Bake

Salad Pizza With Mushrooms & Mozzarella

May 18, 2020
Photo by Sarah Owens
Author Notes

Pizza is pure comfort food in any season but as spring approaches, I prefer to make this salad version to keep it fresh. Use any hearty but tender spring green such as arugula, baby kale, mizuna, miner’s lettuce, or a combination. If you have access, mixing the greens with herbs such as chervil and parsley gives it an extra zing! Tossing with a little oil and vinegar and then topping the pizza still hot out of the oven allows the greens to slightly wilt but remain crisp.

Pizza dough benefits from a long and cold sourdough fermentation to improve upon its flavor and digestibility. This recipe is a variation of the Table Loaf that uses both bread and whole wheat flours although using all-purpose as a partial substitution would work as well. Additionally, you have the option of adding olive oil to tenderize the gluten in the bread flour. This reduces chewiness in the pizza crust that sometimes results from using higher protein flours in combination with sourdough. The lower percentage of leaven for this dough gives the flexibility to mix, shape, and then hold it in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking. Adjust final proofing out of the fridge depending on total fermentation under cold temperatures; the longer the dough has been held in the fridge, the shorter the final proof. —Sarah Owens

  • Makes two (10 to 12-inch) pizzas
Ingredients
  • Leaven:
  • 10 grams 100% hydration active starter, refreshed (fed)
  • 10 grams whole grain flour (rye or whole wheat works well)
  • 10 grams water, tepid (70°F to 75°F)
  • Dough
  • 30 grams leaven
  • 270 grams water, tepid (75°F)
  • 20 to 30 grams extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 grams fine sea salt
  • 310 grams bread flour
  • 80 grams whole-wheat bread flour
  • Toppings:
  • 120 grams beech mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 generous pinch of salt
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella
  • 250 grams pizza sauce
  • Salad:
  • 6 handfuls tender spring greens
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar of choice
  • Edible flowers of choice
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Prepare the leaven: 8 to 12 hours before you mix your dough, prepare the leaven. Place the refreshed starter and water in a large bowl and stir to break up the starter. Add the flour and mix with a spoon until no dry lumps remain. Cover and allow to ferment at room temperature until you are ready to mix your dough.
  2. Mix the dough: When bubbles break the surface of the leaven, it smells ripe, and it has swelled considerably in size, add the water, 10 g of olive oil (if using), and salt and stir to combine. Measure the flours into the bowl and use your hands to mix and squeeze the dough in a circular motion. Because this is a lower hydration dough, it will feel more difficult to mix than a typical sourdough bread. The dough should feel slightly firm but somewhat sticky. When no dry lumps remain, cover and rest the dough for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing the flour to hydrate and the gluten to relax.
  3. Slap-and-fold: To develop strength in the dough, you may choose this step to help work the gluten in the dough. When the dough has relaxed, remove it from the bowl and with a swift motion, slap the dough onto a clean work surface. Pull and slightly drag the dough to stretch it out before folding it over. Pick the dough up, turn it in the hand and repeat this motion. Continue until you feel the dough tighten and resist your movements, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Bulk fermentation: Clean the bowl, rub the interior with the remaining oil, and replace the dough back into the bowl, rolling to coat. Cover once more and set the bowl aside in a warm location (ideally 75°F) to bulk ferment for 2 ½ to 3 hours (perhaps ½ hour shorter in the summer). During this time, stretch-and-fold the dough in the bowl to help develop the gluten network essential for trapping fermentation gases. To do this, wet your hands first to prevent the dough from sticking and gently slide your fingers under the dough. Release the dough from the sides of the bowl and gently fold it to the center. Rotate the bowl and repeat 3 to 4 more times until you have worked your way around the dough. Repeat this process every 30 to 45 minutes. You should notice it progress from a ‘shaggy mass’ at the beginning of the mix to exhibiting a more cohesive and smooth character by the end of bulk fermentation.
  5. Shape the dough: When the dough feels slightly puffy and you see a few fermentation bubbles breaking the surface, it is time to shape the dough. Lightly oil two small bowls about 8-inches in diameter and set aside. Using a bowl scraper, swiftly remove the dough from the bowl and place on a clean surface. Use a bench scraper to divide the dough in half and lightly oil your hands. Gently tuck the dough to the center, creating a round ball. Using a circular motion, pull the ball against the work surface, gaining tension across the surface of the dough as you go. When you have a tight ball, use your bench scraper to release the dough from the work surface and place it in the oiled bowl seam side down. Cover with a cloth and plastic and transfer to the fridge for at least 12 hours or up to 3 days.
  6. Final proof the dough: Remove your dough from the refrigerator. Remove the cover and gently poke the surface of the dough to feel for the presence of trapped gases. Cover and allow the dough to proof at room temperature for about 1 hour before testing the dough again with your finger. When it is ready to bake, it should feel noticeably puffy and inflated like a water balloon. The impression should linger in the dough rather than immediately bounce back. Depending on the temperature of your refrigerator and how long the dough has retarded, this may take more or less time to final proof before baking.
  7. Preheat the oven: Preheat a pizza stone to 550°F (or as high as your oven will go) on the middle rack for 30 to 45 minutes.
  8. Prepare the toppings: Tear the mushrooms into single pieces or small clusters and place into a small bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Toss to coat and set aside. Slice the mozzarella into ¼-½-inch pieces.
  9. Shape the pizza: Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and lightly dust with flour, semolina, or a little cornmeal. Gently turn the dough out onto the parchment paper and lightly dust with flour. Using floured fingertips, press from the center outward, being careful to ease off as you near the perimeter. Continue to shape the dough using your fingertips and the palm of your hand to flatten the dough outward until you have a crust that is 10 to 12-inches in diameter.
  10. Top the pizza: Evenly spread half of the sauce onto the pizza. Sprinkle half of the mushrooms over the sauce and place half of the mozzarella slices on top. Use a pizza peel or the back of a sheet pan to slide under the parchment and transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone. Prepare the second pizza while the first is baking.
  11. Bake the pizza: Bake the pizza for 12 minutes before carefully checking to see if the bottom of the crust is a golden brown. If you desire a crispy, slightly charred upper crust, turn the broiler to high and bake the pizza at least 8 inches from the heat for 30 to 60 seconds depending on your preference. Remove from the oven and repeat with the second pizza.
  12. Toss the salad and serve: Place the salad greens into a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar and toss to coat. Mound the salad greens on top of the warm pizzas and sprinkle with edible flowers if desired. Cut and serve immediately.

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Sarah Owens

Recipe by: Sarah Owens

Sarah Owens is a New York City based cookbook author, baker, horticulturist, and instructor. She was awarded a James Beard for her first book Sourdough and released her second in August 2017 titled Toast & Jam with Roost Books. Sarah curates private dining events, cooks for public pop-up dinners, and teaches baking and preservation gobally. Her subscription and wholesale bakery BK17bakery.com is located seaside in Rockaway Beach where she also teaches the alchemy and digestive benefits of natural leavening.