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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

pizza pizza!

This month's Daring Baker Challenge is PIZZA. as in making the dough from scratch and even tossing/spinning it. it was hosted by Rosa of Rosa's Yummy Yums. i started this challenge on Saturday and baked on Monday night. i only made one pizza, some bread sticks from the dough and the leftover is in the freezer. this challenge was hard for me only because my counter space is so limited. i also don't have a stand mixer, just a simple handheld one, but i do have a dough hook. my dough seemed kinda ... too soft. so when i tried to toss it, it was not pretty. on top of that, my camera battery was waaaaay low. i had to make sure i had a snap of the finished pie, as well as enough juice to upload the pic. awesome. not my best food pic. but i did want to say i at least tried.


Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.
Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches in diameter).

4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces) Unbleached high-gluten bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled -
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast -
1/4 Cup (2 ounces) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces) Water, ice cold (40° F)
1 Tb sugar -
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting


1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.
The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F

3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil (a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.


8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.
During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping.
In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.
You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches in diameter - for a 6 ounces), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

jab loved it. i went just basic pepperoni. what with making the mini apple pies concurrently, i just wasn't inspired for much beyond that. personally, all that work for just pizza? it makes me wonder if all those pizza joints make their own dough, and exactly how many they make at a time, or have a stash of. fresh from the oven, the dough was soft and crispy but then as it cooled, it got hard.

i still have a few balls in my freezer that i'll use up. not sure if there's anything i can do about the softness of the dough, and if i'll be able to toss it properly next time around.


thanks for hosting Rosa!

to view more challenges, check out the blogroll.


  1. I think your pizza looks delicious, great job!

  2. I think your pizza looks great. I know how hard it can be not having a big kitchen. It makes baking and cooking really difficult.

  3. I think it still looks fab. I didn't use a mixer at all... just with a bowl, spoon and my hands. you should try it like that if you ever try it again, it's fulfilling. especially if you have frustrations you need to take out. <3

    don't you love when your love loves your food? :) haha

  4. I think your pizza looks delicious!

  5. did a great job..tossing takes awhile to get the hang of it...

  6. Your food pic looks better than mine. You did a great job.

  7. Pizza always looks good in pictures, but yours is making my mouth water.

  8. This looks seriously delish! those pepperonies are baked to a crispy perfection. Just the way I like them.

    I'm drooling now!

  9. thanks kristen and kirby! maybe my next yarn gathering i'll make pizza for the broads! :)

  10. Your pizza looks great! Don't camera batteries bite, they never seem to be charged when you need them. I hope you have better luck with tossing the batch in the freezer.

  11. Your food pic looks better than mine. You did a great job.