17 June 2009

Comfort and Restoration: Pizza

Every once in a while it's good to do the same-old same-old a little differently. Whether it's trying a redder or browner hair colour, re-arranging the sitting room furniture or simply switching to decaf for your fourth daily cup, sometimes the slightest change can be just what the doctor ordered.

Sundays are pizza days in cold weather months. I hide indoors from the snow and wind and make the kitchen a bit warmer, at Beelzebub's permission.

Usually I vary the toppings. Sometimes it's roasted veg, others bacon and mushrooms, sometimes it's a pesto with shrimp. White or whole wheat, thick crust or thin, I just play with whatever's on hand.

Now the weather is decidedly warmer and the final frosty night of the season has passed, it will soon get too warm to continue this ritual. I will miss it. The dough is home-made--beery head of yeasty water tipped, with a raw egg into a slightly salted flour and kneaded and pummelled into submission. I've always believed that breadmaking is better than a therapy session...not only do you get to work out your frustrations, but you end up with something you can eat. What more does one want?

The season's final, official, pizza was inspired by a couple of things. Gale Gand's Torta Rustica was far too fussy to make, butthe idea of baking a pie in a cake tin still appealed. The other was Chicago-style deep dish pizza. I had some while at Blog Her '07 and since then have indulged in that partituar style via store-bought frozen pies.

Same dough recipe, same ingredients...just put togehter slightly differently. I rolled the dough quite thin and lined an oiled springfom pan with it. Next were the toppings--in this case pepperoni, mushrooms and onions, then a layer of cheese sandwiched between thin layers of stewed tomatoes. Top with drizzled olive oil, rubbed basil and black pepper before baking in a 375F/190C oven until done...

Yes, I know "until done" doesn't help the novice cook but it depends upon the depth of pan, the and the thickness of toppings.

Pizza Dough
100ml hand-hot water mixed with 0.5 tsp sugar
0.5 Tbsp traditional yeast
225g bread flour
1 egg

Bloom the yeast in the sugar water for 15 minutes, or until a frothy head appears. Mix into flours and salt. Add the egg and knead, adding more water or flour as needed. When the dough is nice and soft (like the proverbial baby's tushie), transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let sit an a warm, draft-free space until doubled in size--a couple of hours or so. After rising, punch it down and knead for about five or ten minutes and let rest for a couple of minutes. Roll out as desired.


What I'm reading:
Great Canadian Plant Guide
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1 comment:

Jannett said...

the pizza looks very good.

The book you are reading looks interesting. Have you read the Reader's Digest A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. My son Dan...loves this book. If you would like to visit his blog at http://veggiegardenblog.blogspot.com/