a flat focaccia. It’s sold by the slice in bakeries across the city as pizza bianca (white pizza) and pizza rossa (red pizza), topped with either olive oil and salt or a simple tomato sauce. This recipe is for a classic pizza bianca.

Ingredients
Makes 1 pizza

Equipment
Small bowl
Stand mixer
Tea towel
Plastic container with lid
23 x 33cm (9 x 13″) sheet pan
Bread knife

For the dough:
150g (5.2oz) warm water
9g (2 tsp) salt
1.3g (⅓ tsp) active dry yeast
225g (8oz) bread flour
2 tbsp olive oil, for brushing sheet pan

For the topping:
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Method

Start preparing this well ahead of time – you’ll need to begin about a day before you’d like to cook the pizza.

In the bowl, dissolve the salt in the water. Next, add the yeast and stir to activate.

Add the water mix to the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, followed by the flour. This prevents the flour from collecting at the bottom. Using the bread hook, knead on a low speed, making sure to scrape down any excess flour. Once fully combined, knead on a low speed for a further 10 minutes.

Once kneaded, scrape the dough into a small bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. The towel creates a moisture seal that allows the dough to breathe while preventing moisture escaping. Leave to prove in a warm room for 1.5 hours.

Now it's time to perform a 'stretch and fold' with the dough to help it build up some structure. Moisten your hands with water to help pick up the dough from the bowl, as it will be quite sticky – you can also keep a bowl of water handy while you do this to keep wetting your hands as necessary. Gently pick up the dough from the bowl and allow gravity to pull the dough downwards, so that it hangs like a curtain with your fingers in the middle; lay the dough flat in the bowl with the inside 'seam' lying lengthways. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat, picking up the dough to gently stretch and laying flat again. Repeat this 5-10 times, or until the dough becomes smooth. This process traps the carbon dioxide that’s developing in the dough, which helps it form bubbles and rise while cooking.

Brush the sheet pan with the olive oil and lay the dough inside the pan. Cover with a wet towel and place in the fridge overnight, for at least 12 hours.

At least two hours before you’re ready to start preparing the pizza, remove the dough from the fridge.

To stretch the pizza dough into the sheet pan, place your fingers under the dough and pull towards the edge of the pan. The dough will naturally contract towards itself, so leave for 30 minutes to relax, covered with the damp towel again. Repeat the stretching process and leave to relax for a further 30 minutes, again covered with the wet towel. Repeat as necessary until the dough is fully relaxed and reaches right into the corners of the pan.

Fire up your Ooni pizza oven, and preheat the oven until the stone reaches 400˚C (752˚F). You can check the temperature on the baking stone quickly and easily using the Ooni Infrared Thermometer.

Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the top of the dough. Press your fingers firmly into the dough to create ‘dimples’, then top with a little more oil and salt to taste.

Bring the heat of the oven down by reducing the fire to a low flame – if using gas, turn to the lowest setting.

Place the sheet pan at the very front of the oven. Cook the pizza for 6 minutes or until the top of the pizza is golden. Be sure to rotate the tray halfway through the bake (at about the 3 minute mark) in order to cook the pizza evenly.

Once cooked, remove the pizza from the oven and finish with extra salt if desired. Slice and serve right away!

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