Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tossing Pizza as tribute to Sherry

It was a sad challenge for the Daring Bakers this month because one of the hosts died suddenly Sherry of http://www.whatdidyoueat{dot}typepad{dot}com and the other host decided to quit the forum for personal reasons. So it only left Rosa's Yummy Yums to do the hosting for this month. Sher had shared her recipe from “Pizza Napoletana” from Peter Reinhart's “The Bread Baker's Apprentice” which yields a beautifully tasty, thin, crispy, yet chewy pizza crust and as a tribute it was chosen.

It is a delayed raising (cold fermentation) bread that is kept in the refrigerator (up to three days) to improve the texture taste and chewiness of the baked dough.

THE CHALLENGE: You have to use the tossing method (as explained below) for at least 2 Pizza Crusts. If you are not comfortable with it, then you can switch to the rolling method, but you HAVE to try the traditional method and exercise it, using at least two dough pieces. You should also capture the moment by either filming or photographing yourself while tossing the dough.

Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.

Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).

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


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 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.

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.

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 abour 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.

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 did a semi-dried tomato, spinach, Italian sausage and soft mozzarella curd, the sauce was roasted garlic/red capsicum (bell pepper) pestoSemi-dried tomatoes with roasted garlic.

I chose marinated feta cheese, mushroom, garlic and semi-dried tomatoes as my topping the sauce was white-wine reduction. I like my piazzas crusty and using a baking stone and high temperature really are the keys to success - it makes the base very crispy.


Anonymous said...

Your pizzas both look delectable!

Vera said...

I love your chosen toppings! The pizzas must taste fantastic!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, great tossing! Your pizzas look wonderful! I particularly like the dried tomato one... Nice job!



Ruth said...

Your toppings sound fantastic and I love the tossing pic!

Cristine said...

Your pizzas look delicious! Great job tossing!

Y said...

Great pizzas! I should try this with a baking stone one day.

Medhaa said...

Looks yummy. U tossed great

Anonymous said...

Your dried tomato pizza looks so delicious! Nice tossing skills :)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Mmmmm...both of your pizzas look so delicious! You make the tossing part look easy -- it scared me!

Dewi said...

Very scrumptious looking pizza, look like you manage to toss the dough. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Your pizzas look amazing! It is so fun to see all the different toppings people are using.

Anonymous said...

I'm loving that first pizza with all those toppings. It looks delicious! Your other pizza looks great, too. Wonderful!

Alpineberry Mary said...

Nice photo of the tossing action.

Anonymous said...

AHA!! A pic of ya throwing the dough! You aren't a figment of my blogging imagination!!!Those pizzas look delicious.
It's also too weird...we both made Roasted red pepper pesto pizzas topped with feta....
while our minds are thinking alike, could you toss some of your brain cells my way..please???
And to think...I had dried tomato in the pantry....

glamah16 said...

Wonderful. I wish I had roasted some garlic.

Big Boys Oven said...

wow such beautiful pizza just drooling looking at those toppings! well done!

Anonymous said...

White wine reduction as a sauce for pizza, now that is my kind of pizza!! Sounds delightfully decadent!!!!!

Eat4Fun said...

Great job on your pizza and the tossing! The roasted garlic looks great... Actually, both pizzas look great!

Anonymous said...

The tomatos I have are dried...did you soak yours in something first to soften them...wine??
I will post the salami recipe soon...we made ours part venison as that is too dry to use on it's own and found out a few new things...we've onl;y been doing this for 20 years...always learning!
I lOVE crossword puzzles, reading, I like the word association idea..also a good way to post a new blog story, huh???
Trapper says I use up brain cells using my brain so much!!
I LOVE my crossword puzzles!

pixie said...

wow! the first one sounds wonderfully overloaded with flavor!

Anonymous said...

i'm jealous of your tossing skills! even though i burnt my pizzas, i DID have fun doing it, and you're right - that is the point. your pizzas look amazingly delicious, especially the one with the marinated feta! yum!

Maggie said...

The white wine reduction as a sauce on the feta pizza sounds wonderful!

Chou said...

Great tossing! The semi-dried tomatoes sound really good.

Anonymous said...

Great choice of toppings!!

Penny said...

OMG those sundried tomatoes and roasted garlic look sooooo good!
I love your tossing picture:)...you look very serious.

Anonymous said...

I remember you being the first one to post in the completed challenges topic. Wish I could've posted a tossing pic like you!

Venus ~ Vi said...

Your toppings have some of my favorite things and it looks delish!

Faery said...

Wow these pizzas looks delicious.
Yes Audax i am from Venezuela I was born here my mom is Venezuelan and my dad is italian :D

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