Friday, September 2, 2016

Pizza de Résistance *Dough*

So The Horn Player and I were crusin' the grocery store aisles discussing the possibilities for dinner the other afternoon. He thought pizza at home would be a great idea, so he suggested we get some of those crusts hanging in the tomato sauce section. Nah! I haven't kneaded dough lately and I've needed to knead. Got me? 

To begin...sans, the all purpose flour

A proper slurry of yeast, honey, EVOO & warm water

The bubbles are little yeast critters blooming

Mixin' in the all-purpose flour is a raggedy mess at first

Not much of a picture, you say; this is my favorite 'forever old' pastry cloth and a sufficient amount of all-purpose flour for kneading

Ready for pulling together with the copious amount of flour and 10 minutes of kneading

A most satisfying act of kneading

Cozy and warm under a dampened linen towel

Sneak peek at my dough, which is lookin' good in my old granite pan ♥

Check it out! Gorgeous!

Risen to perfection

Ready for another brief rise

Ready to be shaped into pretty

Our beautiful pizza with sauce, generous slabs of Mozzarella, freshly picked Basil leaves from the herb garden and Asiago being generously grated on by The Horn Player 

What a sous chef he is ♥

The yummy landscape of my Pizza de Résistance

And now a word about the recipe. Many, many years ago I happily began making my own pizza dough. All recipes are fairly similar, this is the one that evolved from reading several recipes. 

It thrills me when I have time to play with soft dough. It's one of the tactile elements that makes cooking so incredible. You can, of course, use this dough for bread-sticks or Calzones or whatever your imagination can conjure. Just have fun!

1 package yeast
1-1/2 cups 110° water
1-1/2 heaping tablespoons raw local honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon bruised fennel seeds *optional*

Add the yeast, water, honey and oil to a mixing bowl and stir. Allow this mixture to bloom, about 10 minutes or so. Mix the salt into about 3 to 3/-1/2 cups of flour and add incrementally to the wet mixture, stirring after each addition. Add just enough flour to create a loose dough (this may vary) and turn out onto a pastry cloth that has at least a cup of flour sprinkled on. Bring the dough together with well-floured hands and knead for 8-10 minutes until the dough is elastic, smooth and no longer sticky. Plop into a well oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides. Cover with a dampened kitchen cloth and place in a warm spot to rise. This will take approximately an hour or so. Remove the risen dough to a clean surface, not a floured surface. I used a piece of parchment paper. There is sufficient oil remaining on the dough to handle with no difficulty. Pinch off 4 equal pieces of dough and shape them by turning the dough into itself until you have a smooth surface. Place the portions of dough in a warm place covered by a damp towel and allow about a 30-45 minute rise. 

Next, the fun part...making the individual pieces of dough into a pizza crust. I flatten the dough with my fingers while pressing outward creating a circle. You may use a rolling pin but I prefer just shaping it with my hands. Adorn with whatever your heart desires, bake at 400° until its golden brown and delicious. 

Note: Our pizza was simple as pizza pie can be. Sauce, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil leaves and Asiago. Very good!

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