Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dough making & pizza - a first attempt

So one of my goals for this year is to learn to make a few basic items from scratch, namely breads.  And after talking with one of the attorneys I work with, who is also a wiz in the kitchen, she recommended I start with a pizza dough because it's super easy.  And it was.  So if you're scared of bread - like I am ;) - this is a great, easy way to throw your inhibitions to the wind and dive in.

To make the dough you just start with one of those packets of yeast (I used the quick rise, although she said the kind isn't super important), add about 1 & 1/2 cups of "very warm water".  I don't know what that means really - mine was almost hot.  I know it has to be warm enough to activate the yeast - but I don't know what the actual temp is.  Then you add 2 tsp of sugar.  Now, at this point, something is supposed to happen.  I think.  Like bubbling or something.  I don't think mine ever did that - but I still got dough, so, um....I don't know what to tell you there.  (All brand new to me people - so bear with me.)  Then you add 2 tsp of salt.  And gradually stir in about 3-4 cups of flour until it just becomes unsticky.  I used a mixture of all purpose flour and whole wheat.  (That's one of the reasons baking is so intimidating to me - the basic ingredients are not that crazy, but the variety available of each ingredient is insane.)

So stir and stir and stir until your arm's about to fall off then knead it til it's nice and smooth and you get this:

A happy little dough ball!   Then let it sit for, um, about an hour or two until it rises to about double it's size.  I read online that it's supposed to feel "alive" when it's ready.  That's a little creepy, but I kind of know what they mean.  You just have to feel it.

Here's my dough ball, all grown up.  ^  Then you take it and roll it, or just smoosh it like I did, until you get the size you want.  I did it right on my pan - before you put it on, sprinkle some flour down first.  

Then you sauce it (took one 15 oz. can), and cheese it, and load on whatever toppings tickle your fancy.  I did ground turkey, which I cooked together with the onions for flavor, and mushrooms.  And that's two bags of mozzarella cheese.  Yes - I live with a cheese addict.   

Be ready to fend off said lurking cheese bandit.  He's especially good at popping up from nowhere when I'm  taking pictures.

Get super duper excited when it's aaalllmoooosttt done... (cook at 475 - our oven runs a little hot, so I didn't go for the 500 - for about 15-20 minutes)

And voila!  Your very own first pizza from scratch!  (Well, not counting the sauce.  Or the cheese.  But we're not worrying about those for a while...)

It was pretty good.  Not bad at all.  And definitely better than our usual frozen jobbies from the store.  Next time I make this here's what I'd do:
  • I'd cut the dough recipe almost in half and make the crust a lot thinner.  The crust was cooked, but it was just cooked, and didn't have a nice crisp to it like I like.
  • I'd use either a different meat or flavor the turkey differently.  Although I prefer it, there's a lot less bite to ground turkey compared to beef or sausage.  It sure is easier on my tummy, but it was hard to taste it.  
  • I layered cheese, toppings, cheese - so next time I think I'd just do cheese, then toppings to allow them to crisp a bit.
  • And I'd looooove to try a broccoli, feta, tomato pizza next!  Especially with the thinner crust!  Yum!


PoetessWug said...

It looks delicious!! Thanks for sharing. Nice post. :-)

Katie said...

Looks great! CFB would be so proud.