Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Have Pizza/Should Travel

    I have had numerous friends ask me to bring a pizza over to their house and cook it for their guests at their house. I am flattered but it really isn't all that easy. I don't have a problem with people enjoying my pizza. What I do have a problem with is making the process portable. Just short of becoming a caterer it would involve a sizable undertaking. The logistics are barely available for myself in a kitchen of my own and that I am familiar with. Next, and I think, most important, is that it doesn't end up being a pizza in a can or in this case, a box with vacuum sealed bags that remind us too much of our childhood. Remember spaghetti in a can? The kids who grew up in the 50's when food exploration and creativity headed south know what I am talking about.
    One of the things that we like to do when we travel is to taste the local vendors foods when in Europe or any large U.S. cities. I can remember the hot dog vendors in downtown Salem, Oregon named Queenies Weenies and Franks Alot. I don't know if they're still there but on a cold day and that steam is blowing down the sidewalk and you get a whiff of those hot dogs it's hard to say no. Sausages and hot dogs seem to be the easiest item to cook and sell on the street as everybody likes a good extra thick sausage steamed or broiled put on a huge french bun with all the goodies. I am no different. When in Berlin or Amsterdam, Munich, Brussels or Copenhagen the temptation is the same but to wash it down with a native beer from that country or better yet, that city is blog worthy. I can remember a time in Edinburgh, Scotland we had walked to the castle at the top of the hill and upon leaving we were getting hungry and thirsty. We asked a local Bobby where a good pub was located nearby. In an accent so heavy that I don't believe Sean Connery would have understood, we headed down the hill in the direction he had pointed. What we thought we heard was Dick and Broodie's turned out to be Deacon Brodie's.  It has become famous over the centuries for the ghosts that are suppose to inhabit it including Deacon Brodie's ghost. Not knowing which ale to order I asked the barkeeper for a smooth dark ale. She poured me a pint that I could only describe as liquid velvet pouring down my throat. This stuff was amazing. Our friends who weren't going to drink until after dinner saw my reaction and bolted for the bar to get a pint. I thought to myself that I must remember this brand as I want to drink this with every meal throughout Europe. Boy, was I naive! It turned out to be a microbrew attainable only at Deacon Brodies in Edinburgh, Scotland. This was major on the WOW factor scale. That's how I want my pizzas to taste. Similar to a micro brewery my pizzas can only travel so far.
Actual mileage may vary
    There is a family up near Auburn that has solved the problem. They show up at local fairs, sporting events and such with their pizza wagon in tow complete with a brick fired Pompeii oven in the back and set up shop to bake authentic home cooked pizza while you stand in line. I haven't yet tried it but from their website it looks like they are doing everything right. Maybe when I get a brick oven built into the back of Sheri's Prius I can start bringing the pizzas to you. So, for now, what I can tell you is to try this dough recipe from Gail. It's an award winning dough that is still my favorite. That pizza wagon isn't going to pull up in front of your house soon so get busy.

Gail's Award Winning Dough Recipe
The following recipe used is from Pizza Therapy
Dough Ingredients:
  • 1 pkg. active yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups warm (110-115F) water (microwave for 1:15 minutes)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil or flavored oil
  • approximately 5 cups Bread Flour (I use high gluten flour
  1. In a food processor or mixer with a dough hook, combine yeast, pinch of sugar and 1/4 cup water, allow yeast to proof, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add salt, oil and 5 cups of flour. Cover and begin processing slowly adding remaining water. Pulse several times in food processor until dough balls together, or using the dough hook kneed about 5 ( I do mine almost 20 minutes) minutes until dough is shiny and elastic.
  3. Place the dough on a floured work surface adding additional flour if too sticky.
  4. Spray large bowl with oil flavored spray. Add dough and turn the dough a few times to coat with the oil.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise for about 1-2 hours, punch down and allow to rise again. The longer the dough is left to rise, the tangier the flavor of the crust will be.
For cooking the pizza you will need additional flour, and olive oil. This recipes makes 4 pizzas. Of course, you need a pizza & baking stone for best results.
Set oven to 500º or 550º and preheat with stone for 45 minutes to an hour. 

No comments:

Post a Comment