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Spinach Pizza

Delicious No-knead Thin Crust Gourmet Spinach Breakfast Pizza


Ingredients

Pizza Dough
• 3 1/2 cups (18.5-oz wt) bread flour, or
   50/50 bread flour and Caputo 00 flour
• 1 teaspoon fine salt
   (use fine sea salt, kosher, or table salt)
• 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
• 1 1/2 cups water (room temp)
• All purpose flour for dusting
• 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal for peel

Ingredients for a 12″ Pizza
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 4 oz shredded or sliced mozzarella
• 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 3 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
• 1 cup baby spinach leaves
• 1 or 2 eggs (fresh or poached)
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• Fresh ground black pepper
• 1 tbl Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

The key to success for any good recipe is to always use the freshest ingredients.

Preparation

1. Make the No-knead Pizza Dough
In a medium bowl, mix the salt in the flour with a fork, then stir in the yeast. Add the water and stir until you have a moist (not soupy), sticky dough. Don’t over mix, but make sure that all of the dry flour has been thoroughly incorporated into the dough and is sticky to the touch. With your spoon, clean the sides of the bowl as much as possible, then form a rough dough ball in the middle of the bowl. Double seal the bowl with plastic wrap, cover with a towel and set aside at room temperature for about 12 hours until the dough rises and doubles in size.1 If you want to use this pizza dough at a later date, you can cut the dough into thirds, wrap the dough packs, and refrigerate for up to 7 days.2 The pizza dough will continue to proof while in the refrigerator and develop even more flavor and aroma.
(click images below to enlarge)


After the dough rises, dust your work surface with flour and pour the dough out in one piece with a plastic scraper. Shape into a loaf and cut into 3 equal pieces. 10 ounce dough balls are the perfect amount to make 12″ pizzas. Nudge and tuck in the bottom corners of the dough balls toward the center to shape each into a round ball, place on the lightly floured surface with the tucked seam side down, then cover to proof (rise) at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The dough balls will be ready to use when they double in size.
• Also see How to Make Pizza Dough for a step-by-step tutorial

2. Preheat the Pizza Stone and Gather Ingredients
With the dough balls almost proofed, place a pizza stone in your oven3 or grill4 and preheat for at least 30 minutes on high – ideally to a temperature of 500 to 550 degrees – then gather your pizza ingredients.

To prepare the spinach breakfast pizza, you will need the following ingredients:

Spinach Breakfast Pizza Ingredients

Ingredients for a 12″ Gourmet Pizza
• 2 tablespoons EV olive oil
• 4 oz shredded or sliced mozzarella
• 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning5
• 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 3 strips bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
• 1 cup baby spinach leaves
• 1 or 2 eggs (fresh or poached)
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• Fresh ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon Parmigiano Reggiano (or Pecorino), grated

3. Shape the Pizza
With the dough balls proofed, the pizza stone and oven or grill preheating, and all of your pizza ingredients in place, you’re now ready to shape and assemble your pizza. Begin by forming the pizza with your lightly floured fingertips (or knuckles if you have long fingernails) by gently working from the middle of the dough to the outside within an inch of the rim. The more of a lip you leave on the rim, the larger the airy edge will be after baking.

Never use a rolling pin! There will be some air bubbles forming on the edge, but take care to leave all but the largest ones in place, as they provide the airy crusty rim (cornicione) most people love in an artisan pizza.

Over the time that the pizza stone is preheating, continue working the dough out in a circle every several minutes until you achieve a 12″ pizza dough shell, letting it rest in between for a few minutes covered with a moist towel. It may be necessary to carefully pick it up by the edge with the fingers of both hands and let the weight of itself expand for a few seconds, by holding the dough like a steering wheel and gently rotating it as it naturally stretches to form a larger circle. If any holes develop during shaping, simply fold over some of the dough next to the hole and press down to repair it.

The secret to a large and airy edge is to work the dough from the middle outward without pressing down (flattening) the rim.

With the dough round finished, sprinkle some corn meal on the peel, then carefully move the pizza dough to the peel before populating it with your ingredients. With the pizza shell on the peel, adjust the edges to maintain its round shape. Pick up the peel by its handle, keep it flat and gently shake it back and forth to ensure that the dough moves freely over the corn meal.

4. Parbake then Assemble the Pizza
You can make a pizza at home using your kitchen oven or outdoor grill. Either way the pizzas will turn out delicious. With the 12″ round pizza dough on the peel, poke the middle of the dough a few times with a fork to prevent excessive air bubbles in the middle.


With the pizza stone preheated, place the pizza dough shell on the stone with the peel, let it bake for about 4 minutes or until portions of the dough begin to turn brown. Immediately remove the partially cooked pizza shell and let it set on the peel for a few minutes before assembling the other ingredients.

Spinach Breakfast Pizza Assembly
After parbaking pizza dough shell – see above

Parbake First: With the 12″ round pizza dough on the peel, poke the middle of the dough a few times with a fork to prevent excessive air bubbles in the middle. With the pizza stone preheated, place the pizza dough shell on the stone with the peel, let it bake for about 4 minutes or until portions of the dough begin to turn brown, then remove and set aside for assembly.

1. Drizzle olive oil around the inside of the partially baked (parbaked) pizza shell, then add shredded mozzarella, sprinkle Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes, then add roughly chopped (pre-cooked) bacon over the cheese.

2. Arrange a circular nest of spinach leaves with a 1″ to 2″ opening in the center over the cheese and bacon, then crack an egg or two over the center of the nest. Season the egg(s) with salt and ground pepper.

3. Slide the breakfast pizza back onto the 550° pizza stone for 3 minutes, then turn the pizza and let it bake another 3 minutes or until the egg whites begin to set and the crust is golden brown, taking care not to overcook the yolk.

4. Remove pizza from the oven, sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino, let set for 3 more minutes, then slice into 8 pieces and serve immediately.

Buon Appetito!

Time Required to Make a Gourmet Pizza
Making a pizza consists of 4 primary steps: (1) Making the dough for 3 pizzas (5 minutes, or about 2 minutes per pizza); (2) After the dough rises, cut the dough into three pieces, cover and set aside (3 minutes, or 1 minute per pizza); (3) Gather the ingredients and assembly time for 3 pizzas (15 minutes, or 5 minutes per pizza); (4) Baking time for each pizza (about 10 minutes).
Total time to prepare, assemble, and bake a pizza: About 20 minutes.8

Footnotes
1. Fermentation time depends on a number of factors, especially the room temperature. A cooler environment takes longer (18 to 24 hours), while warmer temperatures may take as little as 8 to 10 hours. Salt is also a factor. The more salt added to the dough, the slower the yeast develops and longer the fermentation time. To determine when the first fermentation is finished and the gluten has developed, the dough should have more than doubled in size with lots of bubbles and will cling in long strands on the side of the bowl when you tilt it. To speed up the fermentation time, use warm or hot water (never boiling), a touch more yeast, a little less salt, then set the bowl aside to proof in a warmer room where the temperature is 78 to 80 degrees rather than the typical 72 to 74 degrees. If you accelerate the fermentation, keep in mind that more aroma and flavor is developed with longer rise times.
2. To refrigerate: After the initial 12-to-18 hour fermentation period, pour out the 30 ounces of dough, cut into three equal 10-oz pieces, nudge and tuck in the bottom corners of the dough toward the center to shape it into a round ball, then place on the lightly floured surface with the tucked seam side down, then immediately double wrap each piece with plastic wrap, slide each wrapped dough ball into a Ziploc sandwich bag, and place in the refrigerator for up to 7 days until needed. When you’re ready to make a pizza, pull out a pizza dough pack and let it sit on the counter wrapped for 1 hour to get close to room temperature before unwrapping, covering with a damp cloth, and letting it rise again for another 45 minutes before forming the dough into a pizza and adding your ingredients.
See How to Make Pizza Dough for more information on refrigerating pizza dough packs.
3. Your oven should be preheated to 550 degrees for about 30 minutes with the oven rack and pizza stone in the top 1/3 position (usually the 2nd from the top position), about 7 inches from the top heating element.
4. Depending on how close the pizza stone is to the flames on your grill, you can use an iron griddle or skillet under the pizza stone to keep the stone an inch or two off the grill grates. This provides a barrier to isolate the flames from the pizza stone that otherwise would get too hot and burn the bottom of the pizza. It is not required for oven use. If you have a grate-level infrared burner on the side, turn it on 10 minutes before baking your pizza for increased heat. Note: only use infrared burners that are located on the side, not directly under or over the pizza stone, as it can crack it.
5. Italian seasoning is a dry herb mix available at the grocery store (McCormick, Spice Islands) that consist of dried Oregano, Garlic, Marjoram, Onion, Rosemary, Basil, Savory, and Sage. Used in moderation, Italian herb seasoning can add another layer of traditional Italian flavors to your pizza, without overwhelming it like Oregano alone can.
6. If the wet ingredients have been sitting on the pizza dough for more than a couple minutes, it will stick to the peel and never transfer to the stone. If that happens, try to carefully lift the edges and add a little more corn meal to loosen it. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to start over. Just make sure that the peel is clean and completely dry before reassembling your pizza.
7. Actual baking times vary depending on the amount of ingredients on your pizza and the temperature of your oven or grill. Test a few pizzas and monitor the results, then adjust the times and temperatures accordingly.
8. Does not include unattended fermentation and proofing time for developing the pizza dough, optional time to make pizza dough packs to refrigerate for later use, nor the preheating time for the oven or grill prior to baking the pizza.

Note: While this recipe is very forgiving, it is important to follow it as closely as possible for the best results.