An otherwise basic rosa pan pizza gets a Halloween makeover with a touch of activated charcoal, resulting in a stunningly black crust that contrasts beautifully with the deep red tomato sauce on top. We kept the dough building method and toppings for this recipe fuss-free, so if you’re new to pizza making, give this one a try!
For the dough
350 grams tipo 00 flour OR King Arthur Flour bread flour (see note)
100 grams bread flour
50 grams whole wheat flour
8 grams activated charcoal
300 grams water, room temperature
10 grams salt
100 grams 100% hydration starter, at its peak
For the sauce
800 grams / 28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Finely grated Pecorino Romano, for sprinkling
Leaves from a few small sprigs of thyme (optional, but recommended)
Olive oil, for the pan, and for drizzling
In a medium bowl, mix all of the dough ingredients by hand until no dry flour or lumps remain. Cover loosely and set aside to rest.
20 minutes after mixing, perform one stretch and fold to even out the dough a bit. Cover and allow to rise for 4 hours, then move to the fridge overnight.
The following day, about 4 hours prior to baking, remove the lid from your Challenger Bread pan and drizzle enough olive oil onto the baking surface to thickly coat it in a layer of oil (about 3 tablespoons). Remove the dough from the refrigerator, round the dough into a boule, and place in the oiled pan to proof. Place the lid on the pan to protect the dough from drying out, then set aside to proof for 3.5 hours.
Make the sauce
While the dough is proofing, heat the olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes in a medium pan set over medium heat until gently simmering. Simmer for 30 seconds, then add the crushed tomatoes, season to taste with salt, and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened, then set aside until ready to use.
Top the pizza
Preheat your oven to 500°F / 260°C with the oven rack set high in the oven (for broiler use). Check your dough to see how far it has spread in the pan as it has proofed. It should be about ¾ of the way to the edges; if it is not, gently lift the dough just enough to get your fingers underneath of it and stretch it towards the edges, being careful not to degas it. Once the oven is fully preheated, it’s time to top your pie. Stretch the dough the rest of the way to the edges, then spoon the tomato sauce onto the pizza, making sure to leave the edges of the dough exposed so that some of the beautiful charcoal crust remains visible. The amount of sauce you use is completely up to you. Our preference is to use about half of the sauce and reserve the rest for pasta, but you can use as little or as much as you’d like. Sprinkle with a small handful of pecorino and half of the thyme.
Place the pizza in the oven for 15 minutes. Check your pizza at this point: if it looks good to you, remove it from the oven and sprinkle with more cheese and thyme. If you’d like more color on top, turn on the broiler and broil for a minute or two first before removing the pizza from the oven and finishing with cheese and thyme.
Because this is a thicker-profile pizza with a fair amount of piping hot sauce on top of it, we recommend allowing the pizza to cool for about ten minutes before slicing. To store leftovers, let the pizza cool, wrap in aluminum foil, and store in the refrigerator.
Nicole Muvundamina is a freelance baking instructor and recipe developer specializing in sourdough and freshly milled whole grain baking. Armed with a tabletop stone mill and a pantry overflowing with grains, she is on a mission to introduce people to the fantastic flavors and characteristics that come along with fresh, whole flour. To see what grain-based tomfoolery she is getting herself into each day, follow her on instagram at @nmuvu.
Flour selection: We like to use tipo 00 flour for the crust here, but if you don’t have any on hand, you can swap it out for more bread flour with good results.
Sauce: The sauce recipe makes more sauce than you’ll need for one pizza. We did that on purpose because it freezes well, and you’ll be happy to have it around on nights that you’re pressed for time and want to toss together a quick bowl of pasta for dinner.
Keywords: Halloween, Pizza, Charcoal, Rosa, Sourdough