Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quest for Perfect Pizza

We've all been told of the importance of having "the right tool for the job."

Jeremy got his first late birthday present yesterday--the perfect man-tool he's been dreaming of. It didn't require charging a battery pack, buying gasoline, or an extension cord. That's because it didn't come from Home Depot.

It came from an online culinary supply source. (I love my husband and his unique hobbies.) Here he is opening his very own. . .

Pizza Peel! Yeah a nice 36-incher. Not a wimpy-sized one with a short handle like I mistakenly tried giving him for Christmas.* This is a pizza peel fit for man-handling!

Coincidentally, when Tyler and Mindy stopped through last weekend they gave him an early birthday present:

Great minds think alike- or at least know what Jeremy likes. Look how well the gifts coordinate.

Apparently we're going to be eating a lot more pizza around here.

Now I just have to work hard manning my defenses against the next "tool" Jeremy is convinced he needs to create The Perfect Pizza-- a brick pizza oven in our backyard.

In my defense in trying to be a good wife I did buy him this book on our family trip to Nauvoo.

At least he can be fully educated on the subject before running off without abandon ordering 2 tons of bricks to be delivered to our backyard.

*No my Love, I am not still holding your reaction to my Christmas gift against you. In my defense, the store only sold wimpy-handled peels, and If I had planned ahead I would have seen that, and known to order it online. But I didn't plan ahead, and as you received this birthday gift two days late it's apparent that I did not plan ahead this time either! However, you finally have your man-worthy peel and I hope you love it!

To anyone interested in trying a new pizza dough recipe:

Note: To the serious pizza connoisseur, the secret to good pizza dough is more about a philosophy than a recipe. In the classic Napoli-style pizza, this philosophy involves long-kneading for significant gluten-formation, a long(at least overnight) slow rise in the refrigerator to develop the flavor, a rest to relax the dough and allow you to toss to a nice thin crust, which when baked (on a stone) in a extremely hot(500-800 degree) oven crisps nicely on the bottom in a short amount of time(6-8 minutes) while remaining chewy on the inside. This recipe is not for the faint-hearted. It is involved and intense; however, your efforts will he hugely rewarded we definitely recommend it.

Pizza Napoletana from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
  • 4½ cups unbleached bread flour, or all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • ¼ cup olive or vegetable oil (you can omit if you use AP flour)
  • 1¾ cups ice-cold water
Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast. Mix in the oil and water on low speed until the flour is all absorbed. Mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes to create a smooth, sticky dough. (It should clear the sides but stick to the bottom.) Transfer dough to floured counter. Line a sheet pan with lightly oil-misted parchment or a sil-pat.

Cut the dough into six equal pieces (or larger if you are comfortable shaping larger pizzas). Lift each piece and gently round it into a ball. Transfer dough balls to sheet pan and mist generously with oil. Cover sheet pan with a plastic cover or food-grade bag. Put the pan in the refrigerator overnight to rest the dough, keep up to 3 days. (You may also freeze, thawing a day ahead.)

Remove the dough from the refrigerator 2 hours ahead of time. Gently press the dough into flat disks about ½ inch thick and let rest for 2 hours. 45 minutes ahead preheat oven as high as it will go (not broil). Place baking stone in the lower third of the oven to preheat. Generously dust your pizza peel or the back of a sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal. Toss and gently stretch dough to about 9-12 inches in diameter, lay it on the peel or pan, making sure there is enough cornmeal to allow it to slide. Top the pizza. Slide the pizza onto the stone. Bake 5 to 8 minutes.



Ashley said...

Oh my goodness! I can't believe my eyes. I would have thought I was reading a post I wrote! Alan has this dream of building a brick oven in the backyard and having pizza potlucks! We eat SO much pizza!

Thanks for the nice comment. I can't believe how much I enjoy having to make this difficult decision. I'm grateful there's even a decision to make! We are considering coming out there for a visit. Do you think that would be a good idea? If we do maybe we could all have a little pizza party! That would be fun! (probably more for the husbands! although I would looove it!)

the MomBabe said...

Hey! You won the DVD. Email me your address so we can get it sent out!


John and Becky Bowler said...

How fun. I LOVE PIZZA!!! I'm going to try out your recipe. It looks good. :)


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