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All doughs lead to Rome

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Pizza bianca (which means “white pizza” in Italian) is a popular snack sold at bakeries in Rome. This type of pizza might seem a little strange at first, because it isn’t topped with any tomato sauce or cheese, but trust us, it’s delicious!

Traditionally, pizza bianca is baked directly on the “floor” (or the stone bottom) of a pizza oven and is lightly charred, bubbly, and mostly flat. For the following recipe, we bake the dough in a baking pan, which makes it puff up like another Italian specialty, focaccia. So, think of this recipe as a pizza bianca-focaccia mash-up. Buon appetito!

Roman-Style Focaccia

Serves 8

For the dough:

3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 2/3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) room-temperature water

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

To finish and bake:

Vegetable oil spray

2 tablespoons extra­virgin olive oil

 

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1. For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, yeast and sugar. Fit the stand mixer with a paddle attachment.

2. Add water to mixer bowl, start mixer on low speed, and mix until no dry flour is visible, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down bowl occasionally. Stop mixer and let dough sit for 10 minutes.

3. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to mixer bowl. Start mixer on low speed and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and knead dough for 8 minutes. (Dough will look shiny, smooth, and very wet, almost like cake batter.)

4. Pour 2 tablespoons oil into a large bowl and evenly coat sides of bowl with oil. Transfer dough to the bowl with the oil and flip dough to evenly coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise until bubbly and nearly tripled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

5. To finish and bake: While dough rises, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray the inside bottom and sides of a 13-by-9-inch metal baking pan with vegetable oil spray. Pour remaining 2 tablespoons oil into the baking pan and use a pastry brush to evenly coat pan with oil.

6. When dough is ready, transfer dough to a greased baking pan. Use your fingertips to gently pat and stretch dough out to the corners of the baking pan. (If dough snaps back when you press it to the corners of baking pan, cover it with plastic wrap, let it rest for 10 minutes, and try again.)

7. Let dough sit for 10 minutes. Use a fork to lightly poke the surface of the dough all over about 20 times. Sprinkle rosemary and remaining 1 teaspoon salt evenly over dough.

8. Place baking pan in oven and bake until focaccia is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

9. Transfer baking pan to cooling rack and let focaccia cool in pan for 15 minutes. Cut into pieces and serve.

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