Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Caution: Beware of Flying Objects

I am definitely no stranger to making homemade pizza but this months daring baker challenge had me a little nervous. Not only did we have to make homemade pizza but we had to toss the dough in the air like a pizza making pro and have someone capture the moment on film. Yikes! My husband laughed for a moment when I told him I had to toss the dough. He was certain I was going to drop it on the floor. Geeee, thanks for the confidence honey. I am pleased to announce that I tossed three balls of dough into the air and they all landed perfectly on my hands. Must have been beginners luck. :) This was such a fun experience and it yielded such a perfectly round crust that I will definitely try this method more often. The only downside was the flour flying in the air and in my eyes. I think that's why my eyes were closed in the first picture.



Instead of making six, 6 ounce dough balls I made two, 12 ounce and two, 6 ounce dough balls. The two larger balls got turned into a sausage pizza for my husband and a spinach, mushroom and sausage pizza for myself. I stored one of the 6 ounce balls in the freezer and used the other one to make garlic cheese sticks.

This dough was excellent, it had a great crumb and a nice crispy bottom. The nice thing about this dough is that requires only about 20 minutes of prep time one night (up to 3 in advance) and then it just needs to be taken out of the refrigerator two hours before baking. I would say that it is pretty working woman friendly.


This months Daring Bakers challenge was brought to us by
Rosa's Yummy Yums and is in memory of Sher who shared this idea for a challenge with Rosa a few short days before she passed. Be sure to check out the Daring Bakers blogroll to see the rest of the Daring Bakers pizza creations.


This month marks my one year anniversary of joining the Daring Bakers. One year ago we made Tender Potato Bread. What an awesome ride it has been.


Pizza Napoletana
Source: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart

Makes six 6-ounce pizza crusts

Ingredients
4 1/2 cups (20.25 ounces) unbleached high-gluten bread or all purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 teaspoon (.44 ounce) salt
1 teaspoon (.11 ounce) instant yeast
1/4 cup (2 ounces) olive oil or vegetable oil (optional)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces) water, ice cold (40° F)
Semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting

Directions
1. Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in a 4 quart bowl (Or in the bowl of an electric mixer). With a large metal spoon stir in the oil and the cold water until all the flour is all absorbed (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment). If you are mixing by hand, repeatedly dip one of your hands or the metal spoon into cold water and use it, much like a dough hook, to work the dough vigorously into a smooth mass while rotting the bowl in a circular motion with the other hand. Reverse the circular motion a few times to develop the gluten further. Do this for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed. If you are using an electric mixer,switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn't come off hate sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough with be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50 to 55 degree F.

2. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with baking parchment and misting the parchment with spray oil (or lightly oil the parchment). Using a metal dough scraper cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you are comfortable shaping large pizzas). You can dip the scraper into the water between cuts to keep the dough from sticking to it. Sprinkle flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Lift each piece and gently round it into a ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, dip your hands into the flour again. Transfer the dough balls to the sheet pan. Mist the dough generously with spray oil and slip the pan into a food-grade plastic bag (or cover with plastic wrap).

3. Put the pan into the refrigerator overnight to rest the dough, or keep for up to 3 days. (Note: if you want to save some of the dough for future baking, you can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag. Dip each dough ball into a bowl that has a few tablespoons of oil in it, rolling the dough in the oil, and then put each ball into a separate bag. You can place the bags into the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer them to the refrigerator the day before you plan to make the pizza).

4. On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired number if dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before making the pizza. Dust the counter with flour, and then mist the counter with spray oil. Place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks and 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil, and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag. Let rest for 2 hours.

5. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone either on the floor of the oven (for gas ovens), or on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible, up to 800 degrees F (most home ovens will go only to 500 to 550 degrees F, but some will go higher). If you do not have a baking stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan, but do not preheat the pan.

6. Generously dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal. Make the pizzas one at a time. Dip your hands, including the backs of your hands and knuckles, in flour and lift 1 piece of dough by getting under it with a pastry scraper. Very gently lay the dough across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing the dough in a circular motion on your hands, carefully giving it a little stretch with each bounce. If it begins to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue shaping it. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss. If you have trouble tossing the dough, or if the dough keeps springing back, let it rest for 5 to 20 minutes so that the gluten can relax, and try again. You can also resort to using a rolling pin, though this isn't as effective as the toss method.

7. When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction (about 9 to 12 inches in diameter for a 6-ounce piece of dough), lay it on the peel or pan, making sure there is enough semolina flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide. Lightly top it with sauce and then with your other toppings, remembering that the best pizzas are topped with a less-is-more philosophy. The American "kitchen sink" approach is counterproductive, as it makes the crust more difficult to bake. A few, usually no more than 3 or 4 toppings, including sauce and cheese is sufficient.

8. Slide the topped pizza onto the stone (or bake directly on the sheet pan) and close the door. Wait 2 minutes, then take a peek. If it needs to be rotated 180 degrees for even baking, do so. The pizza should take about 5 to 8 minutes to bake. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone to a lower shelf before the next round. If the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone for subsequent bakes.

9. Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Wait 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving, to allow the cheese to set slightly.

37 comments:

Maria said...

I love the action shots!! The pizza looks amazing!

Spryte said...

OMG you ROCK!!!! And the pizza looks great too!!!!

Carrie said...

Oh, I have always wanted to throw it in the air but nervous about dropping it!

Lizzybee said...

This looks so fun, can't wait to try it! I bet my son would love to watch me flip this around in the air.

Jigginjessica said...

Great job! It looks like a really fun recipe!

Oh my! Apple pie! said...

Great photos! your pizzas look great too.

kat said...

Ok your crust looks fabulous. If mine had looked that good I would have been much happier with it

Lynn said...

Your tossing is great! Your pizzas look even better. Good job!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Great tossing pictures ;-P! Your pizza looks absolutely delicious!

Cheers,

Rosa

Bob said...

Awesome! I've never been ballsy enough to try to toss my dough. That pizza looks great, I will have to try it.

Engineer Baker said...

My boyfriend laughed when I said we had to take pictures of me tossing the dough too. I love how thick your crust was - mine stretched a bit too much I think.

briannalee said...

Great action shot :) Your pizza looks so delicious!

Erin said...

It's hard to look at these pizzas when I'm hungry! I love the toppings you used- it looks delicious! I also like your action shot- my camera wasn't fast enough to get one!

Ally said...

Look at you! You are a natural! Great job, the pizza looks delicious!

Colette said...

Your pizza is GORGEOUS! The crumb looks so beautiful and airy, the the crust is nice and puffy! I have to make this again so I can get mine to look like yours!!

Judy said...

Your pizza looks absolutely delicious! Was it easier or harder to toss the bigger pieces of dough?

~Amber~ said...

*Judy*
I actually thought that it was much easier to toss the larger pieces of dough. Sounds strange but it was just easier. :)

Mary said...

You make the tossing look so easy. Just like a pro. :)

SugarEd Productions said...

Look at the size of that dough circle! You GO girl! They look yummy too!

PheMom said...

Your tossing skills are awesome! Great job!

Janet said...

Mmmm, that cut piece looks so delicious!!

gail said...

I am beyond impressed by your dough tossing skills!

Lesley said...

Looks REAL good, I love the tossing pictures. I can't toss to save my life.

Barbara Bakes said...

Great tossing pictures! I too loved that you were able to make the dough so quickly!

CookiePie said...

Great job! You toss that dough like a pro!

glamah16 said...

Excellent looking pizza s and great tossing!

Holly said...

Nice tossing action! I'm glad to see that a 12 ounce portion of dough is a good size for a larger pizza and still manageable for tossing. I was curious how difficult it would be with larger portions!

bakinginoregon said...

Nice job on the pizzas - I like the toppings, right up my alley. Nice job on the tossing as well!

Dagmar - A Cat in the Kitchen said...

Great tossing pictures! The pizzas look delicious!

That Girl said...

I love that you included tossing pictures!!!

Chelle said...

I love your pictures! Your pizza looks fabulous, I am definitely going to try this recipe again!

TeaLady said...

Egad! You look so professional with all that twirling dough. Good for you. Those knots look delicious. Great job!

marion said...

great job :) it was a very funny challenge indeed ! your pizza looks gorgeous :op

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Perfect pizza and nice tossing pics!

Robin said...

I love the pictures of you tossing the dough. GREAT job! That pizza looks fabulous!

shellyfish said...

You are a most excellent pizza dough tosser! Bravo!

newsjunkie060306 said...

I have tried my hand @ homemade pizza dough in the past, and met with very little success. Any other tips you can offer to help bring about better luck?