Monday, November 26, 2007

Weekend of New Toys - Bread Machine & Pizza Stone

It was a perfect weekend to hibernate and play with my newest kitchen toys....the bread machine and the pizza stone. I must admit that Salvatore's down the street will not be hiring me to make pizzas there. That said...I was looking through one of my favorite cookbooks (Jamie's Italy) for a better pizza sauce than the one I used from a jar and there it was...2 full pages of 8 equally misshapen pizzas! So now I'll just call my creations "Rustic" Pizzas!

I must admit, the smell of dough rising was lovely and even more so on Saturday when I made these Heavenly Herb Rolls.
By then I was not quite as anxious, but let's back up to Friday for a bit. Actually, I think Lucille Ball took over my kitchen!

I read all the instructions before far so good. I put the ingredients into the breadmaker in the correct order, double & triple checking myself and let it do its work for an hour and a half. Still fine....and then it says to lightly flour your counter to roll out the dough. Done! In the meantime, I'm heating up the pizza stone and organizing my toppings...this time a simple red store bought pizza sauce, pepperoni, sliced mushrooms and slices of red onions, and grated mozzarella cheese. I actually bought bocconcini balls to tear up and layer on top, but I forgot them in my craziness. Still fine and pretty organized and now....

Enter Lucille....The instructions on the pizza stone box says to use a pizza peel (I have no idea what that is) but it also said I could use parchment paper on the peel to transfer directly to the stone. So I started stretching the dough, rolling the dough, nothing's going well, so I started holding the dough up and letting gravity help me....can you say "HOLES"? Well, I worked the first batch way too long trying to get it round and big enough for the stone. So I ended up throwing it out, but second one was a little better - at least I stopped playing with it. And quickly added the toppings...a light layer of sauce, sprinkling of dried oregano, fresh minced garlic, mushrooms, pepperoni & onion slices nicely arranged, and then the cheese on top. Not bad after the first dough fiasco and we're ready to transfer to the pizza stone...or are we?

First of all, how could I possibly imagine that I could lift or shift this concoction over to the pizza stone? It wouldn't slide off the parchment, so I tried to lift one side and somehow ended up with a very large, very messy calzone! Well, at least it was on the center of the pizza stone. I could already hear it sizzling and cooking so I worked quickly to get the sides back down on the stone and rearrange the toppings (try that without burning yourself). Exhausting!!! Scary!!! and boy did I need that glass of wine!

By the way, the rolls were heavenly!

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Sharron said...

I think your "rustic" pizza looks scrumptious!

african vanielje said...

Firstly - your pizza looks great, secondly the best pizza tip in the world:
I always roll out my dough on a lightly floured surface(I like it quite thin), then transfer this to the back of a backing tray, or the top if it is rimless, that has been liberally disted with some semolina. This is coarse ground so acts as mini ball bearings, then with the help of a palette knife you can simply loosen the base and slide it onto your pizza stone. Also, don't put your topping on until you have transferred it to the semolina tray. good luck and may the force be with you

Judith in Umbria said...

The last commenter has me partly covered, but I will elaborate a bit.

First, it looks so good I want to lick my screen and it's only 10:25 here.

If it won't stretch or move, let it rest a bit. Really. I'm so impatient it took me too long to believe that. I use my fingers to stretch it so it is uneven and has more chance of bubbling. The less stuff you put on, the more Italian it is and the more it will bubble and maybe scorch, if you're lucky.

Like African V, I use a cookie sheet for a peel inside (in the outside oven I must use a peel with a 4 foot handle! -- and I use baking paper for the inside oven. Build the pizza on that paper, and a quick jerk with slide it off the improvised peel and onto the stone, if you use one. (I don't, but use just the paper on the lowest rack.)

Nupur said...

Oh, dear! With the sizzling hot oven, that must have been quite an ordeal. My pizza peel came as a set with the pizza stone, and I do love it. Anyway, I found that the trick to transferring pizzas successfully is to make smaller pizzas at first until you get the hang of it. Coarse cornmeal helps to prevent the pizza from sticking to the surface (whether it is a pizza peel or the back of a baking tray)

Ruth Daniels said...

Thanks all for the great tips! I can't wait to try it out again. Now hopefully the hard part will be deciding on the toppings....pesto and shrimp anyone?