Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pizza Dough Recipe

I have been working on this recipe for a while now. I have experimented with olive oil, yeast levels, rising times, moisture levels, bread vs. all purpose, and even "00" imported pizza flour. I find this recipe gives a delicious, chewy, and thin crust. I have mostly been using it in my home oven with pizza stones but I have also successfully used my dough in some outdoor wood fired ovens. This recipe makes 6+ dough balls (typically I make double this and it makes 13 balls). WARNING - it's ready on the third day.

(note I updated this recipe as of 4/2/10. I realized that I was basically never getting all the flower mixed in so this time I weighed the extra flower and this in now a proper representation of the flower to water ratio.)

825g Organic all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. Active dry yeast
4 tsp. Fine Sea Salt
2.5 cups Water (1 cup warm for proofing the yeast and 1.5 cups cold)

Add the yeast (plus just a dash of raw sugar) to the warm water and let stand until bubbly and active (this may take 10 minutes or more but it's important so let it go until obviously active). Add yeast mixture and remaining water to bowl of mixer along with about 1/2 the flour. Mix the "batter" like dough with a wood spoon for a few minutes (always in the same direction to help begin to develop the long gluten strands . Add 1/2 the remaining flour and Knead with the dough hook for 5 minutes. Mix the salt with ~1/2 cup of the remaining flour and add mixture to dough. Continue to knead for ~5 more minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 or 10 minutes then pull it out of the mixer for a final hand kneading. As you kneed, work in enough of the remaining flour such that it ends up being sticky but not so sticky that it's difficult to work with. Continue kneading until the dough is nice and smooth; maybe another 10 minutes. Form the dough into a somewhat tight ball and oil lightly with olive oil. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for ~1 hour at room temp or until the dough has doubled. Refrigerate for 1 day.

Remove from fridge and let warm up for ~1 hour. Cut the dough into 6 pieces (they should each be ~205 g). Form the doughs into nice tight balls. This can be done by cupping the dough in your hand and sliding it across the counter. The friction of the dough on the counter should be pulling the outer surface tight. This step is actually quite important so do some practicing. You don't want to tare the outer surface but you do need good tension on the ball. See the link below to my video of making dough balls. Lightly oil your balls (tee hee) with olive oil, place on Sil Pat or well oiled cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place back in the fridge for another day.

Dough Ball Video

Remove from fridge 2 to 3 hours before you make your pizza so they are easy to work with. I like to make a fist with my left hand (non-dominate) and stretch it over that fist. It will be quite sticky so you will need to flour the table and you hands and the dough. Stretch it fairly evenly until it's 10-11" in diameter. The center will tend to get too thin leaving thicker outsides so try to avoid this.

Preheat oven with the pizza stone in it to 550 F (or as hot as your oven will go). This needs time to really get fully up to temp so I usually turn this on ~1.5 hours before I start making the pizzas. Or if your using a wood fired oven like ours ( then we typically wait for the base of the oven to be in the 700 range and the ceiling at that point is well out of range of the 1000 degree limit of our IR gun.

Farsi Una Pizza!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Green Fairy, Absinthe

Tarah and I have been learning about absinthe since the ridiculous ban on it was lifted in 2007 but really our interest has peaked lately since we learned that the Pacific Distillery in Woodinville, WA is producing the delicious spirit and that Liberty (on 15th in Seattle) is serving it. Absinthe is made from a host of herbs and spices (including the infamous wormwood) and is served by slowly dripping cold water out of a specific absinthe pitcher over a sugar cube that is held above the glass of absinthe using a special slotted spoon. The spirit is typically diluted with the cold water to range of 3-5 to one, water to absinthe. Some of the flavor and aroma compounds that are extracted from the herbs and spices are soluble in the high alcohol concentration of the absinthe but are not soluble in water. This results in the drink clouding up and changing to a beautiful light green once a certain water concentration is reached. At the moment that the clouding begins it is said that one can see a green fairy in the swirling liquid.
We took my mom to Liberty this last weekend; and keep in mind that my mom has possibly never, or at least not in many decades, ordered a mixed drink. I had told her about the local absinthe and about the green fairy. When it was her turn to order she slyly looked at the bar tender (Michael) out the corner of her eye and said "I want to see the green fairy." I was so proud! It was really adorable. Thrown off at first he then responded equally as slyly "Oh you want some Absinthe." She did end up seeing the green fairy and loved her drink.

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Monday, April 6, 2009


Thank God It's Monday

That was an awesome night of BBQing and then having a few great drinks at Liberty on 15th. Oh what fun can happen when the weather is nice.

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