Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pizza Dough: I just dough'nt get it

I have tried several recipes for pizza dough over the years with no success. Now I'm getting serious. I just planted a windowsill herb garden and I cant wait to use some fresh sweet basil on some homemade pizza. So I decided to test out various recipes until I got one that worked for me. Today was the first pizza dough test using a recipe from a cookbook called "The Complete Book of Italian Cooking" by Carla Capalbo.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
1.5 tbs dry active yeast
1 cup luke warm water
pinch of sugar
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup plain white flour
2 cups of whole wheat flour

I begin by mixing the yeast with a cup of luke warm water in a large mixing bowl. I add a pinch of sugar and watch as the mixture begins to foam. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
10 minutes later, you should notice a difference.
 Next I add the white flour and 1 cup of the whole wheat flour. I like to mix the initial sticky dough ball with a rubber spatula so as to not get dough stuck all over my fingers.
Use the other cup of whole wheat flour to knead the dough. Sprinkle it on a flat surface and knead the dough until all the whole wheat flour is used up. This takes about 8-10 minutes. Kneading the dough for 10 minutes might seem like a daunting task, unless you have a bread machine, but its worth it in the final baked product. Kneading helps build gluten which gives a baked pizza crust good texture. I do not have a bread machine so I did it by hand.
Once your done kneading, shape the dough into a ball and transfer it into a large oiled bowl. The dough needs plenty of space to rise. The dough will typically double in size. Let the dough rest in a warm spot for 50 minutes. Cover the bowl with a moistened towel to keep a crust from forming on the dough.
50 minutes later and the dough has risen. It is done if you touch it with your finger and the indention stays in tact.
Next I punched the dough back down and placed it on a floured surface for 5 more minutes of kneading. The dough is now ready to be used for a pizza. However, I planned to make the dough ahead of time to be used the next day. So I covered the bowl with a dampened towel and placed it in the fridge. Tomorrow I plan on using it to make a mozzarella cheese, Roma tomato, and sweet basil pizza. I'll post the results of the pizza crust obtained from following this recipe later.

Day 2
I took out the dough and let it rest at room temperature for about an hour. This helps to soften it up. I like a thin crispy crust so I cut the dough in half, and used half of it to bake my pizza. The other half I put back into the fridge after I covered it with a moist towel. I took out my rolling pin and rolled the dough very thin and spread it over a medium pizza pan.
I spread some tomato sauce made with pureed tomatoes and seasonings onto the crust followed by sliced Roma tomatoes, lots of mozzarella cheese, and basil. Then I drizzled olive oil over it.
Next, I placed it in the oven at 475 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
Looks great, and tastes OK. I was going for restaurant quality pizza and this missed the mark by just a bit. The pizza crust tasted more like a foccacia bread crust to me. Also, the tomato sauce did not have a "fresh" flavor, probably due to using canned pureed tomatoes. Next time I want to try making a dough without whole wheat and make my tomato sauce from scratch, possibly in a slow cooker?

Until Next time.

1 comment:

  1. looks delicious, super good instructions too, followed!