Rise, my dough, rise.

Posted on Apr 1, 2009 in Food

I’d like to say I don’t get sucked into things. I would. But that’s just not how I’m wired. There was a graham cracker recipe of Alton Brown’s that I made that I was really annoyed with. I swore a pox on him. And yet, there I was, watching him again. This time it was pizza. In my defense, there are others too.

So, I watched the pizza episode and thought that it seemed like a perfectly reasonable plan to make pizza at home. It looked so simple. I momentarily forgot that all recipes are simple if you have the right ingredients at the right temperature in the right measurements sitting in front of you.

AND I love having the right tool for the job. Of course I had rid myself of the stack of tiles I used for baking stones some months ago since they never saw the inside of the oven after the first try. And I had no pizza paddle. Beyond that it’s just ingredients, right? I did my usual google-fu on baking stones, quarry tiles, what other people used, etc. But wait, Alton Brown said he never makes pizzas larger than 12 inches diameter. Ok. I realize what I want is the expensive one. I’ve become a bit of a nut about avoiding things with weird chemicals when it comes to food, and I just couldn’t be sure a quarry tile from Home Depot was gonna be without some kind of chemical. I knew the stone place would have something, but I did a drive by after another errand and they were closed. OK, screw it I thought. I’ll buy the expensive one if I cook pizza weekly for a couple of months.

I’d blown off the specialty equipment for the moment and was on to the ingredients. The ingredients are extraordinarily basic. Sort of. Apparently it’s more like saying “you can make this entire thing from one egg”. Followed by “the egg must come from a Yak on the top of a mountain living in a blue house next to a monk with a tattoo of said Yak”.

It’s just yeast, it’s just flour. I’ve got a reasonble arsenal of baking ingredients. But AB was adamant about instant yeast and bread machine flour. Ok. So, the flour was just high-gluten, and that can be compensated for a little. But the instant yeast is a yeast that you don’t have to proof and it just goes in the dry ingredients like anything else. SIX markets later and no luck on the yeast. Seriously. QFC, Whole Foods, Metropolitan Market, Central Market, PCC and Safeway (first time I’ve been into a Safeway in over a decade – yuck). Nada. I’d read something in a thread on Chowhound about SAF. So that would have been great, but nothing. Back to googling. Apparently there’s a baking place in town, and it happens to be sort of close. They might have it. Yes, well, they might but it was 5:00 on a Sunday and little tiny stores are closed by then. I contemplate delivery times for online orders (in addition to getting a little fixated, I want immediate gratification, despite the fact that this dough has to sit for 24 hours). Crap. I can’t do it. I thought, well, I’m moving on with SAF Perfect rise, which I CAN find.

So, here we are at the actual prep stage. With none of the specific required items.

And it’s basically fine. Clearly it would be better with a baking stone – more crispy. And I used what I had for toppings. But it really was fine. The toddler nearly inhaled half a pizza, and due to timing it turned into a sort of standing-in-the-kitchen-eating-hot-pizza-as-it-came-out-of-the-oven dinner for the adults. I’m still itchy to find SAF Instant Rise. I was kind of hoping to make more pizza.