Thursday, March 18, 2010

now or later pizza

I've made homemade pizza a few times recently with fair-to-middlin' success. I mean, it's pizza, right? Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good. Tonight, I made a different recipe - the KAF Now or Later Pizza dough - and it was pretty good! I liked the taste, and the texture was almost there (I'll tell you about it below). Not only that, though the dough was extremely sticky, the baked crust slid right off the parchment. Last time, I lost the bottom of my crust to the parchment paper. The best part of the process was being able to live chat with a baker at KAF when I was concerned my dough was too sticky. They have people on the other end of the Interweb during business hours just to answer your baking questions! How awesome is that?

The crust has simple ingredients and comes together really fast. Let it sit on the counter to rise for 45 minutes before chucking in the fridge to "develop flavor" for the next 4 hours. You can leave the raw dough in the fridge as long as 3 days. Next, you par-bake the crust, which then resembles an underdone Boboli shell. Again, you can pause here: wrap the cooled crust and refrigerate it for 5 days or freeze it for up to a month. Or, keep going, and make yourself some dinner!

In rereading the recipe, I just realized I forgot to let the dough rest again on the cookie sheet after stretching it out, before par-baking. Oops. I don't even know if that made a tremendous difference, though next time, I'll obey the rules.

OK, let's make pizza dough.

Now or Later Pizza
(Makes two crusts)

1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) flour
1 1/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) semolina*
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pizza dough flavor (optional; I omitted it)
1 teaspoon instant yeast**
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/8 cups to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

In the bowl of your mixer, place the flour, semolina (if using), pizza dough flavor (if using), dry or proofed yeast, salt, olive oil, and about 1 cup of water. Mix all the ingredients together, and if it looks dry, add a little more water. I think I added too much at once, and mine was really sticky. Knead by hand or using the dough hook until the dough is soft and smooth. The advice nurse said it shouldn't stick to my fingers, but it was okay if it was still pretty soft.

Allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes, covered, before placing it in the fridge for 4-36 hours. When you're ready to bake, remove the dough and divide it in half. Roll or stretch the dough out until it's fairly thin - approximately a 12" circle. (I made a rectangle because I suck at stretching out pizza dough. It tasted fine.) For what it's worth, I stretched one piece of dough by hand and rolled out the other with a rolling pin. I sprinkled flour on the surface of the dough wherever it was sticky, and that seemed to help. I like to think I'm not intimidated by yeast doughs, but I do get a little worried when the dough is sticky and seems blobby.

Place the shaped dough on a piece of parchment paper. I don't recommend a silpat; I'm pretty sure they can't bake in an oven hotter than 450F. You want your oven to be 500F or as close to it as you can (my dial only goes to 450). Let the dough rest for 30 minutes while you heat the oven; 60 minutes for thick crust. If you have a pizza stone, throw it in the oven as well; if not, use a cookie sheet. You want the crust to get nice and crisp on the bottom, and that's where mine fell short. The edges were great, but the center, under the toppings, was soft. I should have baked it 3-4 minutes longer and used my pizza stone.

Bake 6-7 minutes or until it's starting to get a little color. If any big bubbles form, pop them with a toothpick or cake tester. If you're going to eat now, remove it from the oven and top with your favorite sauce, cheese, and other goodies. Return to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.

If the crusts are for another night, pull off the parchment, cool completely, wrap, and store in the fridge or freezer. You won't even need to defrost the shell when you're ready to make pizza; just top the frozen shell, place it on a parchment-lined or oiled baking sheet, pop it in a 450F oven, and bake.

*If you don't have semolina, just use a total of 3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) flour
**If you use active dry yeast, it's probably a good idea to proof it: in a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over a few tablespoons of the warm water and a pinch of sugar, then throw that in with the rest of the ingredients.

(Sorry, no pictures tonight!)


Sandra Dee said...

Did you use your own sauce or store-bought?

What other toppings did you use?

How long did the whole process take?

I'm just full o'questions this AM....

And, yes, I was looking for the pics, too :-D They serve as my guide to recreating the I'm there eating with you (but calorie free w/ zero WW points).

jami said...

@SandraDee: I did it in waves, so I don't know how long the whole thing took. Maybe 10-15 minutes to put together and knead the dough, then 10-15 minutes later on to shape the dough and get it into the oven. Obviously there were wait times in between.

I made one cheese pizza with store-bought pizza sauce for the kids. The second was Thai Chicken: I sauteed some chicken, shredded it, stirred in some peanut dipping sauce I made earlier this week (peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, water, I forget what else but that's basically it). I put in some matchstick carrots and sauteed for a minute. Topped the pizza with fresh mozzarella, sliced thin, then the chicken, then some very thin slices of red onion.

Sandra Dee said...

Yum. Both sound good.

I know you have an awesome recipe for pasta sauce, but wasn't sure if you had one for pizza....or if it was one and the same.

I'm going to try this sometime....if I ever find the box with the pizza stone in it! That should be in a few years at the rate I'm at...

gwyn said...

For a slightly different pizza, try this one:

The dough is super soft and wet. You don't knead it but rather slide it around (there's a ton of olive oil on it, which helps with the sliding). You bake it in a free form rectangle on a sheet. It's fairly easy and fast, for a yeasted dough. Plus, Pizza Mike approves.

I love bread dough.