Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Oh Pioneer Woman - please forgive me.
Remember how I told you I followed the recipes to a "T" for the homemade pizza dough smackdown for the sake of keeping things fair and square? Well I did...up until the baking part for the Pioneer Woman's dough.
For some reason I felt possessed to cook Ree's on a pizza stone versus the baking sheet like she advises in her book. I don't know why I did this. Actually I do know why. I was suffering from a bad case of over confidence since Rebecca's dough had slipped off the peel so easily like an Ambien-infused supermodel. Over confidence does not belong in the kitchen. It can cause house fires, personal injury, and epic spousal eruptions (once after I cut my finger slicing fresh mozzarella I looked at my husband and screamed 'F@*k! I HATE cooking!!' The poor guy hadn't done anything but breathe yet he fell victim to my wrath.)
So there I was the other night assembling a pizza which had rolled out easily enough right onto the peel. Only when I went to move it, there was trouble. That pizza wasn't going anywhere. I put it in the fridge for a few minutes thinking this would help. It did but not much. At this point I should have realized this was bad-idea.com and used the baking sheet. But that would have made too much sense so instead I messily transferred it onto a slip of parchment paper scattered with cornmeal. This will do it, I thought, and even if it doesn't I can just put the parchment right onto the stone. After all parchment is meant for baking. Right?
Sure enough, I tried slipping it off the parchment and onto the stone to no avail. That pizza was like an old school breast implant - it wasn't going anywhere without surgery. Moving onto my backup plan (patting myself on the back while doing so) I put the whole kit and kaboodle onto the preheated stone and shut the door.
It took about two seconds for the smoke to begin billowing around inside the oven. It seemed like it took me no less than 45 years to lunge for my oven mitts and rip the door back open to retrieve this inferno-in-waiting. Since it literally had been in there for mere seconds I thought I could use my spatula to get it off the parchment safely onto a baking sheet. Nope. That pizza had already devotedly welded itself onto the paper.
Any normal person would have chucked the whole thing into the garbage but I was out of cheese and I've told you before how I feel about going to my local grocery store (I've actually been screamed at by one of the checkers for asking if the raspberries were on sale. She also threw a pencil across the register at me but that's another story) so I wasn't about to give up now.
I picked it up like it was a wet cat and flipped it over onto the baking sheet. In the process it kind of fell over on itself in a goopy mess - the majority of it thankfully parting ways from the paper. I almost started to cry seeing the carefully hand sliced salami and fresh mozzarella recklessly piled within the gooey mess. And then I realized something. It kind of looked like a calzone (actually more like a pizza cobbler - or even like a half-developed alien embryo...just see above picture.) But if I told Kris I had intended to make a calzone he just might buy it...
But he was onto me.
"What is that?" he asked (rudely I might add) when I pulled it from the oven.
"A calzone..." I said as if it was the most obvious given on earth like rain or grass or babies.
He looked anything but psyched as he tried the first bite. But he ate it then another and another. And so did I. In fact we couldn't stop eating it and as we did, I couldn't help but think something that made just about negative sense. This dough is better than Rebecca's! Even cooked incorrectly and flung around and reshaped and cooked again it had that complex, yeasty flavor I had been looking for. It was delicious. Addictive, even.
Despite all the odds - Ree won the pizza smackdown!
I will say that her dough isn't as easy to work with as Rebecca's - it's wetter and will stick so you can't have it out of the fridge for too long before you're ready to bake it (nor can you use hers on a pizza stone) but if you age it for a couple of days like she says to it's hard to beat. I want some right now.
Well done Pioneer Woman! You wrangled the hell out of that pizza dough!
The Pioneer Woman's Pizza Dough
1 teaspoon or 1/2 packet active dry yeast
4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1. Pour 1 1/2 cups warm water into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water.
2. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
3. With an electric mixer on low speed, drizzle in the olive oil until just incorporated.
4. In a separate bowl, gently stir in the yeast/water mixture.
5. And drizzle it into the flour/oil mixture. Mix until the dough forms a ball. (You can also mix by hand until it comes together.)
6. Drizzle a little olive oil into a clean bowl and turn the dough over in it to coat it in the oil.
7. Cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel (I used paper towels) and set in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours. After the dough has risen, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3 days (it freezes well too) or proceed to the next step if making right away.
8. To prepare the pizza, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
9. Divide the dough in half. Lightly drizzle olive oil on a pizza pan or rimmed baking sheet.
10. Using your hands, stretch the dough to the desired shape, pressing the dough into the pan with your fingers. The thinner the better. The surface of the dough should be lumpy from finger marks (Ree says this holds the toppings better this way.)
11. Pay the desired toppings over the dough and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges of the crust are golden brown.
12. Again If not using all the dough right away, you can freeze it for up to 6 months, thawing in the fridge again before using