Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers October: Fabulous Pizza

balsamic tomato & corn pizza

My second Daring Bakers' challenge was to make the ultimate pizza with my choice of toppings. Rosa was kind enough to provide the detailed instructions for this month's event. The goal was to toss the pizza dough up in the air like a professional. Rosa added an extra challenge: participants were to take pictures or film themselves during this process.

Sadly, tossing the dough was not a possibility for me. Gluten is what gives dough its elasticity; without it you're left with only one option: to roll out the dough.

balsamic tomato pizza eaten

The dough requires some advance planning. I made it the day before and it waited patiently its required 24 hours in the fridge. I was inspired by the fresh produce from my CSA for the toppings. My family enjoyed both versions and I hope you will too.

Don't forget to visit the rest of the Daring Bakers... You'll enjoy the creativity and originality. Thank you Rosa for your wonderful instructions and enthusiasm!

Here's the recipe for the pizza dough as it was given:
Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.
Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).

4 ½ cups GF Flour Blend with xanthan gum or 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup corn flour, 1 cup oat flour, 1 ½ cup arrowroot, potato or tapioca starch + 2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast - FOR GF use 2 tsp
1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar - FOR GF use agave syrup
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting

1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).
2. Add the oil, sugar or agave syrup and cold water, then mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough.

3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.

8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the refrigerator. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a gluten free flour. Delicately press the dough into disks about ½ inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil. Lightly cover the dough round with a sheet of parchment paper and allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Press the dough into the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough).
11. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.
12. Place the garnished pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

eggplant pine-nut pizza close-up

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.
13. Follow the notes for this step.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

Here are my recipes for two fantastic pizza pies. These delectable toppings can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use.

Eggplant pine-nut pizza

Eggplant, Goat Cheese and Pine Nut Topping
1 eggplant, sliced thin and salted
olive oil
olive oil spray
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 crumbled goat cheese

375F preheated oven
Coat a cookie sheet with olive oil. Spray the eggplant slices with olive oil on both sides. Spread the eggplant slices and pine nuts on it and bake in hot oven until cooked through and golden (about 20 minutes but watch it carefully so it doesn't burn.
Spread goat cheese on pizza crust, followed by the eggplant slices and the pine nuts. Bake the pizza in a really hot oven until cheese is hot and a little bubbly.

balsamic tomato pizza close-up

Balsamic Corn-Tomato Topping with Goat Cheese

1 1/2 cups sweet cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon herbes de provence
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 375F
Combine all the ingredients in a ceramic pie dish and bake for 30 minutes
Spread over the pizza dough followed by the goat cheese. Bake in a really hot oven until crust is crisp and topping is hot and bubbly (about 10 minutes).

balsamic tomato pizza slice


VeggieGirl said...

No worries about not being able to toss the GF dough - I would have EMBRACED that fact, since I'd be afraid to try it, haha ;0)

LOVE your pizza toppings!!

maybelle's mom said...

oh, I love eggplant on pizza. Yum.

Anonymous said...

No problems, I made dough with regular flour and still didn't get a picture tossing the dough - I didn't have anyone available to take the photo. Nice choice of toppings. You're making me hungry for pizza and it's not even 6am here yet!

Stacey Snacks said...

I love the corn/roasted cherry tomato topping.
A great combination.
Your dough looks nice too.
I am an UNdaring baker, and only bake things that are easy, however, I do make great pizza!
NY style!
PS glad to see your post on a Wed. a.m.

Mary Ann said...

The tossing was so hard because the dough was super elastic. Just picking it up was enough to stretch it into a 20 inch circle. I love your toppings- they look divine and I bet they tasted even better. Good things are always going on at your house!

Lorrie said...

i never would have thought of corn or the eggplant- it all looks amazing!

Jeanine said...

Your pizza looks wonderful, Alexa! I'd love a slice of the pizza with corn. I've never put corn on pizza before. Nice!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your pizzas look fabulous! i love your choice of toppings!



Lynn said...

Tossing is overrated. Anything with balsamic vinegar in it gets an A+ from me. Your pizzas look brilliant!

Oh my! Apple pie! said...

Your pizzas are great, I love all your toppings.

Medhaa said...

I did not toss, love your toppings. Never tried corn on pizza, the next time.

Elra said...

Very creative indeed. Your topping look very scrumptious.

Passionate About Baking said...

Luckily you made GF Alexa; it wasn't easy to toss the blessed thing anyway. LOVE the toppings you chose....nirvana!!

lisa from dandysugar said...

The Balsamic Corn and Tomato Pizza looks divine. I will most definitely put that at the top of my next-pizza-toppings-to-try list. Delicious.

Regina said...

Lovely toppings - and way to showcase your CSA produce!

Sweet Bird said...

That eggplant and goat cheese one sounds divine

Ruth said...

Your pizzas look delicious. Your toppings look so tasty!

Lynnylu said...

I love your topping choices. Great job on the pizza.

Cristine said...

YUM! Your pizzas look delicious!

gail said...

Your pizzas look beautiful! I'm happy to see that someone else used eggplant on their pizza, as well!

Pam said...

Both of your pizzas look delicious. I love the flavors and colors! Great photos too.

natalia said...

Ciao Alexa I really like your toppings ! I might do your GF version for my dear neighbour silvia !

giz said...

I tossed, I picked up off the floor, decided tossing wasn't in my stars, started over - what a fun challenge. I echo everyones' comments on your toppings. I've neveer tried eggplant on pizza but why not? Good job.

Sophie said...

I love all the veggies on your pizzas! :) I'm ready to dive into both! They look so fresh.

Esi said...

Your pizzas look wonderful!! Too bad you weren't able to toss them, it was half the fun even though mine didn't work. I love the fresh toppings!

Elle said...

Just had my pizza yesterday, but your photos make me want to have some right NOW! Great post and gorgeous toppings.

glamah16 said...

Excellent gluten free versions. The eggplant version sounds spectacular.

Tanya said...

Looks wonderful, Alexa! Your choice of toppings look great!

Jacque said...

I'm loving that tomato and corn pizza photo. So pretty and colorful!

RecipeGirl said...

Great topping choices! And beautiful pics, as usual :)

syrie said...

Alexa, congratulations on a fabulous pizza and for having so much patience! You've inspired me to make another pizza using my own homemade dough.

Big Boys Oven said...

such amazing beauty ... i mean the pizza!

Eat4Fun said...

Very nice GF pizzas! I love the toppings you used, especially the goat cheese which is one of my favs. Great job!

CECIL said...

Alexa!! I would never thought using eggplant as topping - you are genius! This is my first challenge and it was truly fun. :D

Dayna said...

Mmm. Great toppings!
It's so great to get those CSA surprises into dinner - especially pizza!

MeetaK said...

alexa - i love the eggplant goat cheese version - simply my kind of pizza!

Tarah at Genesis of a Cook said...

Oh yum! Eggplant on a pizza is so good. I wish more people would try it; It's sooo good :]

genkitummy said...

Mmmmm...both of your pizzas look delicious! You're so creative with your topping choices!

Maggie said...

Delicious topping combinations! The colors on the tomato-corn pizza are so pretty.

Iris said...

Wow, Alexa, your pizzas look incredible! I'm so hungry right now... I love eggplant and goat cheese so I will bake them! Happy Halloween!

Jude said...

It must have been tough to work with this dough. I have so much respect for GF bakers.

creampuff said...

I love your pizzas! The one with the corn is great but the eggplant one has my name all over it!!!

Hannah said...

Whether you tossed or not, kudos for making the gluten-free version, and making it look so good!

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