Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Fat Pizza

This is not an art-related post but what the heck? I love doing so many things and so many things are fun to do!

So... I decided to try a pizza from scratch. After checking out about half a dozen pizza recipes, I decided to try out Bobby Flay's pizza recipe which I found on Food Network.

It called for:

- 3 1/2 cups of bread flour plus extra for rolling. I did not have any bread flour so I used all purpose, which, the recipe explains would make a chewier crust as opposed to bread flour which makes a crispier crust. This is a bit Scienc-y for me, but if you want to get into the whole discussion of fermentation and which flour to use there's a great discussion over at The Fresh Loaf.
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 envelope instant dry yeast (eureka! I still have a pack sitting in the freezer)
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 2 tbsp olive oil plus 2 tsp extra.

I combined everything except the extras (the extra flour and extra oil) and mixed them all up in my good ol' mixer and walla I had ball of dough! When I touched the dough though, it was still very wet so I added more flour which came up to about 1/16 cup more. After I felt comfortable enough with my ball o' dough, I greased a bowl, dropped the dough in, covered it with a towel (oops, the recipe said plastic wrap, oh well...) and left it by the stove with one of the electric plates near it turned on low to get some warm air in the area. It was cold that day and I was afraid the yeast will not work if it was too cold. Now, don't take any of this as facts, I was just going by what I felt right for my dough to work. See here, I have a dislike of testing yeast because, despite reading hows tos and tips on it, I can't decide whether it's ready or not. I'd rather use instant active dry yeast and compensate for the liquid than have to test yeast. And that's definitely one of the things I liked about this recipe - no yeast testing, just dump the yeast in plus I got to use my last pack of active dry yeast and will never test again!

About 15 minutes before the hour was up, I turned off the electric plate. After an hour I had the pleasure of coming back to a doubled up dough. So nice seeing dough do that. I punched the dough down, kneaded it a bit more then divided it into two. Then I covered it again with a towel and as the recipe said, left it alone for 10 minutes during which time I sliced left over meats, grated cheese and made sure the baking tray was clean and dry.

After that it was rolling time! I flicked some of the extra flour on the baking try and plunked one of the half doughs in and got the rolling pin out. Starting from center, I started rolling the dough. Once I was satisfied with the shape and thickness, I got the  also from almost-scratch-leftover spaghetti sauce (I used tomato sauce though instead of fresh tomatoes), and spread it generously over the crust. That was followed by a layer of pepperoni, sliced leftover chicken, tomatoes, plenty of onion rings and topped with grated mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

That made for a very fat pizza. The toppings piled thick so I was hoping -- as I put it in a pre-warmed oven at 430 degrees -- that they would flatten out as they cook. After 20 minutes, out came a lovely, aromatic pizza.

And I love the crust! It was thicker than I wanted but the recipe was perfect. It tasted good, the all purpose flour worked great, it was not very chewy, the bottom was just-right crunchy and best of all, it did not produce that off-putting oil that seems to coat your every day fast food pizzas.

I didn't bother freezing the second dough because I knew it would be used up the next day and it was. For next night's pizza, I spread the dough more to make a thinner crust and baked it for only 18 minutes to avoid the cheese being toasted brown and it worked perfectly. The cheese was melted but not as toasted as you can see in this picture which is how I like it. Hubby prefers the toasted cheese though.

He also said the test of a real good pizza is if it's good eaten cold. And his verdict? Definitely good pizza. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

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