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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge: Pizza Dough

I missed last month's challenge (crackers) but was happy to squeeze in October's challenge, especially since it was my first savory challenge plus my first time to use yeast in a recipe. Today is the post date and I just squeaked in this recipe last night!

To start, I had a few "problems" but nothing to do with the recipe. First, I left my camera's photo card at work so I had to pull out the old camera, so hopefully the pictures turned out OK! Second, our furnace seems to be on the fritz but only with me, so it was 55 in my house all evening because I couldn't get it to turn on! (Until The Husband came home at 9 when the first pizza was ready, then he did the same maneuvers I had except the furnace turned on for him!!!) That was just extra stress though cooking the toppings and having an oven at 500 degrees did warm up the kitchen area eventually. Lastly, I'm not sure if it was the oven or the pizza stone but they smelled up the house at that high of a temperature... it did not affect the flavor of the pizza and maybe this is something that wouldn't happen again. I'd still make pizzas but maybe with a furnace working so I can open a window. :)

The recipe wasn't too difficult - it was from "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart.

4.5 cups chilled flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups ice cold water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar

flour or cornmeal for dusting

See Rosa's blog at Rosa's Yummy Yums for more details about this recipe!

The directions were for a 2 day process - Day One included mixing the dough and then splitting it into mini balls (I chose quantity of 4) and putting in the fridge to rest. Day Two included molding them into discs, letting them rest for 2 hours and heating up the pizza stone and prepping your toppings before baking.

I have tried using my pizza stone in the past with those stupid Betty Crocker pizza crust mix packages (just add water) but I had all sorts of trouble with my pizza peel and the pizza sticking, etc. I don't think I was preheating the pizza stone and also I was putting on too many toppings, and not using cornmeal underneath the crust for easy removal, plus it was store-bought crust, so that was probably the problem.

I did get a chance to try tossing the pizza doughs, as the challenge recommended to capture on camera, if possible (with three of the four... the first one I quickly realized the dough stretches so quickly so I didn't get a chance to throw it with the camera ready). Here is a collage of the last three tries...

Since I was alone, finally I learned how this old camera's timer worked (flash-flash-flash-flash-longflash-THROW!) on the last try, but then I hadn't floured my hand enough and you can see it sticking to my right hand. This caused a mishap with the dough and there just wasn't enough flour in general, so I ended up with a strangely shaped fourth pizza... but that was OK with us. (see picture of L-shaped pizza below) Lesson learned! Like I said, the dough stretched so easily that I only got one toss per dough... maybe it was because I had bigger pizzas than the original recipe (they said make 6 smaller ones)... or maybe my "discs" were too big.. they were about 7 inches or so, as it rested for 2 hours before baking.

For my first real pizza dough trials, I only had a chance to prepare for two different topping combinations. I made two styles of pizzas:

#1 homemade marinara (from Sopranos cookbook), crumbled fennel sage sausage, mozzarella/provolone mix, and red onions.
#2 barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's and Sticky Fingers), leftover chicken enchilada filling (seasoned, green salsa with cream, and corn), red onion and mozzarella/provolone cheese
The BBQ / Mexican Chicken pizza was a huge hit with The Husband, it was a great twist on the typical BBQ Chicken Pizza. The Green Chicken Enchilada recipe blog will be coming soon... that was another great dish (and why I had leftovers of the filling!)

I am looking forward to trying some roasted red peppers, a mexican pizza, and other fun toppings for use with my next time around with this dough. Maybe I'll make a sweet one with sliced apples, spices and brown sugar! This is a great recipe to keep around and when we have kids, I hope to have a "pizza night" tradition like so many of the other bloggers seem to. This dough tastes great and mine turned out a bit like "New York Style Pizza" - crispy and chewy crust and thin and floppy elsewhere. It was yummmmy. My topping combinations turned out great, too!!

This was a great challenge and I am glad I have tried this recipe. Thanks to Rosa of Rosa's Yummy Yums for hosting this challenge! I am so excited to have a great pizza crust recipe on hand! Also, I'd like to try this recipe on a grill - and maybe even for a "make your own pizza" party, which seems like a lot of fun! Thanks again Rosa!!!


  1. I love your pizzas they look delicious and your tossing photos are fantastic

  2. You toss like a pro! Well done!

  3. Wow, you had more than one challenge making this pizza! Your toss pictures are great. Your pizzas look fantastic. As an aside, the key to getting your pizza from your peel to the stone is TONS of cornmeal. Way more than you think you need. And always make sure you can move your dough around before you put on any of your toppings. Your pizza stone should be fine as long as you keep it in the oven while you preheat. I never remove my stone from my oven. Probably way more advice than you wanted. Still great job on the challenge.

  4. Thanks for all the comments!! I'm glad that I was on the right track (Even though I still haven't gotten all the cornmeal out of my stove yet... it just got everywhere!)

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