Friday, December 5, 2008
Oh man. Do you guys have Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day yet? PLEASE go buy it. Or ask Santa. Or get it from the library. I bought it a few weeks ago, and so far I've made their classic boule, pain d'epi which I brought to Thanksgiving dinner and now PIZZA. And I'm not even really a bread person!*
Megan and I usually try to figure out a couple of meals we'll make this week when we're on the way to the grocery store, though we're not often home for dinner together more than twice a week. I never did make the soup I intended to make on Wednesday because we got an invite to dinner from some friends who recently moved into the neighborhood. Maybe Sunday?
Last night, however, I was not to be deterred. I had whipped up a batch of AB5MD's olive oil dough on Sunday afternoon and it's been lurking in the fridge all week. A batch makes about four pounds of dough, which is enough for four pizzas. So naturally, I made four pizzas.
Megan took the Hawaiian with her to watch the Rangers game, which left Adam and I to tackle the Mushroom & Potato Pizza Provencale (a recipe from the book), the classic Tomato Sauce & Mozzarella, and (this is for you dad!) the black olive and anchovy. Oof. We had to take a quick jaunt up the North End to get a cell phone charger from Becca, so we brought some to her, and there was still enough left over for two breakfasts, two lunches and probably a pre-dinner snack. Heh. The dough is tasty, not tooooo crispy (though crispier when reheated in the toaster oven) and easy to work with. Did I mention you should go buy this book?
Olive Oil Dough
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day
Makes 4 pounds of dough, enough for 4 pizzas (easily halved)
2 3/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached AP flour
Mix the water, olive oil, yeast and salt in a large bowl or food storage container (I use a 6 quart square plastic food storage container). With a sturdy wooden spoon, mix in the flour until moistened; do not knead. Allow to rise at room temperature for about two hours, then stick it in the fridge and use it over the next week to ten days. The dough is much easier to work with after a few hours of chilling, as it's a very wet dough.
For pizzas, make sure you have your toppings ready before you roll the dough. I used a favorite tomato sauce recipe that only takes 5 minutes, pre-shredded cheese, canned pineapple chunks (in juice not syrup, please!), and I cut up the ham, olives, anchovies beforehand. You'll also need cornmeal for your peel (i.e. overturned cookie sheet) so the pizza slides off into the oven.
Preheat the oven to 500, or 550 if you can, with a pizza stone or overturned cookie sheet in the middle rack for at least 20 minutes. High heat and hot stone is the best way to get good pizza!
When your toppings are assembled, dust a large work surface with flour. Dust the surface of the dough with flour, then pull and cut off a 1 lb chunk (about the size of a grapefruit). With floured hands, form the dough into a ball, pulling the edges to the bottom and rotating the ball as you go. Pat the ball flat with your hands and use a rolling pin to stretch it out to about 1/8 inch thick. If you're feeling fancy, bounce it on your knuckles and toss it in the air a few times.
Lay the dough on a cornmeal dusted peel or cookie sheet and working quickly, top it lightly with your choice of toppings. Don't go crazy - using too much or too many toppings will sog down your pizza in a big way. Carefully slide the pizza from the peel to the hot stone/cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is toasty. Remove (again, carefully!) from the hot box and let the pizza cool a few minutes on a rack to give the cheese opportunity to set. Cut and enjoy!
*A "bread person" is one of those people who wants bread with every meal or finds extraordinary pleasure in eating bread. I think I'm a "baking person;" I like eating bread, but I love baking it. Which one are you?