This delicious white pan pizza with mushrooms and gruyere is fun to assemble with children.
For the bechamel:
250 grams / 1 cup whole milk
55 grams / 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 grams / 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of kosher salt
6 rasps fresh nutmeg
1 tiny clove garlic, minced
For the mushrooms:
250 grams mushrooms, sliced ¼” thick (we use mix of varieties, but any variety will work)
For the dough:
400 grams King Arthur bread flour OR tipo 00 flour
100 grams whole wheat flour
320 grams water, room temperature
100 grams levain
20 grams olive oil
10 grams salt
For the olive rosemary spiders:
6—10 pitted Kalamata olives, or other large olives of your choice
Leaves from a few sprigs of fresh rosemary (enough for 8 legs per olive spider)
100 grams gruyere, shredded
100 grams pecorino romano, shredded
Prepare the mushrooms
In a large skillet, heat a generous slick of olive oil until just shimmering. Add the mushrooms to the pan and stir briefly to coat in oil. Leave the mushrooms mostly undisturbed until they are well-browned, then stir and continue to cook until the mushrooms are well-browned. Season with salt, then refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the rosemary olive spiders
Pat your olives dry. Using a toothpick, poke four holes down one long side of each olive and push one rosemary leaf into each hole. Repeat this on the opposite side of each olive. Place the spiders on a plate lined with a damp paper towel, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the bechamel
In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the butter with half of the milk until the butter is melted and the milk is steaming, but do not bring the milk to a boil. While the butter melts, put the flour into a medium bowl and slowly whisk the other half of the milk into it. Pour the hot milk mixture into the cold milk mixture, then pour it all back into the pot. Add the salt, nutmeg, and garlic and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly and scraping the bottom of the pot to prevent scorching, until the bechamel thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Taste to adjust seasoning, if necessary, and then refrigerate until ready to use.
Mix the dough
Combine all of the dough ingredients in a medium bowl and mix by hand until no flour or dry lumps remain. Cover and set aside for bulk.
About half an hour into bulk, give the dough a couple rounds of stretch and fold to even it out. Let it rest for another 20 minutes, then give it one more stretch and fold. Let it rest for 3 more hours, then move to the fridge to retard overnight.
The following day, about four hours before you’d like to bake the pizza, remove the dough from the fridge, turn it out onto a lightly floured bench, and shape into a simple boule and set aside. Liberally coat the baking surface of your Challenger Bread Pan with olive oil (this will give the pizza crust a lovely finished texture), then place the dough into the center of the pan. Cover the pan with its lid to keep the dough from drying out, and leave to proof for 3—4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 500°F / 260°C with the oven rack close to the broiler. Once your dough is proofed, slide your hands under the dough and gently stretch it the rest of the way to the edge of the pan, being careful not to deflate the dough.
Top and bake
Drizzle the dough with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with the cheese. Distribute the mushrooms evenly across the cheese, then top with the bechamel (you may not use all of it, but you can if you’d like). Drizzle with a touch more olive oil, then bake for 15 minutes. Take a look at your pizza at this point and, if it looks good to you, remove it from the oven; if you’d like a bit more color on it, leave it in the oven and turn on your broiler. Broil for a minute or two, keeping a very close eye on it to avoid burning, until the top of the pizza is lightly burnished and golden.
Remove from the oven and top with rosemary olive spiders.
For peak texture, allow the pizza to cool for ten minutes before slicing. This allows the bechamel and cheese to meld with the dough just enough while ensuring the crust retains its crisp underside.
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.
Time management: You can easily prepare all of the toppings in the time it takes the dough to final proof, but all of the toppings can be made a day or two ahead of time to make the day-of preparations easier.
Special equipment: If you have any toothpicks or small skewers handy, grab those. They will help make inserting the rosemary spider legs into the olives a breeze.
Keywords: Pan Pizza, Pizza, Halloween, Gruyere, White Sauce, bechamel