Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike. -John Muir

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pizza Dough

Good pizza is hard to find here in the southern adirondack park. But with a little patience and a few speciality cooking items it isnt hard to make (and most of the time, it comes out way better then you can get elsewhere!) The dough can be used to make pizza in the oven (or on the grill), calzones, it is delicious deep fried with sugar and cinnamon.. yum

speciality cooking items you need:
-cooking scale
-pizza stone (optional)

Good dough takes three days to make, but can be used 1-2 days after.

The first step is to create a ferment (or poolish). The ferment will add TONS of flavor to the dough and also makes it turn rich in color when cooked.

To make-a the ferment:
-combine 350 grams bread flour ( better yet high gluten flour) with 14 ounces of water and a pinch of instant yeast.
-mix, tightly cover, and set it on the counter for 12-18 hours

this is what it looks like after 12 hours:

To make-a the dough:
-to the ferment add 1 teaspoon instant yeast, 200 grams bread flour, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt.
-fully combine

-Turn onto the counter

-The dough is going to be very sticky but do not add any more flour. although it makes working the dough a little more difficult, the moisture in the dough is going to make the crust soft and spongey instead of dense and dry.

-the kneading technique is going to be a little different than how you would knead a pasta dough. its more of a scoop-and-flip-over motion.

-after about 10 minutes the dough will start to come together and come off the counter more easily. at this time add a little flour to the surface and drop the mass into a bowl, cover securely and place in the refrigerator over night.

-take the dough out a few hours before you plan on cooking.

-gently deflate the dough and divide it and form 3 balls.

-you can now cover these balls on the counter with a cloth and proof them (a little under double in size) or you can put the balls into 3 separate containers and put them back in the fridge to use at a later date. or you can freeze them.

Cooking in the oven:
-preheat the oven and stone to 500 degrees
-form the proofed ball into desired pizza thickness and shape
-place corn meal or semolina flour on a pizza peel or the back of cookie sheet (this allows the pizza to slide off easily during the transfer onto the stone) and plop the pizza dough the peel or cookie sheet.
-put on your toppings and transfer the pizza to the stone
-cook until the crust has a nice dark color

Cooking on the grill:
-form the proofed ball into desired pizza thickness and shape
-brush a little oil on the top and flip it onto the grill oil side down
-when the bottom has crisped up, add oil to the other side and flip. (under cook this side because you are going to cook it again later)
-take it off the grill and apply the toppings to the "crispier" side
-put it back on the grill on a lower heat cook until done.

Fried dough:
-take the proofed dough and cut into 1 inch cubes or strips and drop into 350degree oil until golden brown
-sprinkle with powdered sugar, dip into maple syrup, or coat with cinnamon and sugar

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