Monday, August 16, 2010
Upcoming post: The Pizza Experiment
Just wanted to give you a teaser for an upcoming post: the chronicle of my grand Pizza Experiment.
Here's the background. My mother and I have enjoyed making pizza from scratch for years. We have a basic pizza dough recipe that uses all-purpose or bread flour, a tablespoon or two of yeast, and only rises once before being pressed into the pan. It's a good, reliable recipe, but it yields a dough with more of a biscuit texture than that chewy pizzeria crust I'm looking for.
For a while, I thought changing baking methods and pans would improve the texture. I switched from cookie sheets, to pizza pans with holes in the bottom, to a pizza stone. The pizza stone delivers a nice crispy bottom crust, but the chewiness still isn't there. I've also tried recipes from others who claim that their recipe is chewy. Yeah, no. No it's not. And I found out why.
Pizza dough can and should be rested for up to several days before baking, to encourage the gluten proteins to develop and "align" themselves into the long strands that create a chewy texture. It's also recommended to let the dough rise at least twice and punch it down. The time and processing develops the flavor of the dough.
Another option is to add a high-gluten flour, such as semolina, to your dough to encourage chewiness. I just picked some up at Wegmans today, so I'll be using it in my experiment.
Much of my information came from this wonderful informative video I found. I think that this Friday will be my official experiment day, after which I'll report my results! (A few lucky readers may get to taste the results. Oh, the privileges of being associated with an amateur foodie...)