Sunday, June 18, 2006

Making Pizza

The first nite of pizza was pretty good - the dough turned out alright, even though I was nervous about the stickiness (I added extra flour while it was still in the Cuisinart, but it still came out sticky). Rose a bit on the kitchen counter for it's 1+ hour. Patted out VERY nice! Topped it with Mid's pizza sauce, homegrown oregano, fresh mozzarella, sliced pepperoni (that's the stripes you see in the cheese), and then some shredded moz we had in the fridge. Drizzled with a little olive oil. Slid if off the back of a pan (dusted with cornmeal) onto the pizza stone. Baked it 8 minutes. Voila! GREAT STUFF!!

I DID cheat in that the recipe said to slide it onto the stone with only sauce on it, bake for 5, take it out, top it, slide it back in, bake for 5 more minutes. Who're they kidding!? I don't have a pizza peel, and even if I did, I don't want to risk bringing it out of the oven and trying to get it back in - I'm sure it'd stick to something!

After the pizza came out I topped it with some torn basil from the backyard. Maybe could've let it cool a bit more, since the basil turned black, but that's ok - was still VERY good!! And who wants cooled pizza!?!?!

Thursday nite's pizza was so good, and had brought up some questions, that I decided what the hell, let's do it again!!

Brett had asked if I could make it whole wheat. Since the crust recipe calls for very light cake flour to keep the crust light and airy, and for the speedy rising, this made me nervous. I had some half stone ground whole wheat/half all purpose flour left over from something I did awhile back, so I used one cup of this for part of the 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour - and then also used the called-for 1 cup of cake flour.

Since I was nervous about the whole wheat dough, and since I'm also experimenting with freezing raw dough (something I've never done before), I decided to make another batch of the regular dough. This time I didn't bother to measure the yeast, salt or sugar - I want to get to where I'm comfortable with the recipe and just wing it.... Pinches of salt and sugar, and most of the pack of yeast - the dough turned out great!

And since I now had FOUR rounds of dough on my pan, and I was nervous about the rising, I put the pan on the stove top (the night before I left it on the countertop). Remember - this recipe calls for heating the oven (with pizza stone) at 500F for an hour - so there was extra warmth over at that part of the kitchen!

Weeeeell, the oven might've been a little TOO hot for direct-rising of the dough - those over the back burner actually cooked just a little on the outside of the dough, so I had to tear that part off. Not MUCH loss, but it involved deflating one of the wheat doughs quite a bit. I'd decided to turn one into focaccia anyhow (oh yeah, before rising it on the pan, I put 1/2 the wheat dough back in the Cuisinart with a clove of garlic and some rosemary, parsley and thyme). So I opted to make the smaller whole wheat focaccia and the regular size regular pizza.

Topped the focaccia with olive oil and course salt, and the pizza with the same toppings as the night before, plus snipped up sun dried tomato. Here's what resulted:



The focaccia, which I sprinkled with oregano after it came out, turned out a little flat in the middle, and fairly chewy overall. I think it needed a little more rising after I tore off the cooked dough? The flavor was good, but could've definitely used more of all the herbs!!

The pizza was really good!! The sun dried tomatoes were caught by the Brett-filter, even though they were snipped small. He didn't mind the flavor, but the texture kind of threw him off. Not so much that he said I wasn't allowed to use more in scrambled eggs the next morning - so that's good!

We'll definitely be doing more of this dough real soon! 'Sides, there's three blobs of dough in the freezer - that'll be fun to experiment with!

22 comments:

Peter said...

No text necessary. Can you come over and make them for us some time soon? They look utterly yummy!

Jeph said...

LOL Trust me - they're super easy!

Peter said...

The Brett filter? Picture me snorting with laughter at that one!

Weeding the Garden said...

Umm, can you be my personal chef.. They all look DELish!!! My kids love homemade pizza too!!!

Jeph said...

Yeah, Brett's got this mouth that can detect ANYTHING I sneak into food! Or at least he tells me he knew whatever-it-was was in there AFTER I start the "so how do you like it? oh good - you like it! did you notice anything different? I snuck in ____! and you said you liked it!" LOL

I'm sure he'll slip me some Kraft Mac N Cheese with arsenic sometime and ask how I liked it! ;-) I've certainly got it coming!

Alison - do your kids like any of the more creative pizza toppings, or do you have to go with traditional kid-friendly stuff?

I picked up a can of artichoke hearts today to add the next time. And more fresh mozzarella. Wonder if I should've gotten jarred artichoke hearts instead? Or ones from the olive bar?

Jeff in MD said...

Those look fantastic! Please have us over :)

Peter said...

Oooh, tough question on the artichoke hearts. I'm inclined to say salad bar since you can see them first. Hmmmm.

Jeph said...

Jeff: Thanks!! And thanks for stopping by and sharing the kind words! You want the honest truth? I kept thinking I was going to see the pizza from this month's Cook's Illustrated pop up on your site before I could get my pictures up! You're always posting so many great recipes, and it seems like you're trying at least one new recipe almost every nite! I can't shop/plan ahead like you though - seems you get all your shopping done on the weekend, and have the menu planned for the week? I'm way too scatterbrained and indecisive for that!

Peter: I've only used artichoke hearts a couple times - have you had bad experiences with them (in or out of the can) before!?

Peter said...

I've only used the jarred ones, so you get some extra oil and flavouring you might not want.

Jeph said...

I had the jarred ones in hand. And that's exactly why I put 'em back. I figure I'll try 'em AFTER I try the plain canned ones (which I worry could be a tad metallic tasting?)

Weeding the Garden said...

The kids will try different stuff. If I left it up to them, who knows what kind of pizza it would be.. They really do like breakfast pizza, with sausage, bacon, tomatoes and eggs.. I still need that personal chef..

Jeph said...

Need a personal chef!? But it's fun to cook!

Peter said...

You don't need a personal chef, you just need kitchen staff to do some of the prep and to clean up afterwards!

Weeding the Garden said...

Okay I love to cook , so I would go for the maid.. Then she could do the whole house.

Jeph said...

Me too - I'll take a maid! Love the idea Peter - could you convince Brett I need one?

Peter said...

Sure Jeph. Right after I get Conrad settled on the idea!

steven said...

Beautiful pizzas Jeph, perhaps a second career as a pizziaola is in the works? It's an endless war, but I prefer my crust a little thinner and my toppings a bit sparser, but I'd eat your pizza with gusto.

To chime in on the maid issue, I have never had a housekeeper that did a great job and I have a morbid fear of turning my knives and good pots over to anyone that isn't prepared to reimburse me on the spot if they %&#@ them up. (control issues, I know).

Jeph said...

Oh I've flipped out a little when my visiting mom (or Brett) put my Wusthof santoku knife in the dishwasher. NOOOOOOOO!

And I'm learning I like these homemade pizzas a little less heavy as well. Made one today with a visiting friend and we had all the same stuff PLUS added diced up sun dried tomatoes, portabella mushroom slices and artichoke heart (and accidentally put on a little more shredded mozz than last time). Good, but too heavy... Sharon was surprised I was putting "plants that grow in the dirt outback" on our pizzas (even though she knows she likes herbs) - but she said she really enjoyed it.

Weeding the Garden said...

trust me when you don't have expensive cookware or knives, a maid looks awful good.. One day I will get that stuff. SIGH one day..

steven said...

I used to load toppings on pizza, but after a few trips to Italy, I've become a minimalist, my favorite pizza is now little tiny dots of fresh mozzerella, a few slices of prosciutto and a scattering of wild arugula.

steven said...

Alison

Treat yourself to a nice knife, nothing fancy, but something that is well made like Jeph's santoku and it will make your time in the kitchen much more pleasant. The same goes for good pots, but with all the kids I'm sure the money has more urgent uses.

steven said...

By the way, how did Brett or your Mom even have the gumption to TOUCH your knives? The first rule around here is "Keep your hands off of my knives."