Light a fire in the back center of your Beehive oven 45 mins. before you plan to start cooking the pizzas. You will be pulling the fire forward for about 8 minutes so it heats the middle of the deck where your pizzas will cook. For further details see Cooking Your Wood-fired Pizza section below.
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) Active Dry Yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup ice-cold water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon of table salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 1/4 to 5 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (King Arthur preferred) -- plus extra for dusting)
In a small bowl, using a form, stir the yeast into the lukewarm water. Set aside until yeast dissolves (about 5 mins.).
In another small bowl, combine the cold water, sugar, salt, and olive oil. Sir to dissolve the sugar and salt.
To make the dough by hand, place 5 1/4 cups of flour in large bowl. Make a well in the center and stir in the yeast mixture along with the cold-water mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix dough incorporating as much of the flour as possible. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until soft and elastic (about 10-12 minutes). It will be a little sticky, but shouldn't stick to your hands. Add only a minimum amount of flour to the work surface to keep the dough from sticking.
Cut the dough in half to form two even portions, each weighing 22 ounces. With floured hands, pick up one portion of dough and pull the opposite edges together, wrapping them underneath, towards the center to form a tight, smooth ball, and pinch to seal. Repeat with second portion. Place each in a 1-gallon lock-top plastic bag, and squeeze out the air, allowing enough room for the dough to double in size.
Refrigerate for at least 10 hours or up to two days. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before using to allow dough to come to room temperature. Divide dough into balls depending on size of pizza to be made, and proceed to shape on floured board until ready to top.
For ideas and recipe, refer to Tony Gemignani's book, "PIZZA" available at Amazon.com.
(enough for 12 small pizzas)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp. tomato puree
2 cups of chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, and then cook onions and garlic on medium heat, stirring occasionally until soft and golden. Stir in tomato puree and cook, stirring for one minute. Add chopped tomatoes, sugar and thyme, and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes to 'cook out' the tomatoes. Add a little water if the sauce becomes too thick, and season to taste. Blend if you want a smooth sauce.
Pizza recipes courtesy of Blistering Barbecues.
Some recommended pizza toppings
Parma or Serrano ham, smoked chicken, sliced chorizo or pepperoni, wood-smoked salmon. Buffalo mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmesan shavings, mascarpone; red, yellow, green peppers, red onions, or garlic -- all thinly sliced. Sliced mushrooms, olives, capers, sweet corn, fresh tomatoes, baby spinach, baby artichoke hearts. Fresh basil, thyme leaves, oregano, cilantro, rocket pesto, and virgin olive oil.
To top the pizza
Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil onto pizza. If using tomato-based sauce (see recipe) use no more than 3 teaspoons spread over dough with back of a spoon, leaving the crust of about 1/4".
Remembering that 'less is more', scatter a few toppings (a few recommendations below too), and season with sea salt and ground pepper.
Cooking your Wood-fired Pizza
Carefully use a tool to pull the embers forward to the center of the oven base, getting it as hot as possible where you will be cooking your pizzas. When you're ready to cook pizza, push back the oven embers to the perimeter of the Beehive, preparing a cleared space on the hot oven base. Gently shuffle your pizza onto a pizza paddle that has been sprinkled with corn meal, enabling the pizza to slide off easily onto the base of the oven. Watch your pizza cook incredibly quickly, and as it colors up, use the pizza paddle to rotate the pizza to cook evenly until done. Retrieve once cooked, and slide onto a cutting board to cool and slice with a pizza wheel. You're now ready to cook your next pizza!