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Friday, August 13, 2010

Pizza #9 - Button mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes

Button mushrooms, peppers and tomato Pizza

I didn't really expect much from this particular pizza, so I wasn't disappointed.

I was working nights and my wife was working late.  We weren't going to see each other, but I thought I would make her a pizza on my new pizza stone I had just purchased.  Unfortunately, I didn't have any dough ready.  But the baking stone had a pizza recipe on the card inside the box, so I just whipped that up when I woke up.  I could finish making the pizza before I left for work, but I wouldn't have time to eat any myself.  Maybe it would give me some brownie points though, with the significant other, I thought: she has been working hard all week and is tired when she gets home, too tired to make anything to eat.  So I set to work.

I chose the Danesco Baking Stone not for any other reason other than it was available and was the right size.  I fully expect it to fail me like all the other stones have.  I have been researching some firebrick, though, and now that I know where to get it, I hope to get some this weekend.

Here is the Danesco Stone Basic Pizza Dough recipe, along with the weights I measured when I used it:


1 tbsp active dry yeast (12 g?) or 10 g Instant dry Yeast (about 2 tsp)
7 oz lukewarm water (198 g (210 mls, or 7/8 cup)
2 3/4 c all-purpose flour, plus 1/3 cup for kneading ( 350 g)
1 tsp salt  (3 g, kosher)
1 tbsp olive oil (15 g)


Disolve yeast in water and let stand for 5-10 min.
Stir together flour and salt and pour yeast mixture into it; mix and then knead, perhaps 10 min until smooth and elastic.
Let sit covered until double - perhaps 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat pizza stone to 450 degrees F,
Shape the dough on a cornmeal dusted pizza peel, top it with fixings, and slide it onto the hot stone, baking for 20 minutes.

Thoughts on my Experience:

A couple of things I noticed:
1. Hydrating the instant dry yeast (IDY) without giving them some sugar to get active is pretty pointless.
2. The oil isn't really used in the dough, it is more for lining the bowls that you let the dough rise in.

I wasn't really interested in this dough since it is all-purpose, and the reason I blog about breads and pizzas is to consciously get my whole grain vs processed grain consumption up.  But there were time constraints and I wanted something my wife could eat when she went home, and she isn't as particular as I am about eating whole grains.

I didn't really follow the method at all.
I did give the yeast a surface sprinkling of sugar, but this was just a pinch (less than 1/4 tsp) and so I'm sure it didn't have all that much of an effect.  I didn't really wait the suggested 5 minutes anyway, and I don't think you have to with IDY anyway.
I didn't wait 1 1/2 hours to get this dough to rise.  It was double in about 30 minutes.

At that point, I thought I would just shape the dough and put the toppings on it.
I used the double-baking stone, barbecue method I've been developing.
This means, no pizza peel: you put one stone (the old, cracked stone) on the barbecue and the pizza goes directly on the cold stone, and you put the cold stone onto the hot stone when you have preheated the barbecue to 700 degrees or more.
In my experience, on my barbecue the preheating takes 15 minutes at max with the lid down.
Baking takes 14 minutes, and then the pizza, on its stone, is removed from the BBQ and the crust continues to crisp as it is in contact with the hot stone.

I used the olive oil to coat the stone, before putting the dough on it and spreading it out with my fingers.  But this was a new stone, and I was amazed at how the oil soaked into the stone.  It never really did get slippery.  My older stone did.  I suspect that the oil soaked into this stone just because it is new, but I don't know.

The fixings were ordinary, except for the whole mushrooms.  That was an experiment.  They all had cheese on them, so they baked without burning.

The dough with its fixings was ready for about 30 minutes before I was ready to turn on the BBQ, and I noticed that the dough continued to rise and get puffy.  You could even hear it popping as the yeast made CO2.  I suspect that this, even more than the fact that the oil on the stone soaked into the stone rather than making the surface slippery, was the cause of the pizza sticking to the stone so badly.

Other than this problem, the baking went off without a hitch. 

The next day I chiseled off a cold slice that my wife didn't eat.  I found the dough (or was it the fixings?) far too salty. 

There are much better dough recipes out there.

Notes to Myself
  • This dough is awful.  Too salty.  Too plain.  Uninteresting.  Not whole grain.  Throw it out entirely.  
  • Try making a nice Whole Wheat pizza dough. Or try a sourdough whole grain pizza dough. The Farine blog recently had one that looked interesting.
  • Do not let the dough sit with fixings on it, if you want a thin, crispy crust.  Put the fixings on as soon as you spread the dough on the stone, and then put the pizza right in the hot BBQ.  Waiting will only make the dough yucky -- in this case, I think that is what made it stick to the stone.
  • I was afraid that the edge of this pizza would burn, since I hadn't put thin mushrooms around the edge like I did on those other pizzas.  But it turned out okay, the edge didn't burn: but was this because the dough sat out a bit longer, and rose a bit, so wasn't as thin as the other doughs?
  • The whole button mushrooms worked -- but then, neither of us ate this pizza piping hot, so there was no chance for us to burn our mouths on these big mouthfuls of burning fungi.
  • See the last pizza I made for full times and instructions.

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