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Pizza - Daring Bakers Style

Written by: Georgina Ingham | Posted 29 October 2008 16:21

Maybe in a past life I could have been a Pizzaiolo (or maybe that should be Piazzaiola as I’m a female?), anyhow a pizza chef; now if that was in Italy I reckon I’d have been one very happy woman.

Not that I’m bragging or anything but I’m so pleased with the pizzas I make, they always get a really good response and I’ve heard comments like “Wow! You must have bought those they look wonderful”, “Oh they’re like I ate back in Italy on holiday”, and simple “Mmmms”, okay that’s enough of singing my own praises, so onwards to the point of this blog post.

It’s Daring Bakers time again and this time the challenge has been set by Rosa and Glenna who had been working with Sher before her sudden death last July.

In Sher’s honour Rosa and Glenna decided to submit the recipe chosen by Sher, which I feel is a lovely tribute to her. Now for the chosen recipe (but I know you’ve already guessed it) — pizza!! The recipe is taken from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Making Classic Breads with the Cutting-edge Techniques of a Bread Master(Peter Reinhart).

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Making Classic Breads with the Cutting-edge Techniques of a Bread Master(Peter Reinhart) is an absolute stunner of a book, especially for the experience bread baker, dealing with lots of different types of dough from a standard basic white bread to continental breads and sweet dough too. Another bonus being that it contains lots of stunning photo’s, giving the home baker an idea of what to aim for when dealing with an unfamiliar bread.

Back to the pizzas, I made too toppings — one a shrimp and clam, the other a simple cheesy garlic bread.

Pizza is the perfect food for a night in with ‘the girls’, a quick supper when a full meal is not wanted and in essence the ultimate in Italian ‘street food’ but not just any pizza will do; for me at least it must be a true Italian pizza. I say Italian because I’m not overly fussed if it’s a Neapolitan version or a Roman version, both being subtly different from each other simply by the thickness of the base but to be truthful there really isn’t much in it. I have no time for the thick, spongy bases passed off as ‘deep pans’ (not that I’ve ever eaten a true Chicago deep pan so maybe I’d change my mind but still I don’t think I could ever think of it as a proper pizza) or the sad specimens passed off in many a supermarket and fast food chain with their ‘cardboard’ bases and dodgy toppings — and no I don’t just mean the quality but the combinations too, there are certainly some weird ones out there.

As part of the challenge we had to toss the dough – great fun but very messy, to begin with at least. I soon got the hang of it though and found it great fun, I also thought the dough was slightly lighter than when I’ve rolled the dough in the past. As for getting a picture of me in action it was nigh on impossible; I was doing it home alone (apart from a very over excitable Irish Setter who insisted on trying to join in – not a pretty sight I can tell you especially when I was trying to keep him out of the way of the flour due not only to hygiene but his gluten allergy) and there was no way I could get my camera set up on timer to capture this, I’m sorry Rosa.

Reinhart’s recipe gave for a lovely crisp edged base with a centre strong enough to hold the topping without being overly floppy and doughy but maybe that comes with using a pizza stone too, something I find essential.

The flour I used was ‘tipo 0’ which is what the Italians would use, a flour stronger than plain flour but not so strong as regular bread flour, does that make sense? If you can’t get it I’d recommend 2/3 plain flour to 1/3 strong flour to get a similar strength and protein content.

I’m not convinced however that leaving the dough in the fridge overnight is a necessary step in getting good pizza or just a good time saving method, it didn’t seem to have any effect on the overall taste of the dough or consistency of the pizza.

A fabulous challenge, thanks guys! Do check out other Daring Bakers efforts by going to the blogroll here.

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