Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cooking: Pizza

One of my favorite things to make at home is pizza now that I have a stone. I'm still trying to work on that dough recipe. The best so far has been the one I brought home from the Le Pain Quotidien bread baking class. Since then, I've tried several other recipes but theirs was the best. I still have the notes from the class but the ingredients are weighed and not measured by volume. Since I don't have a kitchen scale (yet), retrying the recipe has been quite difficult. Anyway, you're not hear to read about my bread dough woes. On to delicious pizza!

When making pizza, I find it really important to have all your toppings grated, sliced, and prepared. This is especially true with your cheese. Here I have parmesiano, mozzarella, and homemade ricotta.

As for the other ingredients, I used sliced sweet sopprasotta, cooked breakfast sausages, sliced baby bella mushrooms, and sliced onions.
And lastly, I have some chopped garlic and marinara sauce.
For the dough, I used the simple recipe in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (recipe below). I haven't been able to fully delve into this book but I plan to do so in 2012. It will most likely be my next baking projects. Cakes had its run for the last 2 years.
Once the dough was ready and proofed, I stretched it out using the knuckles on my hand. I tried to stretch it as thinly as possible. I really enjoy thin crusts, even cracker like ones.
To that, I added a nice layer of sauce. Some people prefer more, some less. Add what you please.
And now the toppings. This was an everything pizza. So the meats, shrooms, and onions were liberally spread out.
Then mounds of cheese on top of that. Not too much or it will weigh down your curst.
Into the hot oven set at its highest temperature and onto the pizza stone. I use parchment paper here because I don't have a pizza peel yet. So in order for me to slide the pizza in and out of the oven without burning myself, I use the parchment which I learned in my bread making class. The paper will burn but that doesn't effect the pizza at all.

Anyway, once the cheese is melted and the crust browns on the edges, it's time to take it out. Be careful, it's really hot. Do not attempt to eat this right away. You should let the toppings set and the dough cool off. You will burn yourself if you do not wait. You have been warned.
The next pie I decided to make is a white pie. I really enjoy cheese so an all cheese pie is always good in my eyes. Instead of red sauce, I used a nice smear of ricotta cheese on the bottom.
To that, I added the chopped garlic, and lots of grated cheese. Lastly, I added a nice handful of ground black pepper so contrast.
I baked that in the oven too and out it came when the cheese melted and browned. It took about 10 minutes to cook.
So how did it turn out? Not bad. Not bad at all. The toppings were really tasty and I held back from over stuffing it this time which helped big time. The cheese melted nicely and bound everything together. The sauce was tangy and sweet which paired well with the savory toppings.
Here's a side view of the crust. Soft and slightly thick. I would have preferred a thinner, more crunchy crust. However, I need to work on my pizza dough stretching skills.
As for the upskirt: nicely charred though not nearly crunchy enough. I wonder if the paper has anything to do with it.
The white pizza was very good. I really enjoyed the 3 cheeses and the black pepper. The chopped garlic was awesome! It added another depth of flavor which was amazing.
And here's the upskirt on the white pizza. I kept the pie in for a bit longer to create a better char. It worked but still not to the level I would prefer. Oh well, just need to try and try again.
I'm getting slightly better and better with each and every try. Now that I just purchased a pizza peel, I wonder if this will effect the crust at all. And I need to try to make thinner crusts. Until next time!

My pizza dough recipe was adapted using a recipe from:

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Soe Francois

Olive Oil Dough
*Makes four 1-pound loaves

2 3/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 tbsp yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1. Mix yeast, salt, sugar, olive oil, and water in large bwol.
2. Mix in flour without kneading.
3. Cover loosely and allow to rest in warm spot for about 2 hours.
4. Let rise at least once. You may use it after the first rise or keep it refrigerated for at most 12 days.

5 comments:

  1. Hmmm, I've had success with a pretty good upskirt on my homemade pizzas. I don't make my dough from scratch and we didn't stretch using our hands - I tried and tried the way we did in our class, but it just didn't work with the Trader Joe's dough as well - and we don't have a pizza stone - but we've had some good char on ours. Guess it's just practice (I'm not the skilled one, so I have to start practicing... ha) - we were doing it once a week for about 2-3 months when we started getting really good results.

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  2. From cakes and onto pizzas, sweeet. Hope it gets better and better. Never tired of a good cheese pizza. *mouth watering*

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  3. I bet you might get better char if the pizza was right on the stone and not separated by the paper. I don't know how significantly better but perhaps a little bit. I have a stone and peel, and have gotten ok char. But i rarely make pizza---I prefer to make calzones these days.

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  4. I took the Le Pain Quotidien class, too. My favorite homemade pizza combo is pesto with mushrooms, black olives and fresh mozzarella. Don't forget to heat the pizza stone on the highest setting (450 or so) for at least 30 minutes before putting in your pizza.

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  5. You are an expert in making the Best Pizza in Melbourne. Very cheesy, yummy and delicious pizzas can be seen in your blog.

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