What is a Pinsa? Making One From Scratch

What is a Pinsa? Making One From Scratch

Pinsa is an ancient Roman dish that's making a modern comeback in the world of gourmet pizza. It's a rustic and oval-shaped pizza that boasts a unique and delicious flavour profile. Unlike traditional round pizzas or thin-crust varieties, pinsa has a light, airy, and slightly crispy texture on the outside while remaining soft and fluffy on the inside. The name "pinsa" is derived from the Latin word "pinsere," meaning to press or flatten, which perfectly describes how the dough is prepared.

Making Pinsa from Scratch: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating your own pinsa at home is an enjoyable culinary adventure. Here's how to make this delectable dish:

Ingredients for the Dough:

  1. 500g (about 4 cups) of Pinsa flour: Pinsa flour is a specific type of flour, a blend of wheat, rice, and soy flours, that's designed for making pinsa. If you can't find pinsa flour, you can try using a mixture of all-purpose flour, rice flour, and soy flour in a 5:3:2 ratio.

  2. 250g (about 1 cup) of cold water: The water should be cold to slow down the fermentation process.

  3. 10g (about 2 teaspoons) of salt

  4. 1g (a pinch) of fresh yeast or 0.2g (a pinch) of active dry yeast: A tiny amount of yeast is used for a long, slow fermentation.

Ingredients for the Toppings:

You can choose from a variety of toppings, but here are some classic pinsa combinations:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Prosciutto
  • Arugula
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Lets get kneading.

1. Prepare the Dough:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the pinsa flour and salt. Mix well.
  • Dissolve the fresh yeast (or active dry yeast) in the cold water.
  • Slowly pour the yeast-water mixture into the flour and mix until a dough forms.
  • Knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. You can do this by hand or with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  • Shape the dough into a ball, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rest for 24-72 hours in the refrigerator. This slow fermentation process is key to achieving pinsa's unique texture and flavour.

2. Preheat Your Oven:

  • Preheat your oven as hot as it can go. A traditional wood-fired oven is ideal, but a regular oven set to the highest temperature works well, too.

3. Shape and Top the Pinsa:

  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator and divide it into portions.
  • Shape each portion into an oval or rectangular shape, about 8-10 inches long.
  • Place the shaped dough on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Add your toppings of choice. A classic pinsa is topped with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, and arugula. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

4. Bake the Pinsa:

  • Transfer the baking tray to your preheated oven.
  • Bake the pinsa for about 10-15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown, and the toppings are cooked to your liking.

5. Serve and Enjoy:

  • Remove the pinsa from the oven, slice it, and serve immediately.
  • Savour the delightful combination of crispy, airy crust and flavourful toppings that make pinsa a true Italian delicacy.

Creating pinsa from scratch allows you to experience the unique flavours and textures of this ancient Roman pizza. Whether you stick with a classic topping combination or get creative with your own variations, making pinsa at home is a rewarding and delicious endeavour that's sure to impress your taste buds and dinner guests. Buon appetito!