Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pizza and Pizza bread as a the bread for your appetizers- also a chat about Yeast

Liz one of Zok's family members is the person that first got us to make our own pizza.  Well, her and the fact that the one pizza shop we really liked 'perfect pizza' closed. Swedish pizza needs its own post...I'll just mention two things, they don't slice it and banana is always a topping option.

It is possible we eat too much pizza. 

We use good steel pizza pans that we got from a catering store.
They work well and just need to be seasoned (heated up with oil a couple of times before the first use).  I don't clean them with soap, I use a brush to get off anything that it stuck, wipe them down with more oil, and heat them up to get the water to dry quickly and avoid rust, and that is that.

We use corn pizza base (for the gluten intolerant) and the flour pizza base to use as our appetizer bread for dips.  Either plain or with garlic on top (diced fresh garlic in Zok's case, and garlic salt in mine).

We also jar up the tomato sauce ourselves, and Zok just adds in the spices to make the sauce.  We vary on this a bit, I like to add a pinch of sugar and vegeta seasoning (it is like a veg. soup seasoning) Zok adds bay leaves and fresh herbs.

Here is our pizza base recipe: (2 large or 3 smaller tins)
We like our pizza crust thick

Add to your mixing bowl the following:
500 g of plain flour
4 tsp. sugar (we use caster)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Whisk these dry ingredients to blend

(You can of course knead the dough by hand, however doing the pizza base is what inspired Zok to get a mixer)

250- 300 ml. warm water
8 g. of dry yeast (instant dry yeast)*
 (Zok says all the stuff you read about "activating" your yeast- well basically this is a chemical reaction and will happen naturally-but go to the notes section on yeast here)
Combine the yeast and water in a mixing cup and stir and you'll will get a smelly, cloudy mixture.

Put your mixer bowl onto low and add about half of your yeast mixture.
Okay here is where Zok gets a bit esoteric - he sometimes uses a bit more warm water, sometimes he doesn't use all his original mixture, and sometimes he needs to add flour.
It is true if you are making a lot of baked items, scones, bisquits (american), pizza base you will just be able to tell that it is correct.
I think these inconsistencies come from the times Zok doesn't bother to measure out his ingredients.

Lightly grease a glass bowl with a wee bit of oil.
When your mixture is ready (after about 5 minutes)
Grab out your dough, ball it up a bit, coat the dough slightly within the bowl,
The dough should be soft and pliable and you can pat it down a bit at the bottom of the bowl.
Cover your bowl with a tea towel and allow to rise for about an hour.
Zok says if you leave it too long the center will collapse a bit.

Zok then rolls out the dough with a rolling pin, on his baking board that is lightly coated with more flour. This is after dividing the dough into the portions he wants.

I like to pinch my pizza edges like a pie because I don't want any of my cheese to escape.
I also 'pre-bake' my base, so I coat my with rosemary infused olive oil, and sprinkle it with fresh herbs like Italian parsley or whatever looks good-and some garlic salt.  I let it get a bit golden and then I put on my sauce and toppings and cook it until the cheese is melted.
Zok of course puts so many items on his pizza including hot sauce and this makes no sense to my tried and true 1-3 toppings rule.


Let's talk about yeast.
We were hesitant about the yeast, all the fuss about activating the yeast with sugar, and the different types of yeast.  Plus the yeasts we can buy are different country to country.

Currently we are into buying fresh yeast, which we have found at one store in town.  We also had to prove to ourselves what a 'activated' yeast looked like.
So here you see live yeast- 5 days past it's use by date compared to dry yeast.
The difference is marked.  
Basically we've decided that when in doubt, get new yeast.  If you doubt your fresh yeast but have dry go for the dry.  The baking process is too time consuming to be let down by your yeast!
Fresh is preferable when you can get it, but as you see here, dry was the correct option.





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