Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Daring Bakers: Pizza Dough

Ah pizza. It's hard to find someone who doesn't enjoy the stuff - a bit of nice dough, rich and fragrant tomatoes, melty tasty cheese...to not like one ingredient is difficult, to not like all three when they're combined is nearly criminal. Even though the A&N household had a recent forray into pizza-making, we went down that road again for a good cause: this month's Daring Baker's challenge, set by Rosa of Rosa's Yummy-Yums.

The dough recipe was one from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice, a tome that is loved by those in-the-know for the fantastic bread you can get from it. Peter's pizza dough called for you to make the dough mixture and then retard it in the fridge for at least 24 hours to help give the dough a more rounded, ferment-y flavor while keeping its crispness when rolled out and baked.

Following the recipe, I found the dough got quite wet before I had even added all the suggested water. I like baking bread, but don't feel I've quite cracked it yet, and often become concerned that my dough is too wet and end up adding more flour. I've tried to resist that dislike of having wet dough stuck to my fingers, stuck on the countertop, and riding up to my elbows, and just knead the love and suppleness into the mixture. Although my instinct told me this pizza dough was too wet, I carried on with it, kneading it and putting it into the fridge as directed.

The too-wet dough stayed too wet, and the 24 hours of resting it did in the fridge transformed the 6 unique dough balls into 6 suggestions of separateness. However, dough is resilient and it still baked up well and, once topped with the sauce, cheese, and extra goodies of everyone's choice, it was adored (as evidenced by the picture of the lone leftover slice, cheeseless and languishing on its plate the day after our dinner party ended). I'd be interested in trying the recipe again with better moisture balance, since I still prefer my normal pizza dough method but know that Peter Reinhart normally gives good results and he's a master I should pay attention to.

13 comments:

Courtney said...

i couldn't resist the stickiness I think i added a bit too much flour to firm it up, wasn't very sticky. glad it turned out okay and you tried it out.

maybelle's mom said...

Interesting. Ours was not too wet. I wonder if it was about the mositure content in the flour.

Sophie said...

It looks like your base turned out pretty well in the end (I've seen a few that look rather crunch!)

Love seeing everyone's pizza efforts with the different toppings - they're all so different!

Andrea said...

Your pizza looks great and sounds tasty! I always start out with the precise measurements per Reinhart, then sprinkle in a tablespoon or two of flour while the mixer kneads it. The end result is slightly sticky but not tacky (clinging to my fingers) as Reinhart describes.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I've had the most problem with adding too much flour! I'm getting better now and I think it's because I've done a number of really wet doughs. Andrea is saying it right, the words are slightly sticky but not clinging to everything - the hard part is getting that translated into out fingers, brains and behaviors. Takes time, I'm still working on it.

Looks like the pizzas made a party!!

Jenny said...

I like the picture of the dough in the pan, they look like buns getting ready to go into the oven and I love warm, fresh buns. :-)

Jeanne said...

I think that's why I don't bake bread - I fear that I have no instincts whatsoever for how the dough is supposed to feel/behave! Glad your pizzas turned out well despite the moisture misgivings - the proof is in the pic, as you say!

hanne said...

That lonely slice looks quite appetizing! I had some moisture issues too--it's hard to know how wet is too wet.

chou said...

Mine was a bit too wet, too, but worked out nicely. In a sticky sort of way. :)

UK Foodie said...

Your pizza looks really good, haven't made one for ages - could really eat one right now though!

Leigh said...

Pizza is a lifelong test that will always have you searching for perfection - that's why it's so good. Keep up the good work!

Elra said...

Helo,
It's my first time here, but will visit again...
I agree that that the dough was a bit wet, I had to add a bit more flour ( I always tend to adjust recipes), but I think yours look delicious.
Cheers,
Elra

Jamie said...

Lovely! I love making pizza dough (verys sensual and soothing) and homemade pizza. And I must buy myself this Peter Reinhart book that everybody is talking about!