Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cheating Allowed: Molino Spadoni Instant Pizza Flour

 I normally scorn cheating in the kitchen.  I shun the artfully packaged pre-cut vegetables that the line the shelves at Whole Foods.  And I have been known to reprimand friends who think white powder that comes in a green canister is actual cheese. 

But for every rule there is an exception and I believe I have just found a rather good one to mine on cheating at cooking.  It is called Pizza Gran Sapore from Molino Spadoni- essentially pre-leavened flour that is designed for simple assembly of homemade focaccia and pizzas.

Anyone who ever bought a Boboli crust knows finding a way to cheat on the pizza dough is nothing new.  Part of it is convenience- a premade crust saves about 40 minutes of mixing, kneading, and rising- but it is also the fickle nature of yeast, that all important bread ingredient.  Yeast is alive so quality means everything. Those little packets of Fleischmann’s on the store shelf could have been there so long the yeast has long since kicked the bucket.  And high quality yeast is often expensive and only available in large quantities.  If you are not baking bread every day, there will almost certainly be waste.  

Enter the discovery of this Italian instant pizza dough flour I picked up at Buon Italia in New York’s Chelsea Market.  The directions were all in Italian, a language I know little more than “ciao”, but I could make out from the pictorial that all I needed to do was add warm water, mix, and roll out. 

Surprisingly, it worked exactly like that.  The dough is breadier than yeasted pizza dough I’ve made in the past but each cup of the flour with about 2/3 cup warm water yielded smooth, pliant dough that pressed out nicely into a 10 inch round.  A couple of trials revealed that due to its more focaccia-like nature, this dough cooked more evenly at a slightly lower temperature (450°F) and for a longer cooking time (about 15-18 minutes) than your average yeast dough.

Fifteen minutes later
Overall, for the effort and outcome it was definitely worth the cheat.  Less than five minutes to mix the dough, ten to let it rest, and fifteen to bake, it was almost less hassle than ordering in.  And if I really wanted to cheat, and only a thin crust New York style could satisfy my pizza craving, Bleecker Street Pizza is only a phone call away. 

Note: A Google search revealed no apparent online retailers of this instant pizza flour.  But the Molino Spadoni brand does appear popular with Italian markets.  Either ask for it at your local Italian market, or try special requesting through Buon Italia’s mail order business.

Amy Powell is a food and travel writer based in New York City. She is a graduate of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration and the French Culinary Institute. Follow her on Twitter @amymariepowell

No comments:

Post a Comment