Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Time to Make the Pizza Dough...

I love making pizza at home. I'm a thin pizza crust junkie. But I'll tell you a secret, when I make my pies at home, I buy the dough. Shhhhhh. In fact I haven't made pizza dough since my dad's Italian kick circa 1989. Until now...

It all started with a visit to Slice, one of my favorite food blogs. Adam Kuban, pizza blogger extraordinaire, posted about his own rekindled interest in at-home pizzamaking. Reading about Adam's experience with Peter Reinhart's Napoletana Pizza Dough Recipe inspired me to try out the recipe on my own at home.

First step was finding the instant yeast. I called D'Vine Taste, one of my favorite specialty shops in Park Slope, and sure enough they had it in stock. I've only ever used the active dry yeast that comes in little pouches. The lovely shop owner told me that they use the instant yeast in their bread at the store and assured me that it keeps well--which is a good thing because the recipe only uses 1 teaspoon of instant yeast and the package I bought has 1lb.

Armed with yeast and the recipe, I was ready to get started. Mixing up the dough in my Kitchen Aid was super easy and before too long I had a nice springy dough. I cut it into 6 pieces and laid it on an olive oil misted parchment covered baking sheet. Like Adam, I didn't have a "food-grade plastic bag" so I wrapped the baking sheet in plastic wrap and then wrapped the whole thing with a large clear plastic recycling bag and sealed it up with packing tape and put the tray in my refrigerator.

The next evening when I checked my dough I was pleased to see that the little dough rounds had expanded a bit. When I buy the dough from my local pizzeria, I usually make 3 thin crust pies out of 1 large ball of dough and the stretchability of the pizzaria bought dough varies widely. This dough, however, was really easy to stretch. And I was able to get the crust super thin without tearing. Nice!

I had a few guests over for dinner (Blondie was supposed to come but she couldn't make it--sniffle), so I made all 6 pies: including a couple plain pies (for any non-New Haven natives, a plain pie just has sauce and grated cheese--in this case Pecorino Romano--no mozzarella).

Since I had a willing group of testers, I decided to go a little crazy and make a potato pizza. I've been thinking of making a potato pizza for awhile and when I saw the Stilton in the cheese case at D'Vine Taste, I had my inspiration. I sliced three medium sized red potatoes in my Cuisinart Food Processor then pre-sauteed them in a frying pan with olive oil and garlic. When it came time to assemble the pizza I layered the potatoes in an overlapping pattern and crumbled Stilton on top and finished it with a sprinkling of rosemary. DELICIOUS! I had thought about adding crumbled bacon but I ran out of time. Next time I will definitely go for the bacon. I think it would be a nice additional savory note on the pie.

Last, but certainly not least, After my recent trips to Di Fara's I decided to try to make a pie in tribute to Dom. I bought San Marzano tomatoes for my sauce, buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil. I even drizzled a touch of olive oil on top. All and all, pretty darn good. Most of my guests agreed that it was their favorite pie of the night. Next time, I'll make sure that I have some Grana Padana to sprinkle on top (I only had Peccorino Romano) and while I did drizzle extra virgin olive oil, this was my cooking grand Olive Oil from Trader Joe's. I might upgrade to a fancier olive oil.

Thanks so much for the recipe recommendation, Adam! I'm excited to make my next batch of pizza and the next.

For more pizza pics, check out: Pizza I Have Known and Loved (and Made).


tracyfan said...

OMG BSG! I so want that pizza right now!!!


Brownie said...

Next time you visit the city, Carrie! :)