Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pizza Napoletana (BBA Challenge)

I really wanted to nail this one. I had visions of presenting you with a gorgeous photo of a perfect pizza, plated prettily and cozied up next to a glass of wine. But we don't always get what we envision, do we?

This week's Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge has us baking Pizza Napoletana. The recipe itself is easy enough. The day before you're planning on serving pizza, the ingredients are mixed and kneaded then formed into dough balls and left to rest overnight in the refrigerator.

Mr. Reinhart recommends that each dough ball weigh six ounces (or larger if we think we can handle it when we form the crust the next day.)

MISTAKE #1. I can handle a bigger dough ball than six ounces, I thought to myself. Back in college I worked at a pizza parlor and surely my experience at ringing up orders on the cash register accounted for something, right? I made my dough balls nine ounces.

This morning I took a dough ball out of the fridge at 9:30, planning on pizza for lunch. I plopped it on my floured counter and patted it into a 1/2" thick circle as directed. I then let it rest for two hours, prepping my pizza peel with semolina flour and heating my stone and oven to 550 degrees in the meantime.

MISTAKE #2. Just because you think you're an experienced dough handler and might possibly be able to toss a 14" crust successfully, you might also want to stop for a minute and use your pea-brain to figure out that your pizza peel and your baking stone are only 12" wide.

I scrunched it on the peel as best I could, then topped it with pineapple mango chipotle salsa, a mixture of grated swiss and monterey jack cheeses, green pepper slices and crisp bacon pieces. When I went to slide it onto the pizza stone, it stuck to the peel and sort of plopped onto the stone, bacon pieces flying everywhere.

MISTAKE #3. I should have either used much more semolina flour on my peel or just used parchment paper and called it a day.

The reviews were mixed regarding the taste. Hubby loved it, but I wasn't impressed. I actually enjoyed the flavor of the Pain a l'Ancienne as pizza crust much more than this recipe. For that reason, I'm kind of glad that I screwed up the Pain a l'Ancienne because I'll most likely use that as my go-to pizza dough recipe from here on.

The good news is that I still have three more dough balls to practice with. I'll keep you posted in the event that I finally do nail one and have that perfect photo to share with you.

Thanks as always to Nicole from Pinch My Salt for hosting this fantastic challenge. I'm still learning and still get excited each week as I tackle the next recipe.

14 comments:

Barbara Bakes said...

lol - I've made the same mistakes making pizza! It looks tasty even if it isn't perfectly round!

Frieda said...

I love that brown, bubbly lookin' crust ~ good job and thanks for the tips!

Moogie said...

I sure could go for some pizza and beer right now. When are you moving to my neighborhood?

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction said...

Sorry to read about your less-than-perfect baking day... Maybe that's as contagious as lack of inspiration? Geez... I hope not!

June said...

I think it looks fabulous. If you want a "perfect" pizza buy DeGiorno & eat cardboard. I think this is fabulous and I'm tellin ya' I go for one (or two) right now! I think you did a GREAT job!

Steve said...

Round pizzas are over rated, though I would have liked to see that your crust was too big for your peel. That does sound kinda nasty. Oops.

On the sticking thing try corn meal on the peel rather than flour. A trick I learned when working at a pizza parlor to earn enough money for my first kayak.

Aggie said...

Your pizza is beautiful!! Love the topping...oh it looks so good!

Mags said...

Thanks for all the kind comments you guys. I really appreciate you taking the time.

Alyssa said...

Wow, you're at the pizza dough! Your comments made me laugh (in commiseration). Please share what what you think of the remainder as you make them up. I currently use the recipe from "Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day" and we love it. It's definitely not a 'gourmet' pizza dough, closer to a 'traditional' one.

SallyBR said...

Hey, you made gourmet pizza, which is free form of course! :-)

I know exactly how you feel, though - I simply NEVER bake pizza without the parchment underneath, I know my "skills" quite well

I am looking forward to this recipe, even though I have my default pizza method, from Fine Cooking magazine. Never fails....

great post, Mags, even if I had to laugh (just a little bit)

Rosemary & Garlic said...

I thought that if I had the peel, mine would have been round... I can't match a continent with your shape, but we did like them

saltandserenity said...

As usual you crack me up! Your post of "Mistakes" was wonderful. You could just say your pizza was rustic. A perfectly round pizza would look like it came from a box, but yours looks like it came made with love!

misterrios said...

Awesome Pizza. I loved reading the mistakes as well. I usually make malformed pizza, but it works to my advantage because then I can take all the "bigger" pieces.

I actually just made the leap from using parchment on bread, but for Pizza? You have got to have crazy skills.

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