Friday, June 13, 2008

Pizza Dough Nirvana--Ingredient of the day

This frozen beasty......or......this homemade frozen yeasty?

(Okay, these pictures suck, but we ate it too fast to photograph. YUM!)

This pizza dough recipe is astoundingly perfect.
Warning!!! joyous raving rant of riotously happy taste-buds to follow:

Without exaggeration (Well actually with a helluva LOT of exaggeration but that's still not enough exaggeration) this is awe-inspiring. I have eaten a lot of pizza in my time. I'm originally from Ontario where there were many great pizza joints--which has caused me many a sad "sighhhhhhh" since I moved to BC. Here, (near Burnaby) I couldn't find a good pizza place at all. Now, I no longer need to. All is well!

The recipe was shared by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks. It was created by Peter Reinhart who wrote Bread Baker's Apprentice. The man is a genius.

Don't let the recipe's many pointers intimidate you; they are beyond handy. If I can do this, you can do this. I hadn't ever made a single pizza dough, yet it turned out so well that it was seriously the best thing I have ever eaten.

The six things you do that make it work so well:

  • Chill the flour in the fridge (I used all-purpose but purists say to get the best)
  • Chill utensils as you work (or your hand) in a bowl of cold water with an ice cube in it. SO worth the chilliness.
  • Let the dough sit in the fridge for 1/2/3 days (though after the 3 days, you need to freeze unused portions) The frozen crusts come out lovely, just defrost for a day.
  • Use a Pizza Stone & heat it first (mine is from Pampered chef & worth every penny--though I did get it free, haha from my BamBam (grandma) who got it at a garage sale.) I am considering buying a second one for entertaining though. It's a gem.
  • Fire up your oven as hot as it can go--safely ;0) 450 will work, but I like 525 degrees--I was giddy with joy when I saw that my oven goes to 550; you can't imagine!
  • Keep the fillings simple & high quality. (I'm usually a top it til it tumbles kind of girl, but great sauce, cheese, & pepperoni (or your favourite vegetarian topping) can't be beat for simple yummiousness.

One method for working with the dough, if it intimidates you (like it does me):

I'm awful at working with dough & transferring it to my hot pizza stone without calamity, so I developed this trick to get it to work. I make panzerottis instead of flat pizza.
  • Lightly flour & put pizza stone in oven (higher the better--cornmeal is awesome in place of flour) :0)
  • Use the bottom of another solid pan or large plate to build your pizza on.
  • Flour it and stretch dough out (don't be upset if your dough is very thin. The major problem with homemade they say is that the middle is tricky to get the dough to cook. The thiness doesn't burn amazingly enough (at least not in my experience) and it isn't undercooked. Nice crunch too.
  • Sauce the whole dough and build ingredients on one half
  • Fold in half to form panzerotti
  • Flatten edges of crust out well, so they'll cook evenly
  • Open oven and quickly turn the pan upside down to flop it onto your hot pizza stone
This really is way easier in practice, promise!



Maggie said...

no photo of the finished goods?
I imagine you with a tripod sitting in you house for every shot.
I broke my pampered chef cookie pan or rather left it on a burner that was on. 2 large pieces are now repurposed as stepping stones in the garden! 2nd no maybe 3rd pan i've lost that way.
I bought one of their square dishes at garage sale but not the same

Glenda said...

What fantastic blogs! Loved looking at them both but like this one best,1st of its kind I've seen!
Inspiring,will deffo be trying some of the recipes.Here in Wales (uk)we eat more old fashioned foods,(meat,3 veg and carbs!!)This could be the kick up the butt I need!!
Mind you I've spent ages looking at your craft creations.Great ideas there! Got me confused for the day! Cooking or Craft?
Maybe a bit of both!


Beth Norman said...

Goodness gracious, how in the world do you keep up two magnificent blogs?

Deb Neerman said...

My GAWD, woman! Is there anything you can't do?!?

Screw marryin' the cards, I wanna marry YOU!!

Hey, in case you don't hear back from me, it's prolly 'cuz I don't have any electricity, okay? It won't be becuz I'm upset that you won't marry me. This time.