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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pizza #1 - thin crust, using Lahey's dough

I used Lahey's recipe for the dough, but not his technique for cooking, nor his ingredients for toppings.  Guess you could say I wimped out.  Lahey's pizzas look terrific.  But I was going for something a bit more familiar to me.

I thought the dough was pretty dry. It was getting to the stage that it had some bubbles, but I don't think that it doubled. It could have benefited from a bit of oil in the bowl and roll the dough in it, like Reinhart suggests for many of his breads, so the ball of dough doesn't dry out as it expands.

As many North Americans do, I put far too many toppings on the pizza. I know this.  I'm going to try something different soon.  One of Lahey's authentic recipes, perhaps.  Since Lahey's pizza calls for the use of only half of this dough, I still have half of it in the fridge, so I can try making it correctly in a couple of days.

For my toppings I've got:
  • pizza sauce
  • wild mushrooms
  • sundried tomatoes
  • olives
  • medium cheddar
  • gouda
  • olive oil
  • oregano

I preheated my pizza stone, something I have never done before, and I doubt I will ever do it again.  Placing the dough on it was difficult: this is a very thin dough and it both tore and bunched up in various places.  It takes enough time to put all the toppings on the dough after you put it on the hot stone, the dough is already starting to cook.  So the dough is going to be extra crisp even as you are putting it in the oven.

The final pizza was cooked in less than 15 minutes.  I had to take it out at that point, because it was setting off the fire alarm.  I guess some of the exposed sundried tomatoes were starting to turn to charcoal.

The taste was okay.  However, even my wife (who wanted a typical pizza, and nothing strange) said that I overdid it on the cheese.

She liked the thin crust.  But I should have backed off on the toppings. 

Notes to myself:
  • Less is more, when it comes to toppings.  Learn to accept a single theme, and try it out on your pizzas, like Lahey's mushroom and onion, or his potato pizza.  Don't try to make it taste like everything, or it all just muddies on your palette.
  • Don't bother preheating the stone.  The dough will cook faster than the ingredients in most cases.
  • Lahey says to make sure you put more wet toppings at the edge of the pizza, where it is more likely to burn.  Try this.

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