Like a Big Pizza Pie…. That’s Amore!
Today you will be seeing homemade Pizza popping up around the blogosphere, as it is the Daring Baker challenge this month. The recipe came from Rosa’s Yummy yums, one of my favorite blogs that I check regularly. She chose this Pizza Napoletana from Peter Reinhart’s â€œThe Bread Baker’s Apprenticeâ€ which is a book I’ve been considering buying, and now really want. You can find the recipe on Rosa’s Blog. The big challenge wasn’t to make the dough, but to learn how to toss the dough, and try to get a photo of yourself doing so. Check out the other Daring Baker’s pizzas here, and my past Daring Baker Posts here.
I was extremely happy when I saw Pizza as the challenge. Now, don’t get me wrong, I make pizza at home fairly often, but have never attempted to “toss the dough” like a real pizzaiolo. I always stretched and rolled the dough into a rough “circle” that was usually more square than round. My sister, Jessica, was here a few weeks ago and we made pizza and tried to throw the dough… it was ugly. One of my first attempts ended with the dough falling on the floor… right in front of the dog dishes… yuck. So I gave up and rolled out the dough for the rest of the pizzas.
As for toppings, I kept it simple. I used homemade bolognese, fresh mozzarella made at a little international market by my house and freshly chopped basil. I usually prefer to use a regular tomato sauce sans meat, but this is what I had leftover in the fridge. It turned out really good… the meat in the sauce made the pizza a little more substantial, but it was still pretty light as I only used a thin coat of sauce.
When I was ready to do my challenge, I really set my mind to it and found that I had to toss AND twirl at the same time. Just throwing straight up does absolutely nothing. Also, it helps to toss it over the counter, so if (when) dropped, the dough lands safely on the counter. When you get the hang of tossing the dough, its amazing how it stays round and gets thin in the middle and slightly thicker at the edges. I could never roll it that perfectly. It was an easy, straightforward recipe, and planned for a cold rise overnight, which is great for making pizza the following day with very little work. This develops a fantastic flavor and a beautiful dough.
Before baked, just a little sauce and cheese… I don’t like to load my pizza with either.
Finally got it!
Check out the unabashed cheesy joy on my face at learning how to toss pizza dough. I look like I’m simultaneously tossing pizza and conducting music. I have to give thanks to Stephan for taking the pics and creating this fabulous animated image.
Bolognese Pizza Recipe
Pizza Dough (I used a 1/2 recipe that made 3 pizzas)
1 c bolognese (meat sauce), cold
8 oz (approx) fresh mozzarella, cut into small chunks
10 leaves fresh basil, chiffonade (cut into strips)
1. Prepare the dough as the recipe states. Make sure you preheat your oven for 30 minutes to 500 degrees with a pizza stone in the center of the oven. (Very important step for crisp pizza!)
2. I don’t have a pizza peel, so I cheat (slightly) when I make pizza. Toss or roll out your pizza dough into a circle and place it on a piece of parchment paper. Add a thin layer of sauce and top with pieces of fresh mozzarella. Use as much or as little as you like… I prefer to use less and have areas where there is no cheese.
3. Quickly and very carefully, slide the parchment lined pizza onto the stone and bake for about 3 minutes. At this time, pull the parchment out from beneath the pizza. It should slide out easily. I use tongs to hold the pizza in place when I do this. Continue baking for another 4-5 minutes until well browned.
4. Remove to a plate, immediately scatter the chopped basil over the top and let cool for a few minutes before cutting. Repeat with the remaining dough.