Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Daring Bakers - Pizza

This month we were given a pizza recipe to try and wonderfully they also gave us a gluten free recipe for it so no converting and wondering if it would work. The gluten eating Daring Bakers had to try tossing the dough and if possible get a photo of it so check out other blogs using the link on the right for a whole bunch of people throwing bread in the air :) Those of us without gluten were saved from that by being unable to toss our dough without it falling apart.

Of course while I was really keen to try the recipe I still ended up doing it yesterday !

The dough makes up very quickly and as kneading isn't needed with no gluten to develop all it really is very simple. Really just mix, leave to rest in the fridge then take out when it is wanted prove for a couple of hours, shape and top as required. I made the dough in the morning and used it in the evening rather than over two days though I also did some the next day but there didn't seem to be a difference.

The gluten free version of the recipe is at the bottom of this post. I used a mix of rice, gram, buckwheat and tapioca flours which gave a nice wholemeal feel to it.

For toppings I made a pizza with a home made tomato sauce, cheese and bacon as well as a folded pizza with the same filling both of which were very nice though I left them in the oven a little to long.

The next day I did a second folded pizza with a similar filling though I used mozzarella instead of cheddar.. both worked very well and I'm not really sure which I preferred.

I also made a small chocolate one which I topped with sugar but again got slightly burnt due to being distracted by a small one but it was still tasty and I think I will try that again with a none wholemeal style dough.
Chocolate version
The rest of the dough has gone into the freezer for the next time I want pizza !


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 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled - FOR GF: 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. FOR GF: 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. FOR GF: 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. FOR GF: 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).

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.
During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping.
In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.
You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. FOR GF: Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

12. FOR GF: 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.

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. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.


13. FOR GF: 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.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Weekly menu 27th - 31st Oct

This week is half term so Small is home. (or as he is from now on to be called Noodles on account of him being too big to be Small now.. Why noodles is a long story with no noodles involve but is much more to do with me being unable to use someone's given name without adjusting it !)

The one thing he has requested we do is cooking so I'm doing something right. We will be cooking Tuesday and Friday as those are the two days his baby brother is at nursery. Friday will be Halloween monster cakes and the like as he wants a Halloween party.

Treestump is eating us out of house and home. He will eat pretty much everything even though he only has the first courner of his first tooth through so far! For instance yesterday lunch time he had potato, broccoli and peas mashed together with a little red wine gravy and carrots and roast Parsnip as finger foods. He then took not one but two small yorkshire puds out of his dad's hands as he was trying to eat them and ate them followed by apple and custard before polishing off a sponge finger and stealing his gran's raspberries !

Anyway onto the menu.

Monday - Tomato and eggs, that simple but wonderful regular on our menu.

Tuesday - Pizza

Wensday - (Noodles is out with his grandparents all day.) Thai chicken curry and rice (using coconut this weeks ingredient)

Thursday - Beef stew with wonderful beef from the grandparents which is sourced locally to them.

Friday - Halloween party so lots of party food with far to much food colours !

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Fun of feeding gluten to a baby

I know I've not been around much life is hectic but good and I hope to have more cooking time soon. We are eating fairly well but nothing that interesting to blog about currently and my camera has died though himself's little snappy camera turns out to have a nice macro mode.. who knew !

Anyway the main thing I have been upto is the fun of feeding a seven month old. He has developed a major interest in trying new foods and has decided all food should be eaten by hand ie his hands by the handful even porridge. He loves finger foods and doesn't seem to have read the book that says he should still be eating slightly textured purée as far as he is concerned a fish finger is great food for a seven month old as are cheese sandwiches at nursery !

As you may have guessed from those I am allowing him gluten. The current recommendations seem to be that around 6 months is the best time to introduce it to give someone the best chance of not developing celiac and as i didn't have any problems till I got glandular fever I think my problems were triggered then.

However there is a down side I hadn't really though of and didn't come across with Small because we didn't give him gluten till he was a year. Seven month old babies, particularly ones who want to feed themselves are very messy ! I really can't cope with being covered with gluten filled mush so he is now only going to have it when fed by someone else like dad or at nursery and I don't get him back till he is cleaned up !

adendum - We've just been out for a Chinese meal and he spurned the prawn crackers and dived on the chicken satay.. I'm sure the book says he shouldn't be happily chewing a piece of chicken breast at seven months but I think he read the book and decided to it was rubbish!