Ahh, pizza. On my list of the top 5 favorite foods, I would say pizza is either number 1 or 2 on the list. If you asked me any day of the week what I wanted to eat for dinner and I could have anything I wanted, chances are good it would be pizza. Hot, melting mozzarella, perfectly seasoned sauce, light, crispy and slightly chewy crust, garlic, any manner of cured meats – how can you not just love something like that?
I was really excited when Rosa of Rosa’s Yummy Yums announced this month’s challenge was Pizza Dough – hand tossed, no less. My mind started dancing around ideas for pizzas. The challenge left a lot of room for interpretation of your final pizza, as long as you hand tossed the dough and used some kind of sauce.
Unfortunately, this month has been so busy, I just couldn’t get to the challenge until the end of the month. That’s just not the best way to do things – being rushed is a recipe for some kind of failure. And, failure is what I experience (at least, in part).
It wasn’t a monumental failure, things just didn’t go how I had planned. First, tossing the dough was an exercise in futility. The first one started really well, but it wasn’t getting big enough. I finally had to resort to kind of letting the dough fall over my hands as I rotated it to get the right size, shape and thickness. Second, I thought I had liberally dusted the pan with semolina, and I was just going to slide the pizza right onto the hot stone in the oven. It wasn’t to be. The pizza would not move from the pan. So, I ended up baking it on that pan, which took twice as long as the recipe called for, resulting in a new delicacy – blackened sun-dried tomatoes. These tomatoes look like they were sun-dried on the surface of the sun itself. Thankfully, even burned, they actually tasted good, hey, maybe I’ve discovered something I may try again. Third, one piece of dough just wouldn’t work for me. I had split my dough into 4 pieces and froze 1. I pulled out 3 for the evening.
I had planned 3 pizzas that night. We were having guests and I decided, against my better judgment, to violate one of my rules about baking: Never try a new recipe on guests, always test bake it at least once first. Well, this was the only night I had available, and the guests were added after I made my plans. Soooo, they get to by my guinea pigs.
For the savory pizzas, I made a simple pizza sauce I’ve used before. Pizza #1 was topped with mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted chicken breast. Pizza #2 was topped with mozzarella, turkey pepperoni, sliced mushrooms and sliced olives. So, back to problem #3 – one of the dough balls just wouldn’t work at all for me. It tore, it formed a weird shape. I let it rest and tried again, same problem as before. I let it rest once more and it wouldn’t move, it was all seized up with gluten. I tried to roll it out with a pin, but it wouldn’t budge. I finally, out of desperation, trashed that piece of dough – I just didn’t have time to deal with it.
My dessert pizza was going to be a caramel apple crisp with a cinnamon cream cheese sauce. I think it would have been great, and I’ll probably try it again sometime, but I just couldn’t get to it that night. Unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately), I had already sliced up 5 apples and sautéed them with butter and brown sugar. Now I had this pan of nicely cooked apples in a sweet buttery sauce and no dough upon which to which to mount my culinary creation. But, this post is about the Daring Bakers, so if you want to see what I did with this, just scroll down to the next post or click here.
All in all, this challenge was only OK for me. I really wanted to like this challenge, but I just didn’t have the time, the patience or the technique to do it quite right. My guests were pleased and they ate up the 2 pizzas I did make, along with my dessert ‘punt’. The dough wasn’t quite to my taste, though. It just wasn’t quite the taste and texture I like. While pan pizza isn’t my favorite (I prefer a thinner crust), I do really like this recipe I’ve used before.
You’ll notice that there is no photo of me tossing the dough. Because of the last minute guests, I didn’t have another set of hands available to photograph me tossing the dough. Sorry to bug out on that one. I did try it, though I made larger pizzas and the dough kind of fell apart. One other problem. I’m 6′ 1″, and my ceiling is just a bit higher than 7′ – it doesn’t leave much room for tossing – the whole time I pictured a moment that might be like something out of an old I Love Lucy show – either pizza dough stuck to the ceiling, or draped all over my head.
Thanks again to Rosa and the Daring Bakers for the challenge. It was a fun one. I’m looking forward to checking out all the other DB creations out there, I can’t wait!!
I’ve posted a copy of the recipe for the dough and the sauce here. Click on any of the photos below to view a larger version.
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