We decided to try our hand at homemade pizza for the first time last night. Technically we’ve tried it before, with a semi-cheating type of dough that doesn’t have to rise, and although it turned out fine, it wasn’t the delicious thin-crusted awesomeness we were going for, so this was our first, honest-to-goodness, let the dough rise properly under a damp cloth attempt.
We opted for a recipe out of our favourite Jamie Oliver cookbook. He’s never steered us wrong yet, and the recipe looked simple enough. Jamie went so far as to call it ‘fool-proof”. Jamie’s never met us though.
At one point in the recipe, the instructions tell you to put the flour and sifted salt mixture on your worksurface, and then make a well in the middle, into which you’ll pour your wet ingredients (mixed with the yeast). I read and re-read the instructions to make absolutely sure I was reading it correctly, and that we were not in fact supposed to be doing this in a bowl. We were apprehensive about this step from the beginning, but as aforementioned – Jamie’s never steered us wrong yet, and Jamie said it was foolproof.
So we followed the directions to the letter.
And this is what happened:
(Chris would like to point out that he is only wearing this apron because a more manly alternative wasn’t available and it was an emergency)
Need a close-up on that? Here you go:
In summary, while pouring the liquid ingredients into the ‘flour well’, the flour wall sprung a leak, and what started out as a tiny dribble of leaking olive oil, yeast, and lukewarm water quickly turned to disaster. The flour wall collapsed, the liquid ingredients got completely out of hand, and before we knew it, we had an unusable mess covering our counter, floor, stovetop, and somehow, most of the pots and pans inside the cupboard below.
To add insult to injury, this happened about 5 minutes after we discussed how convenient it was that we had just enough flour and yeast in the house to complete the recipe.
Hence, a trip to the grocery store was in order before we could try again. We also had to buy a mop, as this incident quickly reminded us that we don’t yet have one.
We quickly got back to work upon our return, this time throwing Mr. Oliver’s advice aside, and making the dough in a bowl, rather than on the counter. This was significantly safer, and resulted in a lovely, smooth, elastic dough, which smelled quite delicious, even while raw.
This new and improved delicious and edible dough turned into a much more satisfactory end-product, which looked something like this (before it was cooked):
(Those who know me will know that a pizza with this many toppings can’t possibly be mine. I like the simple approach, so mine had proscuitto, pineapple, and lots of mozzarella. Chris’ on the other hand had essentially everything else we had in the fridge, and even a couple of things he found in the freezer)
The end result was absolutely delicious, so we’re calling this project a success. In declaring it a success, we’re choosing to ignore the fact that we started cooking at 4:30 and didn’t manage to produce anything edible til 9.