Friday, 31 October 2008

Tossing the dough

Daring Bakers October challenge was making a real pizza dough. Well, I must say it I wasn't too excited about it and in the end it reflected on the result.
I have been making a pizza quite frequently myself. I never toss it and throw it, but try to get it on the pan in some more modest way and in the end the result is yummy.
I followed the recipe of the dough and all. I didn't have anything exciting for the filling, busy, busy life, no time to shop. So I boiled a tomato sauce that I usually make for pizzas: crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, Provence herbs, salt. Pepperoni slices and cheddar mozzarella grated cheese mix.
Tossing was a disaster, didn't work for me, dough got stuck on my hands, so I just spread it on the pan stretching it towards the sides.

Cheese got a little burned :(

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.

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).

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

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.


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).

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.

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.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

Perhaps it was my not excited attitude towards October challenge that influenced my final result or my busy lifestyle, who knows. In the end I wasn't happy with the result, it came out too greasy. As I said I have been making pizzas before and it seemed to me that this dough took more oil than the recipes that I have been using previously. Or maybe the cheese that I was using was with higher fat content, I don't know.
Oh well, eventually it was eaten and hungry bellies were thankful for Daring Bakers pizza challenge.


Anonymous said...

You can't always like the challenge. My first challenge I absolutely hated, but, still it is a nice feeling to know that you did it. This way, you can go back to your original pizza dough recipe, knowing it is the one that you like best. I am impressed that did the challenge anyway, and your pizza looks really good.

Aire & Joao said...

Exactly. That's why its a challenge. No matter what to try it out :)