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So here we are at bread number 25 in the book Bread baker's Apprentice: Pizza in the Neapolitan style. As you may have heard by now, my hubby is truly first generation Italiano, and so PIZZA is a serious topic for him. We have tried many pizzas all over our city, and there is only ONE place here in the US we go to get true pizza napoletano, and it's Antico Pizza. Having said all that, when this recipe came up, Nic was enthusiastic about trying to duplicate as close to the real thing at home. The verdict? Honestly, the pizzas were WAY better than average, but I think maybe my oven didn't get hot enough(it only heats up to 500 degrees). And also, my toppings were not too authentic either, maybe I should have tried to do some more authentic styles of pies. At any rate, I would say these pizza are definitely worth trying at home. If you have Mr Reinhart's book you can follow along on page 207 where he begins his introduction to how pizza is the perfect food,etc, but it is pretty interesting reading regarding how so many factors contribute to great pizza, but he believes in the power of the dough. I am not sure that is exactly what I believe, because at Antico Pizza they import all their ingredients from Italy, flour, salt, cheese, tomatoes, and other seasonings including their oregano, and I have to say, theirs is the closest we've had to REAL Italian Pizza.
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Mixed dough was on the slighty sticky side.

Reinhart tells us that the single biggest flaw in pizza making is that the pizza maker doesn't allow the dough a long rest in the refrigerator to release enzymes and improve gluten relaxation. So, after mixing the dough, I cut it into 6 pieces and formed them into balls and slipped them into the fridge.

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The next day, I took out 4 of the pizza balls (and froze the other two)and made small disks and then let those rest for about 2 hours. I then rolled them out into thin circular type shapes that looked very RUSTIC. Since toppings are endless, and Peter warns against using everything but the kitchen sink, we decided to top each pizza with a different assortment of ingredients. I think they look good enough to send to yeastspotting.

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Spinach, carmelized onions,feta, and pecorino in a tomato base
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fresh mozzarella,basil, anchovy paste and fresh cherry tomatoes
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Carmelized onions,pepperoni, and mozzarella
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Spainach, Mushrooms, and fontina cheese
 
 
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My friend Robin who recently had cancer surgery, loves Italian baked goods. She has been in the hospital since Christmas  and is finally out in rehab. So, when I knew I was going to visit her I asked her if there was anything she needed, and she replied: "Panettone would be nice!" How could I refuse such a request? She never got a chance to indulge in the holiday goods when it was in season, And it just so happened that it was next on my list in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge. This remarkably tender, and fluffy bread originated in Milan, according to my Italian hubby, but we see it here in the stores starting in Oct, so I guess you can say the actual freshness of the product is sometimes in question. If you like store-bought Panettone, then you MUST try this home-aide version, number 24 in the Bread Baker's Apprentice book.
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This is a two day bread starting with an active starter. Here you see my starter, "Adam" bubbling away and working his magic.
If you still haven't bough the book-- you can find an adapted recipe here, but it's not quite the same as Peter's recipe.

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Next the ingredients. This dough was very similar to the egg- butter breads from the beginning of the book, but with the addition of the liquor and the vanilla extract in the soaking dried fruit, the bread had a wonderful aromatic fragrance.

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It took a while to get the dough to get the "window pane" texture, but it finally came together.

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I divided the dough in half and decided to use a loaf pan for the one Nic and I would keep and used a real Panettone mold for Robin's bread.

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The result was delicious! This tasted WAY better than the dry store bought variety that we're bombarded with every Christmas. Christmas in July is a good reason to bake this festive bread.
Yeastspotted