Tuesday, 23 October 2012

No Knead Pizza: Strawberry Balsamic Chicken with Cilantro/Spinach Feta & Pine Nuts

I’ve always thought that proper kneading is what makes a good loaf of bread. But this “no-knead” pizza dough recipe by Jim Lahey – the owner of New York’s Sullivan Street Bakery and pizza spot Co, defies conventional bread-making rules, yet produces a pizza base that is crispy, chewy and bubbly at the same time.
This brilliant no-knead method is a perfect for lazy bakers like me who’d rather not undertake any form of laborious kneading. The only catch is that one needs patience and to plan ahead – the dough has to ferment overnight for a full 18 hours in order to achieve the desired texture. Like what many others who have tried it, I’d say that this pizza is definitely worth the while.
I used the pizza dough to make two delicious pizzas: Strawberry Balsamic Chicken with Cilantro as well as a vegetarian version of Spinach Feta and Pine Nuts. The pizzas flew off the dining table and my kids ate up all the edges because they loved how crispy and chewy it was.
No Knead Pizza (Makes 4 10-inch pizzas)
Recipe adapted from here
  • 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1000 grams) plus more for shaping dough
  • 4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp honey (optional)
  • Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 3 cups water; stir until well incorporated. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. (Dough will be sticky, add more flour  if necessary).
  • Transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature (about 72°F) in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours (time will vary depending on the temperature in the room).
  • Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. (Dough will be sticky, use more flour to help form the dough into a ball) Divide into 4 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions.
  • Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap each dough ball separately in plastic wrap and chill. Unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap, for 2–3 hours before shaping.
  • During the last hour of dough’s resting, prepare oven: preheat oven to its hottest setting, 500°F–550°F, for 1 hour (I baked at 240°C).
  • Working with 1 dough ball at a time, dust dough generously with flour and place on a oiled and floured baking pan. Gently shape dough by stretching and pushing till it reaches the edge of the pan.
  • Top with desired toppings. Bake pizza until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat with remaining pizzas
Pizza Filling: Strawberry Balsamic Chicken with Cilantro (10-12 inch pizza)
Recipe adapted from Lena at Her Frozen Wings
After reading Lena’s blog post, I knew I had to try it sometime. The sauce base made of jam, balsamic vinegar and chilli sauce creates a sweet yet slightly tangy flavour for the pizza. I could not find Sriracha Chilli Sauce, so I substituted with a Korean spicy vinegared paste. The amount of paste/chilli used is very little and my kids did not find it spicy at all. Topped with fresh strawberries and crunch cilantro, this chicken and bacon pizza is really superb! Definitely much better than what I have eaten in pizza restaurants. This recipe is something I would make over and over again.
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam (I used half apricot, half strawberry jam)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha Chilli Sauce (I used Korean spicy vinegared paste)
  • 1 cup diced and pan-fried chicken breast or leftover roasted chicken
  • 1/2 cup applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1 inch pieces, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 cup thin sliced sweet onion
  • 12 oz shredded Italian blend cheese (I used shredded cheddar)
  • 1/4cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh strawberries, diced small
  • Place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan, bring to boil and reduce heat, simmer for 4-5 minutes or until reduced to half of the original amount and mixture is thick and syrupy. Add strawberry jam and chilli sauce and mix well, set aside to cool.
  • Roll out pizza dough on your pizza pan.
  • Combine chicken with 2 tbsps of the balsamic strawberry mixture and mix to coat all chicken with sauce. Pour rest of the sauce onto pizza dough and spread to cover. Leave a 1″ border around the edge and scatter chicken over the sauce.
  • Place about 3/4 of the cheese on top of the dough, spread to cover sauce evenly, scatter bacon and onion over cheese to distribute evenly. Scatter remaining cheese.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 240°C for approximately 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
  • Remove from oven, let it cool slightly and sprinkle with diced strawberries and fresh cilantro before serving.
Pizza Filling: Spinach, Feta and Pine Nuts (10 inch pizza)
Recipe adapted from Gimesomeoven
A simple vegetarian combination of fresh baby spinach, feta cheese, pine nuts and onions give this pizza a delicious mix of textures and flavours.
  • A handful of fresh spinach, washed and drained
  • 120 g of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 30 g pine nuts
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil (I used some sun-dried tomato pesto sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • Brush dough lightly with olive oil (I brushed with sun-dried tomato pesto) and sprinkle ingredients evenly over the pizza base.
  • Bake at 240°C for about 10-15 minutes till edges are browned. Cool down slightly before cutting into pieces for serving.

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