There are two types of mozzarella cheese I use for pizza: low-moisture mozzarella (the shrink wrapped stuff), and mozzarella di bufula. I very rarely use the very fancy sounding fior di latte (fresh mozzarella from cow's milk), for various reasons. Primarily because I don't like the way it melts. Where mozzarella di bufula turns into rich, luscious blob of cream, mingling with the tomato sauce, fior di latte just sorta almost melts, and can turn a bit rubbery.
Disdain for fior di latte on pizza be damned, I grabbed a hunk of fresh mozzarella from A Family Affair Italian Deli, in Fair Lawn, NJ, just to see what would happen on pizza (and because I wanted to try Eddie's mutz).
Eddie's fresh mutz is very good, with a rich, creamy mouthfeel. It's a bit less salted than some others, but of course you can adjust this on your own. And crunchy course salt on fresh mutz is not a bad thing, of this you are assured.
I did want to apply meat to the first pie. Fairway carries products from La Quercia, a US company making fine cured meats. It was a no brainer: some slices of that very fatty Proscuitto Americano. This stuff is nothing but pork and salt. Unbelievable, sweet, fatty, meaty flavor. The fat cap was so pure, so white. Oy, I need to get some today.
I decided to go sauceless on this pie, and instead went with a base of caramelized onions. Cherry tomatoes added some brightness and fresh thyme some more earthiness. I was thinking it would need something else, and that little piece of blue cheese in the fridge was calling me.
Blue cheese is a nightmare on pizza. While it's of course a delicious cheese, whose flavors work well on pizza, it's very creamy, and very strong. What happens is you'll end up with clumps of intensely flavored blue cheese on some parts of the pie (and a bunch on your fingertips), and others with no blue at all. Which won't matter because all you'll taste is blue after hitting that first clump.
So I figured I'd freeze the blue cheese, and then grate it onto the pizza. This would provide that blue cheese flavor, but it would be easy to control, and could be applied uniformly across the pie.
The meat was applied after the pie comes out of the oven.
Nerdy dough stuff:
- 60% hydration
- 15% sourdough starter
- 20 minute autolyse step (letting 1/3 of the flour and the water sit)
- 1 day room temp rise (instead of my usual 3 day cold rise)
- Balled 5 hours before bake
- Bake time of 3-3.5 minutes or so
Another pie came out of the oven on this night. This one used the same fresh mutz, some wonderful smoked german salami from The Swiss Pork Store in Fair Lawn, NJ, gaeta olives, pecorino romano, and parsley. Another top tier performance, I will admit. This will be another standard to be added to the rotation.
Visit Eddie at A Family Affair, visit the fellas at The Swiss Pork Store, hell visit Fairway. And if you don't want to make pizza, just put this stuff all on a plate and crack open a 10 dollar sangiovese. You'll be eating very well.