Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This pizza dough challenge marked my third Daring Bakers' Challenge and the second challenge in a row of savoury instead of sweet. I've made pizza dough before, but never this easily. Our hostess, Rosa from chose a recipe from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice and it will be one that I use again and again. So excited was I to try this new recipe--and so busy multi-tasking (I made ale-sauced ribs, cranberry walnut salad dressing, and chocolate cake simultaneously) that I grabbed the wrong bag of King Arthur's flour. Not to worry, my whole wheat pizza dough worked very well. Next time, however, I'll go for the bread flour.

The basic recipe goes together quickly and makes 6 small pizza crusts or 4 larger ones--I opted for the larger and froze 2 for future use. I like whole wheat pizza dough for my Reuben strombolis (stay tuned, I'll make them soon).

4 1/2 cups (20 1/4 oz) unbleached high-gluten (14%) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup (2 oz) olive oil
1 3/4 cups (14 oz) ice cold water
1 tbs sugar
cornmeal for dusting

Method -- Day One

  • Mix together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in a big bowl

  • Add the oil, sugar, and cold water and mix well to form a sticky ball of dough

  • On a clean surface, knead for about 5 - 7 minutes, until dough is smooth

    (If dough is too wet, add a little flour; if too dry, 1-2 tsp more of water.)
  • Flour a work surface. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and oil the paper

  • Cut the dough into equal pieces--4 or 6 pieces
  • Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Flour your hands and gently round each piece into a ball

  • Tranfer the dough balls to the lined jelly roll pan and mist them generously with spray oil

  • Enclose the pan in a plastic bag or cover with plastic food wrap

  • Put the pan in the refrigerate and let the dough rest overnight or up to 3 days (or freeze)

    Method -- Day Two
  • On the day you plan to eat the pizza, 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the work surface with flour. Place the dough balls on the floured surface and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with flour, mist with oil, and loosely cover dough balls with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 2 hours.
  • At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone in the lower third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees

  • Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly roll pan with cornmeal

  • Flour your hands and place 1 piece of dough carefully across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion; move to a full toss when the dough has expanded outward

  • When the dough has the shape you want, lay it on the floured surface and shape; you may use a rolling pin, if necessary; let dough rest a few minutes

  • Lightly top the dough, remembering that the best pizzas are not topped too generously

  • Slide the garnished pizza onto the baking stone or bake on the inverted pan for 5-8 minutes
  • I made 2 pizzas, my Turkey Alfredo Pizza and a simple Three Cheese Pizza.
Turkey Alfredo Pizza
1 cup shredded smoked turkey breast
1 cup chopped cooked spinach (I used fresh, but defrosted, squeezed dry frozen works)
2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz sliced mushrooms sauteed in 1 tbs butter
1/2 cup Alfredo sauce (I used jarred)
3 oz shredded Fontina cheese

Combine the first 4 ingredients. Spread the Alfredo sauce evenly over crust. Top with turkey mixture. Sprinkle on cheese. Bake as directed above.

For my 3 Cheese Pizza, I spread 1/2 cup pizza sauce evenly over crust. Season with oregano, garlic powder, and grated Asiago cheese. Top with 2 ounces each of shredded Fontina and shredded mozzarella cheese and bake as directed above.

AND NOW, for a little FOODIE FUN:

Gloria from Cookbook Cuisine passed this challenge on to Teresa at after getting it from Camille, at Croque-Camille. Teresa passed it along to me.

Follow along and join us on our phenomenal gathering. We're stranded on a deserted island; or, as Teresa rethought it, a “desserted island”? What 5 foods would you bring? This didn't require too much thinking on my part since I know what I love:

  1. Chocolate-of course I'd bring dark chocolate so that not only would I be feeding my soul, I'd be getting important antioxidants that wouldn't be available since the island is deserted and has no cosmetics' counters.

  2. Pizza-I just can't conceive of a life without pizza. Preferably this would be brick oven pizza with the thinnest of crusts, topped with the freshest buffalo mozzarella and basil and just a touch of tomato sauce, thickened with sun-dried tomatoes. See above for a glorious recipe.
  3. Bread-if I could have just one kind of bread, foccaccia would be my choice. If I could add a few favorites, my bread basked would include a few loaves of ciabatta, semolina, and baguettes.

  4. Soppressata-or salami, or both. I need to have something to put on the bread. Maybe there'll be some leftover mozzarella from the pizza and I can put them BOTH on the bread; yum!

  5. Wine-I'd like to have a combination of reds and whites--a nice Santa Margherita and a really good Sangiovese.

It may not be your food pyramid on a good day, but I would find sustenance in this combination. And now I'd like to "tag" a few more of our fellow foodies to play:

Kathy of and I share a love of our Breville Ikon panini grills. Her photographs and recipes always make my mouth water. I challenge you not to want to run right out and buy a grill to try one of her happy concoctions.

Rachel, The Crispy Cook of is living one of my dreams. In addition to being a foodie, she owns a used and rare book store in upstate NY. I met her at where we're presently reading Lily Prior's La Cucina. Rachel's recipes inspire me to eat healthier.

Deb of has been living in paradise for 7 years. Another foodie friend living out one of my dreams--my 13 trips to Hawaii instilled a deep love for this magical place--Deb's recipes are always something that I want to eat...right now! Deb is one of the 3 creators of Cook the Books.

So, Kathy, Rachel, and Deb, what 5 food items would you need to survive on your deserted island?


  1. I like your pizzas! Great job!!!

    I love this dough recipe and how easy it was to work with!

  2. Your choice of ingredients for pizza toppings sound delicious :D.

  3. Wonderful looking pizzas - great job!

  4. Great pizzas! Your kitchen must have smelled divine :-)

    I'm going to start thinking about my 5 "desserted" island foods - shouldn't take me long!

  5. Your toppings sound delicious!

  6. Love your choice of toppings. Yum!

  7. Ooh, great food choices Arlene. Chocolate..great minds! And wine. Well, so far we have wine, Kahlua, Tequila, lots and lots of coffee, and I think Prudence said she refused to be on a deserted island without her Vodka. I'd say we have the beverages taken care of. BTY, you pizza looks great. Have you ever made dessert pizza?

  8. Great pizzas! That pie in the next post is pretty awesome too!

  9. Good job with the challenge! The turkey alfredo pizza sounds delicious.

  10. turkey alfredo pizza sounds divine! Great job!

  11. Your three cheese pizza sounds so good. Perfect for these shorter, colder days.

    Nice work!

  12. your cheese pizza looks good! i'll post the bacon brownies later today :)

  13. They look so delicious! And wow you're such a master of multi tasking doing all of those things along with the pizzas :)

  14. Arlene, Love your Turkey Alfredo Pizza!
    Better keep close tabs on the chocolate you're bringing. You know how Teresa is about chocolate. :)

  15. Thanks for the comment, I love your 3-cheese pizza, looks soo good!!

  16. Arlene, don't listen to Gloria. I would NEVER take your chocolate. There is a creed among chocoholics. Respect each persons stash! Unlike some people who would take your coffee without blinking an eye. I do so love your blog my friend.

  17. Arlene, You have to watch Teresa very carefully. While she may respect a fellow chocoholic, she's not above stealing someone's Kahlua and using it as an "optional" ingredient in a ganache. HAH! It's "optional" because she's drinking it all. :) Good thing I haven't told her where the Kahlua factory is on the island.

  18. If she PROMISES to make a Kaluha ganache,Gloria, can we cut her some slack? I'm a sucker for ganache.

  19. Looks delicious and soooo sweet....

  20. Great job on the challenge-- I made my pizza dough with all white flour but thought that adding a bit of wheat flour would have given it more flavor.

  21. I believe I just drooled...or my lips smacked really loud. Something like that. Nice job!

  22. Oh, what lovely pizzas! I love the one with spinach especially. Now why didn't I think of that instead of reaching for the squeeze bottle of Heinz tomato ketchup?
    (Your desert island basket is hilarious - methinks you have more than 5 things in it. Haha!)

  23. Your pizza look so scrumptious =)

  24. Good to know it also works with whole wheat! Very nice looking pizzas!

  25. Awesome pizzas! Love the way your crust came out :)

  26. I love the look of the pizza, well done!


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