Here are two options for roughly half a batch of pizza dough, starting with a good crusty loaf of bread that can cook on the same tiles after the pizza comes out.

Pane all’Olio (Olive Oil Bread)

This oval loaf bakes on the same surface as the pizza but at a slightly lower temperature and with some moisture added to the oven. Use a half recipe of pizza dough.

  1. Prepare the dough through the first rise, punching down, and dividing steps. Instead of a ball, form the dough into an oval about 9 inches long.
  2. Lay a clean, dry kitchen towel on a sheet pan and dust one end with flour.
  3. Lay the dough on the floured end, dust the top of the loaf with more flour, and fold the towel loosely over it.
  4. Let rise 20 to 30 minutes in a warm place.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and place a shallow metal pan of water (such as a pie tin) on the oven floor under the rack with the tiles.
  6. Dust a peel or rimless cookie sheet with cornmeal or semolina.
  7. Roll the loaf, still wrapped in its towel, over on its top, then use the towel to invert it onto the peel.
  8. With a very sharp knife or razor blade, make a single lengthwise slash in the top.
  9. Slide the loaf off the peel onto the stone and bake until the bottom is nicely browned and sounds hollow when thumped, 35 to 45 minutes.
  10. Let cool on a rack before storing or slicing.
Grissini (Breadsticks)

Breadsticks are probably the simplest way to use leftover pizza dough — once you get the hang of shaping them — but they are also the least likely to last.

  1. Prepare the dough through the first rising and punch it down.
  2. Shape whatever dough you will not be using for pizza into a long oval like French bread, as even as possible in diameter (the length is less important).
  3. Lay it on a floured sheet pan, brush the top with a little more oil, and let it rise until doubled, about an hour.
  4. Line one or more sheet pans with baking parchment.
  5. Brush the loaf once more with olive oil. With a bench scraper or a knife, slice the loaf crosswise about 1⁄4 inch thick, making short, irregular slices. (You will knock a lot of the air out in the process; that’s okay.)
  6. Holding a strip of dough with both hands meeting near the middle, gently stretch the dough with a bit of a swinging action as you work your hands out toward the ends, and finish by rolling the ends between thumbs and fingers to match the diameter of the middle. The goal is to make sticks about 9 inches long and as consistent in thickness as possible; pay more attention to diameter than to length.
  7. Lay the stretched pieces 1⁄4 inch apart on the lined baking pans.
  8. Let the breadsticks rise for about 15 minutes while preheating the oven to 375˚F.
  9. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.
  10. Let cool before serving.
Variation: For cheese-flavored grissini, dust the top of the loaf with 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan, Romano, Asiago or similar cheese just before slicing. Drag the slices through any excess cheese lying on the pan before stretching.

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From The Microbrew Lover’s Cookbook, Copyright © 2002 by Jay Harlow. Used by arrangement with Jay Harlow.

Photo: fritish/Flickr