Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Daring Bakers: Pizza
Bread in its essence is the manifestation of the miracle of yeast with its ability to turn a pile of wheat dust into soft, elastic, inflated dough. Without yeast, one could knead and proof until one’s heart was content and only create a flatbread. My relationship with this leavener has always been proximal—I stand near my husband as he makes pizza snapping away (photography-like) happily.
This month, Rosa from Rosa’s Yummy Yums, Sher at "What Did You Eat?", and Glenna at "A Fridge Full Of Food" chose a pizza dough challenge. Sadly, Sher passed away suddenly this summer, and while I didn’t know her, I read her blog and loved her cats. This challenge is such a wonderful testament to her.
So, back to my laudatory dialogue about the yeast…I love when others use yeast to make yummy, yummy baked goods. Daring Bakers move you to do things you might not otherwise (Opera Cake, anyone?) so what’s a little yeast? Yeast turns out not to be as tough a foe as I might have thought. The Peter Reinhart recipe was a breeze, though it required an overnight rise.
The challenge in this month was more coordination than anything else. I do not mean time-management, but instead physical coordination. We were instructed that dough tossing was a requirement to the challenge. Yes, bread has been on the ceiling on many a kitchen this month, and as secrecy is in our DB bi-laws, we have had to keep this shame secret all this time. Our ceilings were actually fine, in part because I have terrible aim and kept throwing the dough forward rather than upward. Maybelle’s Dad resurrected some long subsumed athleticism to master a respectable pizza joint-style tossing technique. That or maybe his Italian-American family secretly practiced this skill at those family reunions. Don't believe he had mad skills? Well, look at these tossing pictures and be saddened that I snagged this man instead of you.
As for toppings, we made this recipe twice this month. So the toppings were many, many: Caramelized onion, fig, goat cheese, pesto sauce
Tomato sauce, cheese, olives
Tomato and Cheese
Apples, blue cheese and arugula pesto (not pictured);
Apples, ricotta, agave nectar, and blue cheese (not pictured).
As it is Halloween week, there was also the Red Kuri Squash, Garlic and Feta shaped like Pumpkins.
Finally, one that breaks the rules (requiring sauce)—a skull with bloody eye sockets.