Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pizza Variations

It was pizza that started my bread baking adventures. I wasn't satisfied with the frozen pies such as Freschetta and the flat bread crusts at the supermarkets were more topping platforms than integral parts. When I compared recipes for pizza dough with bread dough and saw little if any difference, I was off to the races and mixing it up with the flours.
Last week I tried using some rye flour for the bench flour when kneading the Neapolitan style dough. That worked out well and yesterday I took it a little further in the interests of discovery. I used 10% rye flour in the dough, added about 30g of my starter that uses 10% rye, and used rye again as the bench flour.
While baking the pie, I started with 10 minutes at 475F. However, I took the pie out of the oven rather than just rotating the pan and placed it in the broiler section. I expected the oven to kick in to bring the temperature back up after I closed the doors but nothing happened so I just turned the desired temperature up on the control with the idea that it would start the burners. That did do the trick. The results were to add some char to the cheese on top and take some of the moisture out of the toppings. I frequently use sliced roma tomatoes for toppings and previously, I would have to deal with excess liquid oozing out when I sliced. No such thing happened this time.
I used a perforated 14" pan yesterday and using the broiler worked but left me with a small detail to work out. The bottom crust wasn't as well done as we like. The pan doesn't quite match using a screaming hot stone but does a reputable job. The next pie I do will have to cook longer in the oven to get the crust right. Unless I moderate the application of cheese, it may seal in the moisture from the tomatoes. So far, my alternative methods are to put sliced mozzarella on the dough and then top or to sauce, add other toppings, add cheese, and then sliced tomatoes.
I could always delete the tomatoes but this is pizza, a perfect food; you got your carbs in the crust, some meat protein, dairy from the cheese, and the tomatoes are vegetables. When you add the crushed red peppers, you've got a slice of a well rounded nirvana that sustains rather than a merely indulgent finger food. There is a difference.
This week's breads haven't lit the baking world on fire or earned a glamor shot. The loaf that came out of the oven this morning used Dakota Maid bread flour instead of Hudson Cream AP. Using similar recipes, I've got to say that the bread flour worked out better giving me a better oven spring rather than spreading out as much. I also went up to 30% WW flour which should've been a factor in the shape but was a non issue. Next week I plan on picking up around 30# of DM flour in Omaha and that should hold me in good stead for a while. DM AP flour is as strong as KAF AP so I'll grab 10# in Omaha.
I haven't done anything exciting in the yard this past week due to tweaking my lower back. I've resigned myself to going to a PT Clinic to learn stretching exercises to minimize the chance of this back problem recurring. Sitting inside in pleasant weather, thinking about stronger meds to alleviate the pain is no way to spend a retirement. I want a second childhood, not a life of shuffling from point A to point B. Good health will help me live that.
A few pictures may appear next week.

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