Ah... pizza—my favorite food, ever since I can remember. I think I could eat it every day, so I was looking forward to this recipe... sort of. WHAT? I know, sounds silly given that I just said it was my favorite food. I think the (self-inflicted) pressure of the challenge caught up with me on bread #25, Pizza Napoletana.
I'm baking my way through Peter Reinhart's award winning book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice, along with 200+ other amateur bakers. Want to join in the madness, or just learn more about this semi-crazy undertaking? Check out the following links:
- Pinch My Salt BBA Challenge page—master resource for the challenge
- Buy the Book Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
- List of Breads See what's coming up.
- Blogroll See who's baking. Great list of some amazing foodie (and not-necessarily-foodie) blogs.
- Flickr Group Photos, photos and more photos!
- Twitter Search for #BBA to find challenge tweets.
This pizza dough is another 2-day bread, with divided portions of dough spending the night in the fridge waiting for proofing, shaping and baking. I made half a batch, which resulted in 3 approximately 6 ounce mounds of dough
As had been the case with a few of the other breads, I was pressed for time and made the dough Sunday night, hoping to have pizza for dinner the next night. The problem is that I can't predict how long I'll have to work and I ended up working late Monday night. I didn't start Pizza Prep until almost 7:30pm and it needs 2 HOURS to proof. Hmm... dinner at 10:00 pm — doesn't sound good to me. While I waited for the dough to proof, I made the pizza sauce.
I stumbled on this recipe a few months ago and haven't used any other since. It's super simple, super delicious and freezes great.
by Our Best Bites
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
6 oz. water (just use the empty tomato paste can)
3 Tbsp. garlic bread seasoning*
1 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional) Kelly's note: I LOVE the flavor, "bite" and heat this gives the sauce
Empty tomato paste into a bowl and add water a few tablespoons at a time, stirring constantly until combined. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and allow to stand until ready to use. Covers two average-sized pizza; freezes extremely well.
*Garlic Bread Seasoning:
combine the following ingredients
1/2 c. powdered Parmesan cheese (Kelly's Note: I've used fresh grated when I've made a small batch to be used right away)
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. marjoram
2 tsp. parsley
Store in a jar (preferably one with a sprinkle top) in the fridge.
I let the dough proof for only about an hour and 15 minutes, very hungry and wanting some pizza!
Here's what I put on mine. Peter Reinhart suggests using minimal toppings because more toppings makes the crust harder to bake. I exercised restraint and here's what mine looked like.
It might not look like I was conservative with toppings, but I LOVE a lot of sauce and cheese on my pizza, and my usual crust can take it. But I reigned it in here.
I had the pizza stone preheating in a HOT oven and slide the parchment and pizza all on the stone. I was worried that if I didn't use parchment, the pizza would stick on the peel and turn into a big ole mess. I tested the limits of parchment yet again, and managed not to catch it on fire.
Not bad! It looks like pizzaria pizza! Check out the bottom:
It looked good AND tasted good. Hooray!
But things went horribly wrong the next day. See, I only made one of the pizzas on Monday and had 2 left to bake the next evening. Once again, I made it home late and this time I rushed it even more. I think I let the dough rest about 20 minutes before I shaped, topped and baked it. I used the same toppings and this is what I got:
A cracker thin (not in a good way) crust that was tough and decidedly not right. It was edible, but suffered greatly from the rushed prep.
This is when it hit me that I was just going through the motions to check another bread off the list. "Hold on," I told myself. "Why are you in this challenge? Just to say you did it, or to actually LEARN something from it, too?" It was a bit humbling and more than a little eye opening.
So I decided that I needed to slow down when it was necessary and do this right. I had a little less than half the challenge to go and I needed to do it right, avoid just going through the motions and pay attention to WHY I was doing this. It shouldn't be a chore, something to slog through.
I've been reminding myself of this as I've made bread since. I haven't baked every weekend because the timing hasn't been right. Plus I have to catch up on blogging! I still have two more finished breads to share with you then I'll be back on track. Bear with me while I find my way along this adventure.