Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lazy Man Pizza - Oh, Make That Focaccia

Say what? Lazy man chicken is one thing, but lazy man pizza- that's a whole other category!

But it's why I make focaccia and just call it pizza - they're both flatbreads, after all. My main problems when I make (real) pizza are the whole shaping of it and then getting it onto and off of the peel and onto my pizza stone which has been heating for an hour at 550+ degrees...I usually end up with something that looks sort of round (if I'm lucky) and then if I'm really lucky it slides off the peel without a problem...however, after a few disasters with the pizza ending up on the oven door or on the oven floor, I decided to make focaccia my go to flatbread...and just call it pizza. Here's a tip, too - if you serve it already cut into slices, who is really gonna know?

You see, with focaccia, you get to shape it right in the pan in which it bakes, and that's what makes it lazy man pizza in my book. It's also lazy man in that it really only takes a few minutes of work...and a lot of waiting around for the yeasties to do their thing. What could be more lazy man than whipping up some dough and waiting a few hours before the next step? You can nap, shop, surf the webs - all good lazy man projects.

I like to start the night before with a pre-ferment; call it a biga, call it a poolish, call it a starter or call it whatever you wish, it's a mixture of flour, water and a tiny bit of yeast which is stirred till it comes together, covered and allowed to sit in a cool place morning, it will be all bubbly and smell can use some or all of it when you make your larger batch of dough.

Starter is cool stuff. It will last for a few days (3, at least) if you refrigerate it after it has been fermenting for a while. Frozen, it will last for 3 or 4 months - just put it in the fridge the day before you plan to use it...and take it out of the fridge to warm it up about an hour before you mix up your dough.

At this point, let's see how lazy this all is. A recap, if you will.

1. Night before - whip up starter - go to sleep. 10 minutes work, 8 hours sleep.

2. Mix dough and let rise - 10 minutes work - 2 hours of waiting.

3. Put dough into pan and let proof - 10 minutes work - another hour or more of waiting. By the way, proofing is another term for rising; it just happens after the first rise.

4. Put pan into oven - 1 minute work - wait till it's finished baking. Remove from pan and wait a few minutes before slicing.

Man, have you just been lazy, or what?

By the way, there are a million focaccia recipes out there - I like the recipes in Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice and Carol Field's seminal The Italian can't go wrong with either of those.

Now of course, you can go the real lazy man route (and I'm sure a few of you will or have) and buy frozen dough or heaven forbid, that product called Boboli. But it will be so much better if you make your own.

Take a look at a few before and after shots of lazy man focaccia. The first of each is simply sprinkled with a touch of rosemary and sea salt and the second is covered with very thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes, rosemary and French sea salt. And lots of olive oil.



What lazy man pizza-making tips do you have?


  1. that potato pizza reminds me of something i get at sullivan street bakery in nyc. i wonder why i've never tried making pizza like that at home before?

  2. @ Justin - I've had that one and if only mine was that good!

  3. @ Justin - I've had that one and if only mine was that good!