It’s time for the October 2008 Daring Bakers challenge! This month we are doing
PIZZA & TOPPINGS!
This month was originally going to be hosted by Rosa at www.rosas-yummy-yums.blogspot.com, Sher at http://www.whatdidyoueat.typepad.com & Glenna at http://www.afridgefulloffood.typepad.com, but life’s sad events made Rosa stride that horse alone…
I am dedicating this months challenge to Sherry who passed away tragically on the 20th of July2008 after having been struck by a massive heart-attack. Glenna, on her side, decided to quit The Daring Baker’s & to stop her baking adventure for personal reasons. So that’s why Rosa was all alone on hosting this challenge. Prior to Sher’s sudden death (9 days before), she had shared with Rosa her recipe idea for the October challenge that Sher, Glenna and Rosa should have hosted together. When she died, it was clear for that her choice should be respected & her choice was submitted. ~ Sherry “Sher” Cermak 1948-2008 ~
Thanks to Sheltie Girl (Natalia) at http://www.glutenagogo.blogspot.com (USA) for her precious help & for giving us all the gluten-free version of this recipe!!!
I was yet again, so excited when I saw this challenge. First of all, PIZZA!!! Who doesn’t like pizza! We were able to use whatever sauce & toppings that we wanted to use, but we had to use a sauce & some toppings. We had the option of making these regular or gluten free. I wanted to try the gluten free ones, but I didn’t have a chance. I am planning on making the gluten free version of the pizza & the crackers from last month in my Double Daring Bakers line-up.
Here are some black olives with the pits intact:
Another part of the challenge was that we had to toss the dough (except the gluten-freers, you should not toss that dough). I had tried this before when my parents owned a Pizza place & was never able to do it. My dad was great at it & I always wished I could do it because he could. Well… I DID IT!!! Yeah! Here it is:
Pizza one toss
Pizza 2 toss
We could make our pizzas either savory or sweet, I chose to make them all savory, mainly because my hubby doesn’t like fruit desserts. My pizzas had the Pizza Sauce from Vegan with a Vengence, Spicy Italian Soysages (from Julie Hasson http://www.everydaydish.tv/Recipe%20Pages/Spicy_Italian_Vegetarian_Sausage.html), artichoke hearts, black olives, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, bell pepper & spinach. It was sooooo good! If you have never made your own pizza before, it is so easy you have to try it. It does take some time, mostly inactive time, but it is so worth it. Here is the recipe for you, my changes are in green.
~ BASIC PIZZA DOUGH ~
Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.
Equipment: Stand mixer with paddle and dough hook attachments (optional, see recipe), cooking thermometer, baking sheet, parchment paper, cooking oil, plastic wrap, pizza peel/scraper, pizza stone or pan.
Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12“/23-30 cm in diameter).
4 ½ Cups (20 ¼ oz/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (14%) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled – <FOR GF: 4 ½ cups GF Flour Blend with xanthan gum or 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup corn flour, 1 cup oat flour, 1 ½ cup arrowroot, potato or tapioca starch + 2 tsp xanthan or guar gum>
1 ¾ Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast – <FOR GF use 2 tsp>
¼ Cup (2 oz/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
I used ¼ cup water mixed with 1 TBSP ground flax seeds
1 ¾ Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar – <FOR GF use agave syrup> I used honey
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.
<2. FOR GF: Add the oil, sugar or agave syrup and cold water, then 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.>
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.
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.
<8. FOR GF: On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the refrigerator. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a gluten free flour. Delicately press the dough into disks about ½ inch/1.3 cm thick and 5“/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil. Lightly cover the dough round with a sheet of parchment paper and 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.
<10. FOR GF: Press the dough into the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter – for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough).>
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.
<11. FOR GF: Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.>
12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.
<12. FOR GF: Place the garnished pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.>
NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.
Onions, red & green tomatoes added:
13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.
13. FOR GF: Follow the notes for this step.
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.
The rest of the toppings added:
NOTE ON SAUCE: Your sauce should not be too thick as it will thicken in the hot oven. Less is more but make the less truly more by using quality ingredients.
SAUCE IDEAS: Pestos, white or brown sauce, tomato sauce, Bolognese sauce, etc…
TOPPING IDEAS: Nuts, tofu, veggies (tomatoes, bell peppers, artichokes, hearts of palm, zucchinis, pumpkin, red onions, etc…), herbs (mixes, fresh or dried), spices (garlic, gourmet salt, pepper, curry, berbere, ras-el-hanout, za’atar, etc…), nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashew nuts, Brasil nuts, macadamia nuts, etc…)….
The cooked pizza with a side salad: