Wednesday, October 29, 2008

daring bakers - pizza

Finally I've done the latest daring bakers challenge. It's been a while. Actually it's been a while since any post, but more of that later.

This month's challenge was pizza, bought to us by Rosa's Yummy Yums. Recipe and really really badly exposed photos are below:

Pizza Dough
4.5 cups flour (preferably pizza/foccacia flour/high gluten flour), chilled
1 tspn instant yeast
1/4 cup oil
1.75 cups ice-cold water
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or if you're a hard core nonna like me, on the kitchen bench).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

you will note from this photo, i put my in a mixing bowl. this is partly because i have no freakin' idea what a jelly pan is. well, i know what i think a jelly pan is, but i suspect the concept is different to what the author had in mind.


8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan. (sub note: i have neither a stone nor a jelly pan, i used a baking tray!)

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.
(picture title: what a tosser)

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

Now, let me start by saying that these were darn fine pizzas. I put bacon onion and chili on mine, as they are my favourite pizza flavours by far. The dough was very easy to roll out too, which is good as I like mine real thin. I didn't dust the pan well enough though, and it really stuck in some places, but this is totally my fault.

However, this recipe is a lesson in making a simple thing complicated. Don't chill your flour, don't use ice water and prove the darn dough in the sun and you'll be eating your pizza in a little over an hour. TWO DAYS???? Forget that, I'm into instant food gratification baby. And heating the oven for 45 minutes is another lesson - in environmental vandalism. Crank it up and pop 'em in. I probably had to cook mine a little longer, but the oven was on for a far shorter time (good in our Oz summer), and offered up much less carbon waste.

But pizza is good. Cook lots of pizza. Eat lots of pizza.

And yes, once again I've gone dormant. Three weeks and I'll have the last of my uni assignments done. Six weeks and the (current) peak period at work will end. Roll on school holidays, I say (oh look, it's raining!!)


Honey Pickles said...

Your pizza looks delicious. I like the sound of your flavor combination.

Lynn said...

I agree with much of what you have said. I never preheat my oven that long when I make pizzas. What a waste. I do love your pizza though and I bet it was delicious. Great job!

Joy the Baker said...

Bacon on pizza. Yes. Yes. Yes!

Kitty said...

thanks very much ladies. Joy, you're right, bacon on anything is pretty OK by me. so very very savoury. and lynn, i'm glad you agreed with me, felt like i was dissing the receipe a bit, but it was far more complicated that it needed to be, i make pizza all the time, partly because it's so straight forward!

Anonymous said...

A little late, but try cooking it in a large preheated cast iron pan. roll out the dough to about the size of the pan, put dough in pan and then sauce and your favorite toppings. makes a crispy crust. give it a try if you don't have stone