Think for a minute about how awesome it would be to have a guest post today. Maybe I'm just excited because it's about pizza and I have been craving pizza. Or maybe it's because it just looks so damn tasty. Jonathan is back today with a story about making pizza at home!
Every so often, my sister justifies her own existence. It’s rare, but it does happen. A few weeks ago, I was over at her apartment when I discovered a pizza stone in her oven. I peeked behind the cupboard racks to find a pizza peel. This little discovery just happened to coincide with a New York Times article on pizza dough at home. And so while Danny was busy frying anything he could get his hands on, I set off making dough. I told my sister this had been a worthwhile visit and to expect me back the next day and that I would require a few ingredients. She frowned and sent me on my way. But I vowed to be back.
The day before my sister would let me back into her apartment to use her stone and stove, I started to prepare the dough. The NYT recipe called for half all-purpose flour and half bread flour. I actually went out to buy the bread flour figuring anything to help increase the gluten in the dough was a good thing. I poured the dry ingredients into the mixer and incorporated the water. After the mixer had done its work I poured the super wet and sticky dough onto the heavily floured counter. I let the dough rest for the requisite 10 min, then divided into two balls and set them aside on oiled plates for ~4 hrs. The whole process was quick and balls of dough were soon in the fridge eagerly waiting to be transformed.
In between days, I found myself really reading everything I could about pizza. I read a lot of dough recipes and watched a ton of videos online. Many of them had bites about proofing the yeast, which seemed like a step I was willing to do without.
On pizza day, I arrived with a few ingredients just in case my sister had decided to disregard my earlier command (as she often does). I decided to make two different pizzas with the two rounds of dough – a plain pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil; and another with king mushrooms, bacon and ramps. (I added the ramps to add a little green and because anytime I can use the vegetable for which Chicago is named, I will).
I turned the oven all the way up and let the stone heat for ~45 min. I released the dough from the ziplock bags onto a super floured surface. The dough was still very sticky and without a healthy helping of flouring would stick to anything. I shaped and tossed the dough (using a technique embedded in an episode of Stephanie Izard's "the Tasty Life"), but before I could get it onto the pizza peel, my sister warned me about transferring to the oven. Apparently when she had first gotten the pizza stone she tried out a dough from a grocery store which ended up as skid marks on the pizza stone because of a botched transfer. I dusted the peel with flour and a little cornmeal. I practiced the back and forth motion before sending the pizza into the oven and made sure the pie was loose and sliding before I even attempted a transfer.
Seven to eight minutes later, a hot bubbling pizza emerged from the oven. The dough was chewy with a nice salty savory flavor. My sister seemed happy with the pizza. So happy in fact, I thought it only fitting that she clean up the flour-covered disaster I had left in the kitchen. She did not see things my way. After cleaning, I vowed to be back with more dough.
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