Daring Bakers: PIZZA DOUGH!

It is the end of the month and that means it is The Daring Bakers Challenge deadline. This month’s Challenge was hosted by Rosa’s Yummy Yums. Our challenge is something that we love in our house and that is homemade pizza. When people think of baking, typically something sweet, creamy, and chocolatey come to mind, at least that is what comes to my mind. I am so glad that this month our challenge involved something I could serve my family for dinner.

This month’s recipe is “Pizza Napoletana” from Peter Reinhart’s “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice”. Included in part of the challenge was capturing yourself tossing the dough. I unfortunately do not have a picture of this, so please check out the Daring Bakers blogroll for wonderful pictures of my fellow bakers who have mastered the toss.  We also had to use both a sauce and toppings, but it was left up to our imagination as to what those included.

I know a couple secrets to great pizza is a HOT, HOT, HOT oven and don’t overload the toppings. This is a recipe I want to try when I am at my in-laws place, because they cook their pizzas on the grill. My father-in-law has a BGE (Big Green Egg) and it makes for some amazing pizza. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. However, this dough can not be whipped up on a whim. You need to plan for it, because it takes needs to rest in the fridge OVERNIGHT.

My pizza toppings include: marinara sauce (very little), cheddar cheese, Canadian bacon (ham), pineapple (that has been blotted dry), dried Italian herbs, and fresh shredded Parmesean cheese.

I do want to make a pizza with apples. I have a whole crisper drawer full in my fridge.

~ BASIC PIZZA DOUGH ~
Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.
* BOTH GF AND REGULAR INSTRUCTIONS FOLLOW


Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).

Ingredients:
4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled – FOR GF: 4 ½ cups GF Flour Blend with xanthan gum or 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup corn flour, 1 cup oat flour, 1 ½ cup arrowroot, potato or tapioca starch + 2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast – FOR GF use 2 tsp
1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar – FOR GF use agave syrup
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting

DAY ONE

Method:
1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

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.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.
The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

Or

2.  FOR GF: Add the oil, sugar or agave syrup and cold water, then 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.

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).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

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

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

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.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.

DAY TWO

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.

Or

8.  FOR GF:  On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the refrigerator.  Place on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a gluten free flour. Delicately press the dough into disks about ½ inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil. Lightly cover the dough round with a sheet of parchment paper and 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.

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.

Or

10.  FOR GF: Press the dough into the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter – for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough).

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.
During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping.
In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.
You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

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.

Or

11.  FOR GF: Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

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

Or

12.  FOR GF:  Place the garnished pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

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 abour 5-8 minutes.

Or

13.  FOR GF:  Follow the notes for this step.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

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.

The Omnivore’s Hundred

This is a neat little survey I found at  Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy, who found it where it originated at Very Good Taste.

Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food – but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.

Instructions
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at http://www.verygoodtaste.co.uk/ linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp – I caught a large one once
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi – Maybe at an Indian Restaurant once
15. Hot dog from a street cart Not a street cart, but a booth at the county fair
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes -Rhubarb wine from Amana Colonies
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream

21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beansLOVE THEM!
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters – Fried not raw
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo – I do want to try it, just not a big fan of okra
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects – Chocolate covered ant
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel – Too snakelike for me
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear – Pickled Nopales count?
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin -isn’t this a clay?
64. Currywurst
65. Durian -I would love to try it, especially since Andrew Zimmern turns his nose up at it on Bizarre Foods
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill -Luckily I have not been in a situation that called for a roadkill dinner
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict – One of my favorite things to order at a resturant
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse -I like to ride them, not eat them!
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab -I love crab, but I think I am allergic  😦
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffeeJoffery’s makes a good brew!
100. Snake

43ish out of 100! Not too shabby!

I really am not into eating intestines or internal organs.

Old-Time Beef Stew

October is now here, and in the mid-west that means the thermometer greatly fluctuates from the morning to afternoon. Our weather can be quite silly. As I write this now (in the morning) the thermometer is saying it is a crisp 44 degrees F, but by noon today we are to reach temperatures in the mid 70s. With such changes in temperature my cravings change dramatically too. In the morning I am ready to bake bread and make soup all day, but soon after I have that craving the sun warms everything up and then I don’t feel like turning on the oven and heating up the house. That is where my craving for stew started, in the morning when it was still 67 degrees in my house; I was going to begin my stew after lunch. By lunch time it was a warm 77 degrees in our house and I did not feel like making stew, so I put it off to the next day.I did finally make that beef stew, and it was delicious. It is too bad the leftovers got shoved to the back of the fridge and was forgotten.

I used Paula Dean‘s recipe for Old-Time Beef Stew. I did a few things differently than she did. I chopped up my carrots, celery, onion and 2 pounds potatoes. I drizzled them with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. I roasted them at 425 degrees F for about one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Yeast Rolls

I have been loving my local library lately; I think I have been there every week since we moved to Omaha. On one of my more recent trips I picked up Down Home Wholesome by Danella Carter. This cookbook is filled with 300 low-fat recipes. Danella includes little stories with some of the recipes, and with her yeast roll recipe the story said these were her mom’s yeast rolls and whenever they were invited someplace for dinner her mother’s rolls were always requested. Since these rolls were infamous, I had to try them. They were delicious! I even made some mini yeast rolls for my girls to enjoy.

Yeast Rolls
Down Home Wholesome by Danella Carter

1 package active dry yeast
1 T honey
1/4 c warm water
2 c 1% fat milk
2 T butter
4 T sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 c AP unbleached flour

Dissolve the yeast and honey in the warm water and set aside for 10 min. Scald the milk in a small saucepan. Add the butter, sugar, and salt, and let the mixture come to room temperature in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture. Add flour, a little at a time, until a soft dough is formed. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth, about 12 min. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large buttered mixing bowl.

Lightly oil the top of the dough, cover with a plate, and let stand in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour, or until dough doubles in bulk.

Butter two muffin pans. Punch down the dough with your fist, and knead for 3 minutes. Pinch off 24 pieces about 2 inches in diameter. Place each piece into a muffin cup.

Cover and let sit for 45 minutes, or until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Oil the top of each roll. Bake for 15 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.