Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers: Pizza


Would I dare miss another round of DB.. NO! I'll admit, I was really close to skipping another month, but the guilt was starting to build. Plus, there really shouldn't be an excuse.. I mean, we only have a month to complete the challege. I remember not too long ago when I couldn't believe that people who joined DB weren't completing their challenges. I even volunteered to check blogs for those who weren't participating... oh my, how things have turned around. I guess it's a good thing I didn't end up becoming a blog checker for incomplete DB challenges or it would have been just a tad embarassing. Since I had the slightest urge to skip yet another month of DB until the very last minute, I didn't think of any cool toppings. With nothing except for zuchinni and canned pineapple, I just had to use both. I guess if I was going for something different, leftover pumpkin puree could do, but that would just be nasty.. at least I think.

DBpizza (3)

This was the second time I made pizza dough, but it was really different from the first time. I prefer how the dough in this recipe rests in the fridge overnight. That meant I wouldn't spend the day wondering how much longer it would take the yeast to work or poke at it every so often. I made my own pizza sauce using a can of diced tomatoes, some crushed garlic, basil and sugar.

Tossing the dough, that sounded like fun and it was except that I didn't exactly do it. I wanted to, but just as I slipped the dough over my knuckles and that in itself was extremely difficult to do, the dough was stretching.. a lot! Maybe there was too much liquid, but this was sticky and stretchy. There was no way, this could make it without tearing. Realistically, I don't think it was even possible to toss it at all because of how quickly it was stretching.

DBpizza (4)

I only have one pizza pan, so I decided to bake one using a nine inch cake pan. That way I could have one thin and one thick crust pizza. Both were good, but if you haven't noticed, I forgot the cheese on the thick crust. Yep, that's what happens when you're in a rush. Sorry for the bad pictures, but I was trying to get these taken before my battery died on me. Thanks to Rosa for such a fun challenge. I think next time I make pizza dough, I'm going to try and find a food processor type recipe. It would totally save me 5 minutes of freaking out while the KA bounces around the counter and makes funny noises, which I have to admit is the slightest bit heartbreaking. I can't imagine what would happen if my standing mixer broke down on me. I guess I'll just have to run over to costco and get that professional one that is even bigger than the artisan!

Rosa included a gluten free version too!
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 - 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 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast - FOR GF use 2 tsp
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 - FOR GF use agave syrup
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 inches/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.

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.


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.

DBpizza (2)


  1. nice pizza toppings. Not the usual toppings. I love pizza and this looks good.

  2. Mmm I love pizza but I've never made my own pizza dough. Yours looks delicous!

  3. I love to see what others have done with their challenge, your photography is great.

  4. For some weird, brain malfunctioning reason, I think pineapple is my favorite pizza topping. I think the tomato and fruit works for some reason :) Yup... mental.

    Anyways the pizza looks awesome. I have to miss this month (don't hit me) due to my moving and stuff... but I'll be back, there's no excuse this time.

  5. Your pizza if gorgeous. I would not have had the patience to stick to it that long for a pizza. You did a great job.

    I have something for you at my blog.

  6. Zucchini and pineapple sound like an interesting combo!

  7. Looks great. Now I'm going to be craving pizza because of all you Daring Bakers!

  8. I love that last picture. It just draws you in and makes you want to grab a slice. Looks delicious!

  9. Great job on your pizzas and they do look delicious.

  10. OOO! That pizza looks very good, and healthy too :) I just wanted to let you know that I've tagged your blog. Simply visit my blog and check out the rules, and then tag your favorite blogs! Ciao

  11. Looks delish! great job. the zucchini was a hit, I am sure.

  12. So how about the other day, my friend brought in Halloween cupcakes (from a box minus the decorating) and everyone was in awe of her. I really need to bring baked goods in more! But I feel weird announcing it to the class haha

    I still can't get over that you go to Grove City! Unfortunately, I will be at home for your Boxing Day, which is about an hour and half away. I know it's nothing compared to your drive, but I've heard horror stories of how long the traffic is getting into the outlets haha If you get a chance, swing by Slippery Rock (exit 105 on I-79)and eat at Bob's Subs on Main Street. My favorite is the chicken salad. Or the North Country Brewing Company (aka The Brewery) for homemade beer and really good (somewhat expensive) food. Like $10 a salad expensive, but then again I had portabello mushrooms and capers in my salad.

    Actually, you can peel and cut the potatoes before boiling so they aren't hot.

  13. Your pizza looks so tasty! YUM!

  14. I like the refrigeration idea so I may try this instead of my usual Jamie Oliver recipe. Did you manage the toss? I can never get that right.

    I was drooling over your TWD cupcakes a minute ago - your photos really are excellent, Steph!



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