Pizza Fail

I’m starting up this blog again. I completed the Culinary Arts program and received my certificate last December. I was searching for a new project and enrolled in the Food and Media program at George Brown College.

One of the courses is Food Writing and Blogging in which I’ll use culinarylarry.blog to post my assignments.

However, I’m still taking cooking courses so I’ll be sharing my adventures with those; including today’s blog.

In my first blog I wrote about the extent of my culinary experience being heating frozen pizzas. It is only fitting that this rejuvenated post be about pizza and making it from scratch. I’m studying online with Chef Emanuela Constantini. I have never made pizza before, nor baked bread. The information I provide here is from Chef Ema.

This is what is know as the puntata stage of dough rising. It was kneaded for 10 minutes and then sits covered for an hour. It is then ready to be stretched. This particular recipe is for Napoletana dough – 00 flour, fresh yeast and sea salt.

I divided it into 2 balls and let it rise for another hour. I then started to stretch. You push with your fingers from the centre to the edge. But whenever I pushed, it pushed back – a defiant dough in my kitchen.

Just 4 toppings were added – San Marzano tomato sauce, basil, buffalo Mozzarella, basil and olive oil. You do not want to overload the ingredients – like I did here. The pie should have been stretched more. When you stretch it correctly, you limit the ingredients so they do not punch through the floor. My floor was too thick and I added more cheese than it needed.

In baking pizza at home, you have to crank the oven up to 500 degrees F. You will not get the same results as a wood burning oven but you will get a reasonable crust. You should have a pizza stone heated in the oven ready to slide the pizza on to it.

A “peel”, which is a wooden paddle, is used the slide the pizza on to the stone. I didn’t have a peel so used an upside down baking sheet with parchment paper. The mistake I made was to put two pizzas on to the paper. The weight would not let it easily slide. The cheese and olive oil slid off the sides and on to the stone.

I let them bake for 8 minutes and then pulled them out.

They looked like bagels on steroids.

To add some zing, I put prosciutto and arugula on top along with a drizzle of olive oil.

I had promised the pugs a pizza evening but could not torture them with this pizza fail. Everyone got a slice of prosciutto and were happy.

I will use what I have learned in this Lesson 1 in the next lesson – New York Style pizza. Start spreading the news.

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