Join me Friday September 25 at 3pm EST for a pinsa class hosted by Breville. I’ll be chatting with Scott Wiener, host of Breville’s video series “Meet the Makers” and my friend and #UntitledPizzaCookbook co-author Dan Richer will be making a special appearance. Get your tickets now to watch live; you will also get a link to watch the broadcast after the fact at your leisure. If you want to mix along, I have included the recipe (modified from my pinsa cover article with John Regefalk for Fine Cooking Magazine) below, but bear in mind the dough ferments overnight so you won’t be eating pinsa til Saturday. I’ll be donating my fee to Unete Oregon’s Immigrant Fire Relief Fund.
Legend states pinsa romana was invented in the Italian capital 2,000 years ago and that the tradition is alive and well. It’s a fun story, but lacks any historical backing (all the best stories do!). In reality, this oblong flatbread was first made by Corrado Di Marco near the Vatican in 2001. Rather than being part of a pizza continuum dating back 2,000 years, pinse are the result of Italy’s contemporary pizza culture. While thick-rimmed Neapolitan pies dominated the imaginations of Italians and travelers for the whole of the 20th century, new flatbread formats have been popping up across the Italian peninsula for the past couple of decades. Many of them, pinse included, draw on proprietary flour blends and a long leavening period intended to create a highly digestible final product. Indeed, Di Marco’s creation uses a blend of wheat flour, rice flour and soy flour, which he says impart flavor and create a light dough that’s easy to digest. He even sells the flour mix and oversees an association that certifies pinsa makers to ensure the quality of pinse romane remains consistent across the globe. Diners no longer need to travel to Rome to experience the pinsa, with so-called “pinserie” located all over Italy and even in San Francisco and Tokyo.
- 500 grams bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 50 grams white rice flour
- 30 grams soy flour (if you can’t find soy flour, that’s ok! Just use 80 grams total of rice flour instead)
- 4 grams active dry yeast or 3 grams instant yeast
- 400 grams cold filtered water
- 14 grams fine sea salt
- 10 grams extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, whisk together the bread, rice, and soy flours and the yeast. Add 350 grams of the water, and knead on low speed until the dough comes together and there is no more dry flour in the bowl, about 3 minutes. Add the salt and olive oil, and knead on medium speed. While kneading, add the remaining water a little at a time. Once all the water has been absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes, increase the speed to medium high. Knead until the dough is smooth, elastic, and shiny, about 10 minutes more. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled medium bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside for about an hour.
Hand Mixing Method:
- Whisk together the bread, rice, and soy flours and the yeast in a large bowl. Add the water and mix with your hands or a spoon until the dough comes together and there is no more dry flour in the bowl. Set aside for 20 minutes to 1 hour to hydrate the flour. Add the salt and olive oil, and mix to incorporate. Once all the water has been absorbed. Knead until the dough is smooth, elastic, and shiny. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled medium bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside for 30 minutes. Uncover the bowl and stretch and fold the dough every 30 minutes until the gluten is fully developed and you can pull a window. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Follow for Mixer or Hand Mix Method:
- Transfer to the refrigerator overnight.
- Uncover the bowl and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, allowing it to gently release from the bowl. Using a dough scraper or a knife, cut it into 6 equal pieces, weighing around 165 grams each.
- Working with one piece at a time, take the four corners and fold them into the center, pressing gently to attach. Repeat with the remaining corners. Do not flatten. Form into a tight ball by dragging the dough across your work surface. The dough will tighten up and take on a round shape. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.
- Place the dough balls on a floured baking sheet, seam side down. Leave enough space between the pieces so that they can double their size without touching. Sprinkle the dough lightly with bread flour and cover the baking sheet lightly with plastic wrap. Set aside to rise at room temperature until the dough has doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the pinsa topping of your choice. Set aside.
- Preheat the Breville oven to 575°F top heat/650°F bottom heat; this can be done in hack mode. Press down the left button while you turn on the oven. The red “Manual” light will illuminate. You can now customize the temperature settings. Set the top control dial to the center.
- Place one dough ball on a well-floured surface, then sprinkle more flour on top. Starting from the bottom and working toward the edges and upward, work the dough into an oval by pressing your fingers flat into the dough, gently stretching and pulling, until it measures approximately 6 inches by 10 inches. If the dough springs back, let it rest for a few minutes before trying again.
- Gently transfer the dough to a lightly floured peel. Add the toppings of your choice. I recommend adding melting cheeses at roughly the 2.5 minute mark.
- Bake in the Breville oven until the raised crust is evenly caramelized. Allow the oven to return to its preheated temperature before baking the next pinsa.
Variation: Home Oven Baked Pinsa
- To bake in the oven with a pizza stone, position a rack in the center of the oven, and put a pizza stone on the rack. At least 1 hour before baking, heat the oven to 550°F. Transfer the shaped dough to a floured pizza peel. Brush all over with olive oil. Carefully transfer the dough onto the heated stone. After 2 minutes, check that the dough is baking evenly. If not, spin it 180 degrees. Continue baking until golden-brown with a few dark spots, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the dough from the oven and add toppings, then return to the oven and continue baking until the toppings are heated through and any cheese has melted, 2 to 3 minutes more.
Variation: Grilled Pinsa
- Preheat your grill to 650°F. Prepare a ramekin with 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Follow the instructions above for shaping the pinsa dough to 6 inches by 10 inches. Brush one side of the dough with olive oil. Gently lift the dough with both hands, fingers spread out flat underneath to prevent tearing. Shake off any excess flour. Position the dough, oiled side down, on the grill grate. Close the lid and bake for 30 seconds. Brush the unoiled side of the dough with olive oil. Use tongs to carefully release the dough from the grate and flip it over. Close the lid and bake for another 30 seconds. Repeat the flipping every 20 to 30 seconds until both sides are golden-brown with some darker spots, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate with the hottest side (the one that was just on the grate) facing upward. Add the toppings of your choice and serve.