Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dueling Pizzas

My boss gave me a recipe for pizza dough, so I thought I'd try it out.

In anticipation I invited a friend over for dinner.

Since the dough takes several hours to rise, chill, and then thaw, I wanted to do part of this ahead of time. My first attempt failed miserably. The dough never rose.

After consulting with my boss and my mom (who makes bread all the time), they advised me to put the dough in a warmer place. The next night I mixed everything up and put the batch on top of my radiator for a few hours. It seemed to do the trick, but unsure of how it should look and might taste, I asked my friend to buy some back up dough at the store.

When she arrived, we decided to make both pizzas because we were hungry and we wanted to see how they would compare to each other.

As we heated up her pizza stone in the oven, we sauted sweet potatoes and onions, spread them over the homemade crust, and covered with rosemary, sage, garlic, crushed red pepper, and mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Since the stone was so hot, it only took about 12 minutes before it was done. Here's how it turned out. Free to sing along or hit mute.

video

As the homemade crust cooked, we prepared the store bought dough with the same ingredients, plus a few heads of broccoli left over from some pre-dinner snacking.

Oddly it took on the shape of the state of Massachusetts (without Cape Cod).


Ten minutes later, we were ready for the taste test.

The homemade pizza looked the part. Imperfectly round, the pizza looked straight out of a wood-burning oven set in snow covered mountains.

The pizza had lots of flavor, especially garlic and cheese. In fact, I think we over-cheesed. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The crust, made with whole wheat flour, was chewy with a hint of honey. The taste was natural and unprocessed.

Aside from its likeness to the Commonwealth, the store bought pizza had a more polished, professional look. The dough was like a fluffy pillow with a sweet taste.

The flavor in the rest of the pizza was more subtle. The ingredients seemed more evenly distributed with fewer concentrations of garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.

To sum up, they were both winners.

And so were we, since we got to eat them.

Pizza Dough [from my boss]

Put 1/2 cup warm water, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 teaspoon yeast into a small bowl or cup and mix. Let sit for approximately 10 minutes.

In a separate bigger bowl, add:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Pour yeasty water into mix, knead with hands or mixer, cover, and let rise for 1/2 hour or longer. Refrigerate dough, still covered, for about 2 hours

An hour before you're ready to eat, remove dough and let stand in room temp for about 1 hour
It is ready to be flattened, topped, cooked (at 450-degree oven) and eaten.

*Potato, Sage, and Rosemary Pizza [from epicurious.com]

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces unpeeled small Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into very thin rounds
1 (13.8-ounce) tube refrigerated pizza dough (or homemade)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 cup (packed) grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add potato slices in single layer. Sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes. Cool briefly. Unroll dough on rimmed baking sheet. Scatter potato slices over dough, leaving 3/4-inch plain border. Sprinkle with rosemary, sage, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Sprinkle with cheeses to cover. Bake pizza until crust is crisp and cheeses melt, about 20 minutes. Using metal spatula, loosen crust from sheet. Slide out onto platter or board and serve.

*Variations: We preheated oven to 450 degrees for almost an hour with the pizza stone inside. It was so hot the pizzas cooked in 10-12 minutes. We also subbed sweet potatoes for the Yukons and added onions and broccoli.

4 comments:

L & M said...

Was that a Schmeegal singing???

Rachel said...

tee hee, i heard you snark online!

Alison said...

massachusetts, indeed! nice recounting, linds!

mom said...

if you buy an oven thermometer you can make sure your warm water is in the neighborhood of 110 degrees (or even a little more). for my bread i put the dough in a covered bowl, then into the oven which has been slightly heated to low and then turned off - to take the chill out.

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