This is actually the very first recipe that I ever made from America’s Test Kitchen (ATK). I had purchased one of their magazines during a grocery store outing, and while I was flipping through the pages, a photo of a gorgeous pizza crust caught my attention.
Even though the directions for this recipe are lengthy, it is actually very easy to make. There is just something magical about making bread. You throw some pretty basic ingredients together, and they just grow into something beautiful and delicious.
One of the main differences between this bread and the pizza crust recipe that I use, is the lack of kneading that takes place with the pizza bianca. This dough has very little kneading involved (6 – 10 minutes in the stand mixer) and is put onto your pizza pan after the dough has risen, without punching all the air out. The basic pizza crust is kneaded twice and then rolled into tight balls (thus eliminating the air pockets). There is definitely a lot more air bubbles in the pizza bianca than the basic pizza crust.
Now I have actually never used this recipe to make a pizza! However, I have passed this recipe to my brother-in-law, Dwayne, who uses this as his basic pizza crust recipe. I have had the pleasure of sampling this on numerous occasions. It makes a very bready pizza crust, and for those of us who love our carbohydrates, this makes a pretty amazing pizza.
I enjoy this crust as bread. Topped with the awesomeness of a top quality extra virgin olive oil, course sea salt and Italian seasoning, you don’t really need to put any toppings on this to fully enjoy it. It is great on its own, or dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar – my all time favourite way to eat bread!
The first couple of times that I made this, I incorrectly referred to it as a focaccia bread, instead of the correct name of pizza bianca. I have tried to determine what the difference is between these two breads, and I can’t see any real difference in the ingredients or directions. You know what that means? I will have to go back to the kitchen to make a focaccia to determine the difference and which one is my favourite 🙂
As you can see from the pictures, I normally cut this into bread sticks, but now that I am thinking about it, this bread comes out of the oven the perfect thickness to make a wonderful, grilled Panini sandwich. Homemade bread makes the best sandwiches (of course that sandwich would have to have bacon as an essential ingredient) 😉
I have made bread, buns and now, a couple of different pizzas. I used to be afraid of making bread, the thought of using yeast was intimidating to me, but now that I have started to get a handle on it, I love making homemade bread! It makes the apartment smell like a bakery and it is kind of impressive to serve homemade bread when you have people over for dinner.
Recipe Courtesy of:
America’s Test Kitchen – Pizza Bianca
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 2/3 cups room temperature water
- 1 1/4 tsp table salt
- 1 1/2 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 1 1/4 tsp sugar
- 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp course sea salt
- 2 tbsp Italian spices
- Place towel or shelf liner beneath stand mixer to prevent wobbling. Mix flour, water, and table salt in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low speed until no patches of dry flour remain, 3 to 4 minutes, occasionally scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Turn off mixer and let dough rest 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle yeast and sugar over dough. Knead on low speed until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes, occasionally scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Increase mixer speed to high and knead until dough is glossy, smooth, and pulls away from sides of bowl, 6 to 10 minutes. (Dough will only pull away from sides while mixer is on. When mixer is off, dough will fall back to sides.)
- Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil, rubbing excess oil from fingers onto blade of rubber spatula. Using oiled spatula, transfer dough to bowl and pour 1 tablespoon oil over top. Flip dough over once so it is well coated with oil; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until nearly tripled in volume and large bubbles have formed, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 450°F degrees.
- Coat rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons oil. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto baking sheet along with any oil in bowl. Using fingertips, press dough out toward edges of pan, taking care not to tear it. (Dough will not fit snugly into corners. If dough resists stretching, let it relax for 5 to 10 minutes before trying to stretch again.) Let dough rest in pan until slightly bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes. Using dinner fork, poke surface of dough 30 to 40 times and sprinkle with course sea salt.
- Bake until golden brown, 20-30 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Using metal spatula transfer the pizza to a cutting board. Brush the dough with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Slice and serve