For all my claims that I much prefer cooking over baking, I’ve been making a lot of dough lately.
It started on Saturday with the savory leek and onion tart and its recipe that encouraged you to “please take the time to make this dough from scratch, which will lend a flaky butteriness to the dish.” What this recipe forgot to mention was that it takes maybe ten minutes to make the dough–easy peasy. You just mix the flour, salt, sugar, butter, and water and toss it into the fridge. For fellow dough-adverse cooks: This recipe will change your life–or at least your view on making your own dough.
My adventures continued Sunday night when I was struck by an unusual craving for pizza, specifically a cornmeal-crust pizza. I found a tasty-sounding (and beautifully photographed) recipe on Martha so headed to the grocery store. There, I discovered that I have no eye for measurements. I scanned the bulk bins for cornmeal and flour (I substituted the regular flour with whole wheat flour, which gave the crusts a hearty flavor and beautiful color). Thank goodness I decided that for $1.49 per pound it was better to get more than less, because I had barely a tablespoon leftover of each.
When I got home, I made another discovery: I am in desperate need of both a 1/3 c. and 2/3 c. measuring cup as well as a 1/2 tsp. measuring spoon. I’d been eyeballing it before but decided not to take my chances on the dough. There was yeast involved, and you don’t mess around when yeast is involved. Instead, I made up my own conversion chart–and concluded that the few dollars it will cost me to invest in these new measuring cups and spoons will be worth the price. Measuring out 1/3 cup without a 1/3 c. measuring cup equates to 1/4 cup + one tablespoon + one teaspoon. Two-thirds of a cup equals 1/2 cup + two tablespoons + two teaspoons. I’ll be heading to the store to pick these up very soon.
After I put the dough together (another easier-than-expected task), I let it rise in four round balls for an hour while I prepared the toppings. This was wonderfully enjoyable because I forgot how fantastic yeast smells.
Martha’s recipe yields four personal-size pizzas so I prepare the following (all of which were formed from food already in my fridge and pantry):
Pizza One: Sauteed spinach with green garlic
Two: Sauteed leeks, onions, and green garlic
Three: Sundried tomatoes (which I picked up at the Ferry Building a few weeks back) and fresh rosemary
Four: Fresh thyme, marjoram, and parsley
Once the dough had risen, I stretched each ball into an approximately seven-inch circle, “brushed” them (add to shopping list: brush) with the garlic-oil mixture I cooked up, and added the toppings then a layer of freshly grated mozzarella and parmesan. I don’t have a pizza stone so put the pizzas on wax paper in a baking sheet and tin (I only have one baking sheet) and put them in the oven.
After a bit of baking, I decided to move the pizzas from the sheet and tin to the oven racks for extra crispy crusts. This worked wonderfully for three of the pizzas. The fourth, not so much. Instead, it started to sag through the rack and onto the other pizzas below, which was better than onto the bottom of the oven. Back onto the baking sheet that one went.
The pizzas, which are to be served immediately, were amazing (even the droopy one, the pizza topped with thyme, marjoram, and parsley). I completely forgot that I wanted to crack a raw egg on top of one as soon as it got out of the oven because I was so excited about how tasty they looked. Oh well. Next time.
All of this recent success with dough is definitely having an effect on me: I’m contemplating concocting banana bread later this week.