We are a pizza family. My husband who adores pizza and I adore him, so I have excepted his little obsession. I can work with pizza. For a long time we were pizza-and-a-movie-every-Friday-night people. Doug loves a thick crust extra cheese from LaRosa’s, where I crave a veggie lovers from Donato’s (yummy green olives from edge to edge). We would often bounce around from restaurant to restaurant: if they delivered and I had a coupon they’d be on the top of the list. That was until we moved to our country home where only one pizza place delivers. We got kinda sick of the same thing every week and our ritual fell away.
I was really excited when I came across a pizza recipe in my new America’s Test Kitchen Recipe Book (Season 12). I envisioned making the dough a few days before a Friday. Our ritual would be back and except now it would be homemade -from scratch! And, my honey would groan that I am such a wonderful cook and the best wife ever. (OK, so maybe just a “this is really good babe”).
Like my first trial from this cook book, Chicken Fricasse, I watched the episode via DVD about 113 times. They made it look so simple. It called for only 6 ingredients and the folding of the dough happened in the food processor (I have one of those!). So I ventured down Kroger’s baking aisle looking for bread flour, a first time purchase. I was excited.
2 cups of bread flour
2 teaspoons of sugar
1/2 tsp of instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
First three ingredients into the food processor: Bread flour, yeast, and sugar. Pulsed until mixed.
I pulsed just as the directions had told me. Let it sit 10 minutes. Then, I added the oil and salt, and blended about 45 seconds. It started to gather to one side and I was afraid to overwork it. So I called it done here.
I prepped the counter with some vegetable oil to kneed the dough, but as you can see from the picture it was very sticky and a huge mess. I was supposed to knead the dough for about 1 minute, but it was so sticky and it felt, well, wrong. This was where I was like Oh, crap.
I brought Doug in at this point get his opinion, but he didn’t seem bothered by look of it. So, I plopped the gooey mess into an oiled bowl, covered with saran wrap and put it in the fridge for 24 hours (the minimum). I was planning to make this pizza for my Dad and stepmother who were in town and coming to see us, but now I knew that I might have to create a back-up plan for our dinner guests. Isaac was a big help playing me some background music…ya know, to keep me calm.
After 24 hours, Doug and I checked the dough. He was all for trying it, but I was nervous to serve it to people, so we waited for Sunday night dinner when it was just us. Honestly, I was about to throw this sucker out and try again, but Doug decided to jump in and see if he could salvage it. He loves his pizza.
So, he added some flour and kneeded that dough like a man. I set it out to rise for an hour. Not looking so bad here.
Doug then proceeded to shape the dough, you know to make it like a pizza pie. It was not working… at all. The dough would bounce back to toward him. If you could hear the audio during this picture, it would be me laughing hysterically and saying “I failed!” Doug was still pressing on, though, with the fight to save the dough!
He added sauce and cheese and cooked that little failure of mine. Oh, my. Oh, vey. Dasvidaniya! This is NOT what it looked like on ATK. We baked it for 10 minutes.
It came out looking, well, edible. But, I was definitely skeptical.
Until we cut that baby up and tasted her. It was not too bad. Not great, but not as bad as I had expected back when the dough was bouncing around.
I have not yet given up on this recipe. I plan to try it again, and even again. It wasn’t hard or very time consuming. I am sure America’s Test Kitchen had to try a few hundred times to get the recipe right, so I’ll take a mulligan on this one.
Yeah, I actually did make a successful pizza this week… an English Muffin Pizza. Easy. Perfection.
ENGLISH MUFFIN PIZZA
Preheat the oven to 425*
Open English muffin
Add sauce and toppings
Bake 8-10 minutes
You win some, you lose some.