Sunday, December 6, 2009

BBA Challenge Bread #25—Pizza Napoletana & a lesson learned

pizza slice

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:

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

pizza prep collage

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.

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. 

Pizza Sauce
 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!  

pizza toppings
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:
pizza crust 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:

pizza too thin

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.


  1. Let it be fun! I'm so enjoying your adventure, so slow down and ENJOY it too! ;)

    I can't wait to try your pizza sauce recipe! I don't usually make pizza from scratch ('cuz ya know, yeast scares me). But, I have a pizza casserole that calls for pizza sauce and next time your recipe is gonna be it!

  2. Lovely new header! Great shots of the pizza, especially the bottom and the crumb ~ yes, patience is a virtue, which is a luxury when those of us don't have time. Keep up the great work!

  3. I hear ya - sometimes it's hard when you're so pressed for time, especially around the holidays!

    Also,that pizza sauce looks DELICIOUS. I must try it!

  4. Your first pizza looks amazing! Totally hear you on stopping and enjoying the process more. That can be said for a lot of things, from cooking/baking, to other areas of life, too. Definitely a good lesson to be reminded of. Thank you for a lovely post.

  5. Susie- Thanks for the encouragement! I agree that if nothing else, this needs to be fun. Definitely give the sauce a try - and stay tuned, because on of these days I'll post my "everyday" pizza crust. I PROMISE you can do it! :)

    Frieda- Thank you! I'm struggling with the patience thing, but hope to make progress!

    Tracy- Ugh, the holidays. I can't believe how they creep up then fly by! The sauce is SO good - you'll love it.

    Allison- Well said! I think "enjoying the process" is something I'm learning here and in other places in my life. It does make things more enjoyable!

  6. Your pizza looks wonderful! Beautiful photos too! I found myself thinking the same thing about the challenge. I plan to take a break for a few weeks to start fresh in the new year. Happy Baking!

  7. I have that same thing happen to me when using the ABin% master recipe. The first day it is great and then it gets thinner as time goes on. Thanks for the recipes for the pizza sauce and garlic bread seasoning, they both look really good.

  8. I must try your pizza sauce the next time I make pizza, it sounds sooo delicious. I also find myself rushing through the BBA challenge sometimes, because I started later than most of the others and I'm trying to catch up. But you are soooo right: this is all about fun and learning how to make bread. I'll try to keep that in mind. Here's my post about Pizza Napoletana:

  9. Kelly using your pizza sauce for our English Muffin pizzas tonight. Very good and very flavorful- I love it. It's kiddy week here in BRK as hubby is out of town. 3 against 1 the kid food always wins out when he is gone so I was at least happy enough to find a really tasty sauce! Thanks

  10. Robin - Glad you liked it! I made some tonight. :) I wish I could take for the recipe, but the good folks over at Our Best Bites are the ones to really thank. I haven't used another sauce since. It's so easy and SO tasty.

  11. Hi, I tried your Lasagne roll recipe for dinner tonight and it was a HIT!!! Thanks for sharing.
    Good luck on your adventures!!

  12. Ruth - I'm so glad you tied the recipe and that it was a hit. :) And thanks!


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! Please note that I moderate comments so yours won't show up right away, but do know that I read all of them!

I will gladly answer any questions you have right here in the comments. If you would prefer a reply back via email, just let me know and include your email address. Or you can email me directly at info_kellyluna {at} frontier {dot} com.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...