29 October 2008

Daring bakers

Two days work, two days work, in a heap on the floor, arghhhhh!

The Daring baker's challenge always comes around quickly, and reveal day, where the months challenge is announced is always a exciting day.

This months challenge is very poignant to all Daring bakers, old and new, as this challenge was to be co-hosted with Sher from What did you eat, Glenna from A fridge full of food and Rosa from Rosa's yummy yums. Sher sadly passed away this summer, a dear loss to all Daring bakers.
Glenna has also left the Daring baker's due to personal reasons, so Rosa is now hosting alone.
In memory to Sher her chosen recipe is this months challenge, and a exciting choice it was too.

This months challenge is 'Bake your own pizza's like a real pizzaioli'. To make our own real pizza dough, the recipe chosen was "Pizza Napoletana" from Peter Reinhart's "The bread baker's apprentice"

The challenge: to make your own pizza dough, and try the tossing method for at least 2 of the bases. Try to get a photo of the dough tossing in action.
The rules: To make pizza dough as stated in the recipe, a pizza sauce and topping. You must use both sauce and toppings but have the freedom to use whatever sauce, ingredients you wish.

I must confess, in a tiny little voice "I don't like pizza" yes, I know, I know, I am the strangest person to walk the earth but it just doesn't do it for me....or my children who also will not eat pizza. However I was still looking forward to trying this recipe as I do often make pizza for my OH.

The recipe given yields enough dough for 6 pizza bases, I halved the recipe to make three, I planned to make 2 pizza's for the challenge (one for my OH and a sweet version for me and the kids) and freeze the remaining dough for a rainy day.

While I am confessing I also have to admit I failed miserably in the dough tossing photograph challenge, I only had a seven year old nearby to take the picture and the results weren't good, lol.
The full recipe can be found on Rosa's blog

The dough had to be made over a two day period, on day one the dough was made in a mixer, kneaded by hand, split into balls and placed in the refrigerator overnight. I loved this dough, it was a little sticky but not gloopy, it was a very silky dough...if that makes sense.

On day 2 the dough is ready to be used, and then the fun starts.

Exactly two hours before you need to use the dough you must remove it from the fridge.

The dough had to be sprinkled with flour and shaped into disks, covered and left for two hours.
45 minutes before baking a pizza stone needs to be heated in the oven, as hot as the oven gets.

To toss the dough, generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with cornmeal, flour your hands.
Take 1 piece of dough, 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.
When the dough has the shape you want, place it on the back of the jelly pan making sure there is enough cornmeal on it to stop the dough sticking to the pan.

I enjoyed tossing the dough although it was a little scary at first. It nearly ended up on the floor a few times. The dough shaped really quickly and gave a thin centre and thicker edges, which concerned me a little.
Now to get adventurous.

I used one piece of dough to make a sweet pizza, along the lines of a danish pastry. I spread the dough with apple puree, and covered the pizza in cubed, blanched apples. Sprinkled the apples with slivered almonds, butterscotch sugar and cinnamon and baked in the extremely hot oven for 5-8 minutes. After cooling the pizza slightly I drizzled with glace icing.

This sweet pizza was heavenly, absolutely divine. I adored the pizza crust but the centre was awfully thin and fragile, and couldn't cope with the liquid that came from the fruit. I decide to combine my two remaining dough balls to make a larger pizza for the savoury version.

I found it much easier tossing the larger dough portion than the smaller one, it thinned out more evenly.
For my savoury pizza I used a basic pizza sauce, this one comes from Jamie Oliver's book "Jamie's Italy"

Tomato sauce:
extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
a bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked
1 x 400g tin of good quality plum tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a saucepan, add a splash of oil and the sliced garlic and cook gently. When the garlic has turned light golden add the basil, the tomatoes and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cook gently for 20 minutes, mashing the tomatoes until smooth, then taste, season again and put to one side.

I made this pizza to my OH's tastes, authentic it ain't.

I spread the sauce over the dough, sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese, add sliced mozzarella, peperoni, sauteed onions and a sprinkling of oregano. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Then it happened........the pizza emerged from the oven and I had to stop OH from eating it until it had it's photo taken....the batteries were flat, every other battery in the house wasn't powerful enough for the camera. With a "do not eat that pizza!" warning, I raced to the shop, raced back and got snapping. Pheww!

OH tucked in and announced this pizza was fantastic, delicious, passed a slice to his friend, friend agreed....delicious, passed a slice to friend number two, yep, still delicious.

Then, bang, whilst helping him self to a second slice, OH miss judges where the table is and my delicious pizza is a mangled heap lying on the floor.

It was one of those super slow motion moments, I could have cried, so could the boys, they were all really hungry.
So, I am asked " how long will it take to make another one"
I answer " two days...."
the boys "eh?!?!"
I loved this challenge, it was great fun. Would I use this recipe again, I'm not sure, the recipe is good, works well and is delicious but two days for pizza dough is a little much for me.
Thanks to Rosa for hosting this months challenge and don't forget to check out other pizza's on the Daring bakers blog roll.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What lovely pizzas! Very well done!



Victoria Sponge said...

My husband would love that pizza too Erica! They don't care about autenticity, just that it has loads of cheese and pepperoni! It looks gorgeous! xxx

kat said...

Oh no your hard work all on the floor! what a shame. You sweet pizza looks fabulous but we had the same issue with the thin crust.

Rosie said...

Your pizza looks absolutely delicious Eric - well done!!

Rosie x

Dana McCauley said...

Nice final results even if you did have tossin' troubles.

Kelly-Jane said...

Your pizzas look great, I do like pepperoni on pizza :)Yum!

Sophie said...

A danish pastry inspired pizza sounds delicious, two tasty foods in one :)!

Ally said...

Both look great! I love they way the melted cheese looks on the savory, yum!

Bumblebutton said...

Awww...and to think that the dough made it through the tossing part and only fell on the floor later! Your sweet pizza sounds divine. Nicely done!

Alexa said...

Great pizza! That sweet pie looks like a wonderful treat.

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

Sorry to hear the pizza ended up on the floor - sounds like the sort of thing that would happen to me. Both look absolutely delicious :D

Lynnylu said...

Too bad about the pizza hitting the floor, but it's a memorable event. The danish pastry one sounds great! I love your tomato sauce recipe.

Coby said...

I love the idea of your sweet version:) I am sorry, while it is of course such an unfortunate thing to lose the pizza to the floor, the question about how long to make another - and the answer being 'two days' cracked me up:) You did a stirling job, especially as you're not a fan of pizzas yourself - well done Erica:)

Anonymous said...

Good job on your pizzas. I lost a ball of dough and so I couldn't make my apple pizza - bummer, yours looked great. I actually pre-cooked my apples (in anticipation of making the dessert pizza) and got rid of some of the extra moisture, plus I ensured they were cooked all the way through.

pixie said...

Apples look good on your dessert pizza! you're not alone in losing a ball of dough... =)

The Blonde Duck said...

It looks wonderful to me! I love the sweet version.

Simona said...

Stuff happens. I like your sweet version: an interesting take.

Glenna said...

Yummy--love the idea of the sweet pizza. That would be a huge hit at my house!

Maria said...

Erica those pizzas look so delish!


Linda F said...

Lordy Erica, that pizza looks gorgeous! And what a great idea to make the sweet one, I have made them too and am a convert!