Pizza Margherita

We eat pizza at least once a month on the homestead. Planning meals ahead of time isn’t our forte, so we always end up making our own crust,  but we have never tried our hand at making our own cheese. We are thinking about getting goats, so we thought why not try making goat mozzarella, and when we decided on Pizza Margherita for a cooking competition with our cousin, we got the opportunity to give it a try.

While we have an idea now about how to make mozzarella, our goat version completely failed so we will have to try that again. When we have it perfected we will try and make a video for you as pictures really do not do it justice.

Ingredients

Crust

7 cups flour
4.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp bread yeast
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup of cornmeal

Sauce and Toppings

1 can of Stewed Tomatoes
4-8 leaves of fresh basil per pizza
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Mozzarella Cheese

1 gallon of milk (we tried with less and it just isn’t worth it)
1.5 tsps of citric acid
1/4 tablet of rennet (I would recommend using liquid rennet instead of tablets but that was all I could find)
1/4 cup of kosher salt

Instructions

  1. For the crust we followed the example recipe with some slight changes. If you don’t have time to start your dough a day in advance try our tested recipe here that you can make the night of.
    • Stir together yeast and 34 cup plus 2 tbsp of  85ºF water. Let sit for 10 minutes.
    • Mix flour and sugar together on a low speed using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or just use a spoon and your hands if you do not have a stand mixer). Add yeast mixture, olive oil, 112 cups ice-cold water, and knead for about 7 minutes until a smooth dough forms around hook.
    • Add salt and continue kneading for 2 more minutes; we found we needed to add 3 tbsp of extra water to be able to incorporate all the flour into the dough.
    • Divide into 4 portions, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. We actually made this in the morning before work and let sit all day.
    • When it is time to bake the pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
    • The first two balls we turned into two pizzas: one Margherita and one with “the works” and froze the rest of the balls. Those crusts were a bit thicker than we’d like and as we mentioned above, we burnt the Margherita pizza. The third ball was defrosted a couple days later and turned into 6 empanada “pops”. The last ball was defrosted a week later and turned into 2 pizzas: one Margherita and one with “the works”, both with super thin crusts.
  2. The mozzarella cheese was quite the learning adventure. It is best to work with a minimum of a gallon of milk at a time. We also recommend watching a few Youtube videos as pictures really do not do it justice. Our mozzarella cheese with goats milk was an utter fail, here are the results from using cow milk. 
    • Bring the milk up to 55ºF  on medium-high heat in a non-reactive pot, stirring constantly, and then sprinkle in the citric acid. Be very accurate with your measurement of the citric acid.
    • Continue heating the milk to 90ºF stirring constantly and then turn off the heat and slowly add the rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup of water. Mix the rennet in gently with an up and down motion with your spoon instead of stirring.
    • Put the lid on the pot, leave the pot on the stove, and let sit for 10 minutes. It is very important that you do not touch it for the full 10 minutes.
    • After 10 minutes you should have something that looks a bit like custard or yogurt. Using a knife that reaches the bottom cut it in a grid pattern all the way to the bottom.
    • Turn the stove back up to medium-high and heat until it reaches 105ºF stirring gently.
    • Once it has reached temperature, use a slotted spoon to remove the curds from the pot into a colander that is sitting over a deep bowl to collect the whey (the clear liquid).
    • While the curds are straining as much of the liquid out as possible, add 1/4 cup of salt to the whey left in the pot and bring to 175ºF.
    • Dip the curds into the hot whey several times until heated through to 135ºF, and the cheese is very stretchy.
    • Form into 4 small balls and put into ice-cold water to set.
  3. Preheat the oven to 500ºF with a pizza stone (if you have one)
  4. Roll 1/8 of the pizza dough into a very thin crust, ~13″ in diameter, on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle some cornmeal on a tray and put the crust on the tray before loading with toppings (so you can transfer it to the pizza stone).
  5. Slice one of the mozzarella balls into 1/4 inch thick pieces, spread 1/4 cup of the stewed tomatoes (mashed a bit with a potato masher) on the crust, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, and distribute the mozzarella slices evenly around the pizza. Dribble or brush olive oil on the edge of the crust.
  6. Transfer to the pizza stone and bake for 10 minutes; checking often to make sure it isn’t burning.
  7. Remove the pizza from the oven and evenly distribute the fresh basil (we happened to have a few pots of basil growing indoors, check our set up here) and let them wilt a bit.
  8. Slice and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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