Monday, January 12, 2009

Pizza Party

Earlier this week, a good friend of mine emailed to see if I'd be interested in a weekend pizza party. Transcript of his email: wanna have a pizza party on saturday? ive been experimenting with goat cheese.
My response: [...] I'll make the dough if you bring the cheese!
Clearly, we are a delightful group. So, friend sent out a mass email to other friends and, as the week wore on, said friends grew more and more excited about homemade pizza.

Well, tonight, all our pizza dreams came true, with a few mishaps thrown in for fun.
I spent the day at the farmers' market, church, and CostCo, so I actually had very little time at home. I'd started a poolish with one of Peter Reinhart's to-die-for recipes, but later realized the dough needed yet another day of refrigeration to make it take on full flavor. As I am not willing to waste poolish that's been squandering space in my fridge for a full night, I went with a completely fresh dough, ignoring the pre-ferment pain. And where did I find this delightful dough? No other location than my darlingest food blog, Smitten Kitchen. I found this amazingly simple dough recipe and planned on making it a few hours before the party for a richly risen dough treasure. Of course, I had no flour, so an emergency grocery run and a few distractions later, the party was just getting underway and I was just beginning my dough mixing.

I enlisted a slightly unwilling Boy, and we whipped up this dough (three batches in, oh, maybe 10 minutes), swaddled them in plastic wrap, and shoved them into our goodie bag to head to the pizza party.
We let the dough rise a bit on top of the oven, then the baker-boys took over, stretching, nay, throwing my dough into perfect circles then dressing them from a gorgeous assortment of condiments, from pesto to carmelized onions and back around to raw mushrooms (fresh from this morning's farmers' market) and Kalamata olives. If I remember correctly, we made a total of 7 pizzas, 3 with my dough and 4 with miscellaneous donations from Trader Joe's and another friend's CuisinArt. By far, my dough got the most applause, and that for dough hurriedly whipped up and not even allowed to fully rise . Clearly, this is a spectacular recipe. Allow me to share!
That's pizza in that pan there -- we made many types and shared!

Spectacular Pizza Dough
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes one 12" pizza
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (organic if possible, part whole wheat, if you're adventurous. I used only all-purpose this time, though I'll likely sub part whole wheat next time)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp active dry yeast (if using other yeast types, adjust accordingly)
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water (give or take a few drops)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  1. In a large-ish bowl, throw all the dry ingredients, even the yeast, together. Stir them up and then add the water and olive oil. Mix the ingredients together, but don't sweat it if they're stubborn.
  2. Dump the bowl's contents onto a lightly floured counter/workspace and gently knead until the dough forms nicely, about 1-2 minutes. All the extra floury bits should come together at this stage to leave you with a smooth dough.
  3. Lightly (lightly!) oil the bowl and put the dough ball into it, turning to coat evenly. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap. OR Lightly oil some plastic wrap and wrap the dough ball into it.
  4. Let the dough sit for an hour or so until it's risen, then stretch out, place on cornmeal-dusted parchment paper, and top with delicious everythings.
  5. Transfer the parchment paper to the oven, preferably onto a warmed pizza stone, but a cookie sheet works ok and bake on your oven's highest temperature until the cheese is melted and the crust is wonderfully brownish.


Jaclyn said...

Yay for homemade pizza! A word of caution about subbing whole wheat flour: it radically changes the texture of the dough and makes it much harder to work with, and stretchy workability is a major goal when making pizza dough. If you're set on part-whole wheat dough, I'd use whole wheat pastry flour and/or try to find a recipe from a *very reputable* source (i.e. not random AllRecipes).

Speaking of gluten content, have you tried pizza dough with bread flour? We had great success with a recipe from the Cheese Board Collective -- lots more air pockets and a texture that got five stars from my resident pizza tester.

Watch out, though, pizza making becomes an obsession and an addiction. We now have it about once a week, sometimes more!

- Jaclyn

Jaclyn Paul

psuklinkie said...

@Jaclyn: Thanks for the pastry flour tip, I might have to try that. I wonder if making a three-part flour would work best: all-purpose, bread, and whole wheat?
I'll definitely be checking out this cheese board collective.. I love both cheese and boards!
Thanks for the addiction warning, too. We'll be careful!

Meg said...

So happy I found this blog!

This is a great idea. I'm having people over in a couple months to watch a particular tv show (my bro's boss is going to be on Iron Chef) and pizza would be great. I'll definitely try this dough. Thanks!

psuklinkie said...

@Meg: I'm glad I gave you some good ideas! That's pretty exciting that you know someone competing on Iron Chef. I hope you like the dough... it's a classic. I tried Peter Reinhart's Pizza Dough 1 from "Crust and Crumb" and.. I actually don't like it as much! Days of patience and pre-fermenting and a 20 minute dough beats it!