Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge for October - Pizza Dough

I am so excited to post my first Daring Bakers Challenge that I can hardly stand it!!!

I've tried some recipes for Pizza Dough and this one is definitely a keeper. I was so nervous just about thinking tossing my pizza and had to wait for my husband to be home so he could capture that on a picture... well, I waited for the best day, he was there, I was stretching the dough but no big toss flying in the air from my side! I'll keep trying... I promise, I still have two more dough balls in my freezer!

The whole recipe is for six, 6 oz. dough balls. I made it that way and used only 4 of them and froze the rest. We didn't make any adventurous flavors as toppings but I have to say it... they turned out REALLY good! The dough (I think I stretched it a lot on my first three pizzas, oops!) was very thin but had a really nice texture. The fourth pizza I made the next day it was FAB, I mean the crust was nice and crispy in the bottom and had an excellent consistency.

Making the dough was a delight. It took only a few minutes to get the dough mixed and made into this little balls and then I had to let it rest for a couple hours before i put it back in the fridge. So, if you work, that is a really good thing if you want to prepare it in advance.

This months Daring Bakers challenge was brought to us by Rosa's Yummy Yums and is in memory of Sher who shared this idea for a challenge with Rosa a few short days before she passed. Be sure to check out the Daring Bakers blogroll to see the rest of the Daring Bakers pizza creations.

So, here we go!

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.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

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).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

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

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

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.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.


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).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

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.

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.

During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping. In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully, then try again.You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

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. Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes. After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

(This is our own version of CKP Club --you bake the dough with the cheese and bacon and chicken (I didn't put chicken on this one), and after is done, you top it with fresh tomato slices, lettuce and mayo mix and avocado slices... you won't regret it, I promise!--)


Satisfying my Sweet Tooth said...

I ALMOST did the CPK club pizza because it's my favorite! Yours truly looks delicious! Congrats on your first challenge!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your first challenge! Your pizzas look mouthwatering.

Mary said...

I made the same pizza... :) It's one of my favorites as well.

Cheers on your first challenge.

Lynn said...

Congratulations on your first challenge. You did an excellent job. Your pizzas look fabulous. I am impressed.

Anonymous said...

The dough is great, isn't it? At first, I thought a two-day pizza dough recipe was crazy, but it came together so quickly, I think it actually took less total working time in the end than a one-day dough.

Eat4Fun said...

Welcome to DB! Very nice job on your pizzas!

Lisa said...

Your pizzas came out perfect, classic and just like they look from the GOOD and authentic pizzerias. Great job!

Angie Davis said...

i just read this after i commented about the king arthur recipe - they are very similar!