Wednesday, October 29, 2008

TWIRLING PIZZA DERVISH: A Daring Baker Challenge

Rosa of Rosa's Yum Yum's (a great blog by the way) is the host for this months Daring Bakers. She, and a few other gals have chosen this recipe and to have us do the toss, like the whirling dervishes that we are. At first I thought, she's crazy, there is no way, I can do this. It was kind of a comical thought. Ah, what the heck, this is the Daring Bakers, right? So glad I did because it was a lot of fun, I was giggling the whole time, but man it gives you the perfect thin crust pizza. My husband loved it!

I did an olive and hot pepper one. I also did a roasted peppers and cheese one. No sauce. Delicious. I ahve to tell you this dough is worth the days wait. It has a nice texture and flavor. Could we expect anything less from Peter Reinhart? I have my favorite that I use all the time but this crust will become a part of my pizza repertoire.

You can barely see the dough. This girl is camera shy.


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 (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour
1 3/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup (2 ounces/60g) olive oil
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 tablespoon sugar
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting

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.

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.

On the second day:
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.

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.

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.

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 abour 5-8 minutes.

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 pan 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.


Christine said...

Yeah you did the pizza toss! Great job! I didn't have anyone to take the pics so....Glad that your family enjoyed the pizza

Megan said...

I kept yelling at my daughter, "Get the crust in the pictire, not me!" LOL
Great challenge. :)

kat said...

You got some nice air there on that toss.

Lucy said...

Great pizza Lori!! DH wasn't fast enough to grab mine in the air ;-)

Aran said...

it's making me sooo hungry right now...

maybelle's mom said...

Good pizza toss. And, I did the same topping (olive and pepper.)

Lesley said...

I love those lips.

Your pizza toss is phenomenal. I am totally without talent in that arena. Great job.

Ally said...

Great job! I just love olives on pizza!

Jo said...

Great job on your pizza challenge and yours look delish!

Heather B said...

Congrats on the toss! Mine almost fell so I had no pics. Your pizza looks and sounds delicious!

Jacque said...

LOL, I'm with you on the camera shyness... while I'm tossing pizza dough for the first time ever is not when I want my picture taken.

Your pizzas sound yummy. I like seeing the variety of pizzas everyone made.

giz said...

I agree with you - that dough was so worth the wait. It's by far the best pizza dough I've had. Even the dogs, who NEVER eat bread were begging for more. Your pizza looks fabulous and I think you might just have a future in the pizza business

Zoe Francois said...

Wasn't tossing the dough fun? Your pizza looks so gooey and rich, I'm putting more cheese next time.

Cristine said...

Nice toss! I loved this challenge so much!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Great tossing! Your pizza looks wonderful! Very well done!



Grace said...

love the action shot. :)
and the end result, of course. nicely done. :)

The Blonde Duck said...

Tasty tasty tasty!

Angry Asian said...

love your little toss! :) the olives and black peppers look so good!

Jude said...

Looks delicious. Blurry dough is a sign of a properly tossed pizza if you ask me.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Very well done! Lovely pizza!

Debyi said...

Your olive & pepper pizza sounds great. Wasn't tossing the pizza fun! Your dough got some great air.

KariH said...

I'm a little late to the show, but just made your pizza crust recipe the other day and love it! It is so easy to prepare and have on hand. I have been wanting a crust recipe exactly like this, thanks!
I came across your website through Kat at agoodappetite. Glad to have added you to my bloglines!