Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers October Challenge!

Challenge post time! I almost forgot it was posting day, but I didn't. The challenge this time was pizza. The challenge part was that we were supposed to give doing it classically a go- as in *bounce bounce toss spin spin toss.* I was pretty good at the bouncing, but the tossing- not so much. I did love the recipe though, and have made it three times.

The first time I made it I made the full batch and six pizzas, as is suggested in the recipe. They were for my sister's birthday party, and I didn't get a picture of them fresh because of the hustle and bustle. This is the only picture I got, of the meager remains. They were all topped with red sauce and mozzarella, and then each had different toppings including pepperoni, red pepper, onion, mushroom, tomato, and combinations of those.


The second time I made it I made a half-batch and made three pizzas which were eaten by my surrogate family and some of my friends. No pictures were taken then, but pesto, tomato, and fresh mozzarella donned all three.

The first two times I made them also I didn't do the refrigerate overnight thing, I just let the dough rest at room temperature for two hours and it worked beautifully.

The last time I made it, it was with pesto, grape tomatoes and mozzarella, and I actually got whole pizza photos. The last time I made it I split the dough four ways in stead of six, made two pizzas and six rolls. Also I actually did the refrigerate over night suggestion, which I thought actually made the dough less agreeable.



Here is the recipe, the only difference is that I used active dry yeast in stead of instant, which requires using warm water, dissolving the yeast in the water, then adding it plus the oil to the flour/salt. I edited this a little from what was given to us.:


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 flour
1 3/4 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp instant yeast 

1/4 Cup Olive oil or vegetable oil

1 3/4 Cups Cold Water
1 Tb sugar 
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal



1. Mix together the flour, instant yeast, and salt in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes.

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 in the fridge, let the dough rest overnight or for up to three days, OR


8. Rest two hours if refrigerated, one if fresh

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.

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. Bake for abour 5-8 minutes.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven; wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving. 

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