Potato Pizza and the Correct Flour to Use for Pizza Dough
March 16, 2010
[Elaine] in flour, pizza, potato pizza, vegetarian


I know what you're thinking - what a carb load potato pizza must be!  Well . . . yes.  You certainly wouldn't want to eat it if you were doing Atkins, but if you're vegetarian or even vegan, it's the perfect pizza.  No meat and no cheese (the cheese is optional, but I think the pizza doesn't need it).  If you go to Italy, you will see potato pizza in most of the pizza shops.  The combination of potatoes, rosemary and onion is absolutely delicious and set on top of great pizza dough, it's so good.  Add a green salad and it's a nice dinner.  Cut it into small squares and it's a delicious, unusual appetizer.  

I made this particular pizza dough with bread flour because I wanted a more substantial crust.  I get asked all the time about what is the right flour to use when making pizzas, but that's really the wrong question.  The question you should ask yourself is what kind of pizza do you like?   Do you like thick, chewy pizza or do you like thin, crispy crust?  The flour you choose makes a big difference in the crust.   

I usually make my pizza dough with half Italian 00 flour and half all purpose flour. This makes a crisp crust, which we like, and we roll it out very thin, like a Roman style pizza.  But I make different doughs all the time. My family prefers white flour pizza crust, but I often make a small amount of dough just for me from white whole wheat flour or a combination of white whole wheat flour and some 00 flour. I also have made doughs from half all purpose flour and half bread flour.  For this potato pizza, though, I wanted a real substantial dough so I made it completely from bread flour and it was great.  The different flours contain different protein amounts, with bread flour being the highest.  It will give you a more bread like dough, with some chew.  Italian 00 flour is made from soft wheat but, unlike the soft wheat flours here in the U.S., it is high in protein.  Many people think Italian 00 flour is low in protein because it is milled so finely, but that is not true at all.   Antimo Caputo 00 flour, which is a very popular brand, is 11.5% protein, while soft wheat flour (like White Lilly) is 8% protein.   You need a higher protein flour to make pizza dough, which is why bread flour can work well.  The Italian 00 flour makes a very light crust.  Some pizzaiolos in Italy use a combination of 00 flour and bread flour but the flour they use varies from region to region.  There is no right dough, just what you like - and you may like more than one kind, like we do.

For the potatoes, you must slice these paper thin, which is not done very well by hand. You really need some kind of mandoline to do this.  This is the mandoline I have and it works incredibly well.  If you don't want such a large one or want to buy a cheaper one, there are so many now on the market like this one from OXO, which is a handheld version.  You can find these kinds of slicers at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma.

make sure the potato slices are super thin.

So experiment a little with the pizza doughs.  Try a little bread flour blended with some all-purpose, or get some Italian 00 flour and see how you like that. It's fun. And if you haven't tried making pizza at home, it's just so easy.  Get a pizza stone and whip up a batch of dough.  You can even make the dough the night before, stick it in the fridge and then bring it out a couple of hours before dinner to come to room temperature and rise.  I do that all the time.

Potato Pizza 

serves 2 - 3

makes one large pizza 

for a printable recipe, click here


for the dough:

for the topping:


For dough:
Add the salt, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and yeast to the 1/2 cup of warm water and stir.  Mix in 1 cup of flour.  Gradually add in 1/8 cup more flour, until the dough comes together enough for you to put in on the counter and start kneading it.  Add enough additional flour to make a nice dough that is not too sticky, but not too dry.  You want it to feel a little moist, but you don't want it to stick to your hands.  Knead for a couple of minutes and put it in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil.  Turn the dough to coat in the olive, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to rise for about an hour and a half.  (If making the night before, after the dough has risen, stick it in the fridge and then bring it out about an hour before you need to use it and put it in a warm place so it can rise a little again).

Meanwhile, with a mandoline, slice the potato as thin as you can, about 1/16th on a inch thick. Place potato slices in a bowl with the salt and cover with cold water for about an hour (or you can refrigerate it for several hours). Drain potatoes, rinse and pat dry. Toss with rosemary, onion and olive oil.  Sprinkle generously with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.


Place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of your oven.  Preheat the oven to the highest temperature it will go (450 - 500 degrees F.) for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle a pizza peel with some coarse polenta (corn grits) or flour.  (update:  I believe a sheet of parchment paper works even better than the polenta in keeping the pizza dough from sticking on the pizza peel.)  If you don't have a pizza peel, just use a rimless cookie sheet or an upside down baking pan.  Roll out the pizza dough, using flour so it doesn't stick to the rolling pin. If the dough snaps back as you roll it, let it sit for just a couple of minutes and it will roll out effortlessly. Roll out the dough until it is the size/thickness you like.  Place on the pizza peel.  Brush the dough with the 1/4 cup olive oil (or however much you like), top the pizza with the potato slices.  Make sure you get all the onion and rosemary out of the bowl and place on top.  If using the cheese, sprinkle on top.  

Slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake for about 8-10 minutes, until the crust is crisp and golden. Sprinkle with additional salt, if you like.  

For a discussion of yeast, click here

Another idea for pizza:  Pizza Quattro Stagioni

Article originally appeared on The Italian Dish (http://theitaliandishblog.com/).
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