Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge - Pizza

Daring Bakers Challenge

The latest challenge is pizza. The main rule this month is I have to toss the pizza dough and make 2 crusts with the below dough recipe. This is a broken up into two days on day 1 you make the dough on day 2 you toss the pizza and bake. This was my first time ever tossing pizza dough or making pizza dough from scratch. The dough was very easy to make and it was fun coming up with topping ideas. I made 3 different types of pizza. Stuffed Crust White Pizza , Chicken Sausage, Mushroom and Olive Pizza & a Veggie Pizza!

Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.
Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).
4 1/2 Cups unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast
1/4 Cup Olive oil or vegetable oil
1 3/4 Cups Water, ice cold
1 Tb sugar

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.Or2.

My dough was very wet so I had to add more flour

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). I only made mine into 4 pieces ,but it worked out perfectly and now I have pizza leftovers!

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 tablespoons 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 2 - Pizza Baking Day!
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

While the dough is resting I get my toppings ready for the pizzas!
Tomato Sauce
Italian Chicken Sausage
Sauteed Baby Bella Mushrooms
Black Olives
Shredded Mozzarella
Fresh Mozzarella
Minced Garlic

The day before I had made tomato sauce using canned whole tomato's with basil, one can of chopped tomato's, 1 can of tomato sauce, and a small can of tomato paste. I sauteed some yellow onions till soft. Add dried basil, salt ,pepper, and a bay leaf. Then add the tomato paste and cook it all for 1 minute. Then add in your canned ingredients and let simmer. I add about 1 tbs of sugar to bring out the tomato's sweetness once it had simmered for an hour. I like to use an immersion blender an to eliminate any large pieces. This can now be used for pizza or just pasta sauce.

I also used some Italian chicken sausage which I sauteed in a dry pan.

After it is done cooking I drained it on a paper towel.

Another topping I used was sauteed baby bella mushrooms. You should never wash mushrooms because they absorb a lot of water so I normally peal off the outer layer. If you don't want to do this you can just brush the mushrooms off.

I sauteed the mushrooms in the same pan I had cooked the chicken sausage in. I get the pan really hot and allow the mushrooms to release the water. The pan will have a lot of liquid from the mushrooms ,but let it continue to cook and the water will evaporate.Add salt and pepper to taste.

Another topping I had was some fresh broccoli which I cut into bite sized pieces

Black Olives were another topping I drained off the liquid and cut into slices.

For one of the pizza's I used ricotta. I mixed ricotta cheese with pepper and Parmesan cheese.
The Toppings

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.

I attempted to toss the dough I have never done this before. Right when you pick the dough up it immediately started to spread. Just spreading on my hands seemed to do a fine job. But when the Daring Bakers tell me to toss I toss! Sorry about the pictures being blurry, but you get the idea.

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. I used a regular baking sheet and it worked great.

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

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.

Pizza # 1
Sausage , Mushroom and Black Olive Pizza - Topped with tomato sauce, italian chicken sausage, sauteed mushrooms, black olives, shredded mozerella and parmesean.
I put this pizza back in so it would get a bit crispier. This was Craigs favorite!

Pizza # 2
Veggie Pizza topped with shredded mozerella, broccoli, & sauteed mushrooms. I put the cheese down on the pizza first. I think changing the order of the toppings made this pizza very crisp. This was my favorite pizza

Pizza # 3
White Pizza with a Stuffed Crust. I stuffed the crust with tomato sauce and shredded mozerella. I baked the crust first for 8 minutes and then I removed it from the oven and topped with the ricotta mixture, garlic and fresh mozerella. This one came out delicious but I put a bit to much cheese.

The Stuffed Dough

The stuff dough after I pre-baked the dough and topped with riccota, fresh mozerella and parmesean.
Hot right out of the oven. Make sure to wait a couple of minutes before you slice so the cheese can set.
The stuffed crust was Craigs idea and as you can see he approved!
Craig liked all 3 pizzas and I still have 1 more piece of dough in the fridge. I now need to decide how to top it! Thank You to the Daring Bakers for another fabulous challenge. Make sure to check out the other Daring Bakers Pizza's.