Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October Daring Baker - Pizza & Toppings

The October Daring Baker Challenge, hosted by Rosa of Rosa's Yummy Yums, was to make pizza dough and at least two separate toppings, using the recipe for the dough from the "The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Breadby Peter Reinhart.

I made a large rectangle pizza, using two portions of the dough, and made one half Neapolitan style using tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella slices, fresh basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and the other half was a more savory concoction of sliced, pre cooked breaded chicken cutlet, steamed broccoli rab, sun dried tomatoes, slices of goat cheese, and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Rosa also challenged us to post a photo of ourselves using the traditional tossing of the pizza dough in the air to help stretch it out to fit the pan, just as a pizza chef does. That obviously takes practice, as it was not an easy task to perform, and it was equally hard for my husband to be able to time snapping the photo to capture it!

I had to do some serious cropping to spare you all the vision of myself with my mouth wide open in a mix of glee and horror as I tossed the dough up towards my ceiling, but here it is:

This is the pizza before it was baked:

Some close ups of the completed baked pizza:

The dough was light and crisp, and my mother, husband and I enjoyed both halves for dinner one evening.


Ingredients: 4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled

1 3/4 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Instant yeast -

1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)

1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)

1 Tb sugar

Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting


Method: 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.

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 tablespoons 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.

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. (I only have one large rectangle baking stone, so I combined two portions of the dough as my base and made two different sauce/toppings halves to fulfill the assignment)

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.

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.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

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.

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 pan.

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.


I have to admit that I rarely make my own pizza, as where I live, Brooklyn, New York, is renown for having some of the best pizzerias in the world! One is "Di Fara's Pizzeria", which you can read about in this Epicurious blog post, and I took everyone along to two other famous Brooklyn pizzerias in a blog post when I went on the Slice Of Brooklyn Pizza Tour last April.

With a wealth of exquisite pizzas like these available nearby why would I have to make my own? But, I have to admit, this was a fun assignment and I thank Rosa for the delicious challenge!

If you would like to see wonderful versions of pizzas on other Daring Bakers web sites today, check the Daring Bakers blogroll!

There is also an open forum for general baking discussions here, but you have to be a member of Daring Bakers in order to register to log in for each month's challenge and discussions regarding it. If you think you are up to taking the monthly challenge instructions are on this blog as to how to join! Don't delay, as there is only a 24 hour time limit to join every month for the next month's challenge!

There is even an "Alternative Daring Baking group for gluten-free, lactose intolerant, allergy, vegetarians, vegans and bakers who use alternate ingredients due to other health concerns or life styles."

I hope to see you all doing the November Daring Baker Challenge!


steviewren said...

I used to make homemade bread a long long time ago, without dough hooks. What I remember best, about the experience, was having that sticky dough all over my hands and having the phone start ringing. There's no easy way to get it off until the dough is kneaded enough and starts forming the ball. But my, my how delicious it was to eat a slice fresh out of the oven with slathers of butter on it. Mmmmm, Pat you've made me hungry for pizza and bread and butter!

GMG said...

Hi Pat! OK, I'm resigned to have my diet ruined for what it surely tastes here... ;)
Amazing post on the Baby Shower Story!
Now, I bet you won’t discover where Blogtrotter has landed, unless you get there to see… ;) Enjoy, comment and have a great week!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Hi Pat, Very creative with the chicken side of your pizza! I'm sure it all was Yum, but I do know what you mean by being surrounded by good pizza places, I feel the same way about living here. I do really enjoy grilling pizza though in my backyard during the summer!

Lisa B. said...

OMG! That looks so good!!

Picket said...

Oh my word..get a scratch & sniff patch on here woman!!! I love pizza! Man that looks so mouth is watering! Oh and that pic of you throwing the pizza dough...oh lordy...that was a good one! lol lol Is there anything you can't do girl!? Have a great day1

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Oh Mama Mia! You are the real deal girl!! That is so awesome! I LOVE to see people toss the pizza crust and it's a rare occurrence in Ohio it seems. Your pizza looks so delicious Pat! Be sure and call me the next time you make it and we'll come by for a piece or two, maybe you'd better make 2 pizzas!!
Hugs, sherry the non-tosser

Nola @ the Alamo said...

That looks delish! I could eat it for breakfast. I love pizza, but rarely make it at home.

Judy said...

I'm coming to Brooklyn for pizza! You really have it down the tossing of the dough and all! Your pizza's look very yummy.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Great tossing! What a wonderful pizza! Very well done!



Beverly said...

Pat, yummo! I think I would like a slice of pizza for lunch. ;-)

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

YUMMMMM~ That looks so good! I buy fresh pizza dough from the grocery store (in the ball still, not rolled out). Tonight we are having a Pizza Bianco. Fresh mozerella, ricotta and parmisean cheese with garlic shrimp on top.

Thanks for the crust recipe. I will try it!

Edie Marie's Attic said...

I'm so excited! Let me know and I will get right on it!!
Hugs, Sherry

Rue said...

Oh my that pizza looks good! You know what? I seriously would eat a whole paper bag if it had goat cheese on it LOL (kinda, but not really kidding)


Mary said...

I wish I was as lucky as you to have such great pizza in your neighborhood. I agree that trying to capture a photo of the tossing was great fun. Nice job on your pizza.

Camille said...

I don't think I'd ever make my own pizza if I lived in NY! I miss it something fierce. Your pizza looks wonderful! Bravo on another well done Daring Baker's challenge. (I'm posting later tonight with mine.)

You asked what book I'd like to write...well, I have one started and it is, well, hard to put into a few words, but fictional. (I have an idea and an outline for a cookbook/literature, too.)

Lesley said...

Looks like the perfect meal for a cold fall day. Great tossing too!

Mrs. B said...

Hi Pat! You've been Boo-ed! Read all about it on my blog.

The pizza looks delicious! I love basil. I don't think I'd have been brave enough to toss the dough! And your baby shower photos are adorable. The nursery is so cute!

Audax Artifex said...

Love the half and half idea, great looking shots. Most the fun is in the kneading and the tossing and the topping and the eating. I think that means all the process is fun. thanks for the comments on the blog.

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Oh, I do wish we could see the look on your face. :-)

That pizza looks so terrific I can't stand it. And I hear you on the pizza -- we are spoiled by some of the best pizza in the world in our neck of the woods (I'm a sucker for Denino's on Staten Island...I grew up eating it and I still can't get enough!).

I'd love to be a Daring Baker, and may sign up (I think I have to today??). It will force me out of my baking comfort zone!

nanatrish said...

Wow! What super looking pizza! I'll bet it smelled wonderful and tasted like heaven. I'll bet you had so much fun with it and must have felt so good about yourself making such a glorious creation!

jeanne said...

Pat, thanks for your visit and the sweet comments about Molly Rose.

Now, for your Daring Baker's Challenge. I love the posts when you do the challenges. The pizza was a different challenge for sure. I laughed when I saw your pic with the dough flying in the air. I had this mental picture of all the mishaps that probably happened while trying to capture this on film. In short your pizza looked awesome. I am sure it was delicious as well. Your detailed instructions are terrific. I still don't think I will attempt this challenge. LOL


M.Kate said...

Hello Pat :P now this is one recipe I've got to try as we all love pizza!! I am going to print this recipe and try it soon!! Cant wait to eat it, tks a million for sharing :D

Rhonda said...

I still make homemade sourdough bread but you have my total respect!!! It looks too challenging for me to even try. For someone who had cereal for dinner, this looks really good.

Willow said...

I don't make much pizza anymore since there aren't any teenagers in the house. I was given a Trader Joe's pizza dough in the bag and I have basil and mozzarella on hand so I might just try a pizza tomorrow night--you've inspired me!

Tracy said...

Fantastic pizza, Pat! I like your toppings...I can almost smell that fresh out of the oven...mmm...Nothing homemade pizza! Thanks for the good crust recipe. Sometimes I "cheat" and buy ready-made, but do like to make my own now and then for a Friday night treat. Happy Eating...and ((HUGS))

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

Oh, wow, that looks soooo good, even though it's only 7 in the morning right now. Yum!!! :-)

Darius T. Williams said...

Wow - this is some good looking pizza...really!


Baby Vagabond said...

Oh Yummy! That looks fabtastic!

((hugs)) Rosie

Anonymous said...

We like making pizza here. I don't toss it though. The best I had was baked in a seriously old oven in a cellar in a Medieval part of a Croatian town before the war there.

It sounds like you had as much fun timing the pizza as I had with daughter's jumping. LOL

Elizabeth said...

Looks delicious!
Greetings from Manhattan.

Rhondi said...

Hi Pat
I haven't stopped by in awhile, but I'm glad I did because you have inspired me to make some homemade pizza. Yours looks yummy!

Tara said...

Wow, Pat, doesn't that look delicious! I can't decide on which side I want to try--OK, I'll take a slice of each! Yummy!


Linda Lou said...

Pat, i so miss the pizza in Brooklyn, ours i Ok here but nothing beats NY pizza!! Your pizza looks great, I like the idea of the chicken with the brocolli rab-i am making a pizza tonite with store bought whole wheat dough, some red peppers, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes and basil.

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Looks delicious, Pat!

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Looks delicious, Pat!

Lavinia said...

Pat! This looks scrump dilly icious! (not sure how to spell that!).

Can I just come over and be your taste sampler? Pretty please!?!?

Vera said...

The pizza looks delicious! I love two-in-one idea!

Joanne Kennedy said...

There isn't anything as good as homemade pizza! YUM! Toss that chicken aside and I could eat the whole pizza myself. LOL

You always make the best things!