Monday, June 15, 2020

Pizza at Home - Thin Crust Pizza

Sunday night once again, and that means that it's pizza day. I love pizza day.
So far we've taken on the challenge to make Chicago Deep Dish Pizza and Pizza Margherita. Today for our next challenge, I'm going to attempt a Thin Crust pizza on the BBQ grill.
Since it's thin crust pizza, I'm going to need a sauce that is nice and thick. A watery sauce would mean watery pizza dough, and that's not what we're going for. The night before I used a recipe from Food.com to make the Ultimate Pizza Sauce. It starts with celery, onions, and garlic. Knowing they're ending up in a pizza sauce, instead of chopping them, I sent them through the food processor and pulverized them into bits. It also made sautéing them easier.

Next up were all the spices, including a couple Bay Leaves.

It's looking pretty thick already, but I know if I give it some heat for a little while, it'll bring all the flavors together even better. While that was reducing down, I also made the pizza dough.

Now that is a very thick and savory tomato sauce. It's going to be perfect for putting on pizza.

When we did Deep Dish Pizza, I made my own baguette so I could have bread and balsamic. Theresa has a few tomatoes on the counter that are going to need to be used. She has the perfect plan for them to go along with our meal, but first, I need to make some more homemade baguettes. I used the same recipe as before for French Bread. But because I can, I'm going to do some experimenting too.

I made four different loaves today.

If only I could convey how good the house was smelling while this was baking. Theresa and I were in the front yard and I could smell it all the way from there. Fresh bread is so simple, but so very tasty.

And as expected, it didn't last very long. Just as I was pulling the first loaves out of the oven, Chi and Richard appeared. That's convenient timing. I cut up a few pieces and spread soft butter over them.

Alli was back and forth to the kitchen asking for another piece of bread.

And then Theresa pulled out the honey. That makes it even more delicious.

The next two loaves came out of the oven, and it was time to do our taste test.

Here's our 4 loaves. There were two variables. The first variable was the total amount of time that the bread was kneaded in the kitchen-aid. The second variable was the overall time that the bread proofed before going into the oven.
From the left to the right:
1. 5 minutes kneading, 25 minutes proof
2. 5 minutes kneading, 45 minutes proof
3. 15 minutes kneading, 25 minutes proof
4. 15 minutes kneading, 45 minutes proof
I tried to keep everything as even as possible between all four loaves, even weighing the dough to make sure they're getting the same amount. It's clear the dough that kneaded for 15 minutes rose more than the ones that went for 5 minutes.
But, despite looking fluffier, the winner was dough number 1. It only saw 5 minutes being kneaded, so the resulting bread was light. The bread that went longer was chewier, and if you're just having it with butter, the light bread was desired. There didn't seem to be much difference between 1 and 2 with the extra proof time. That just tells me that the next time I make this bread, I don't need to wait very long before baking it.

Time for Theresa to make her thing that will accompany my bread. Bruschetta!
I used to not like bruschetta, or even raw tomatoes. But ever since our trip to Italy back in 2013, when I had some really delicious bruschetta from an Italian tourist trap restaurant.

Theresa and her sister both love to make this recipe for Double Tomato Bruschetta from allrecipes.com. The only difference being that they swap the amounts for the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil, preferring a tangier bruschetta to an oily bruschetta.

On to the pizza dough. I made it the night before and let it mature in the fridge overnight. The recipe is from Food.com for Thin Crust Pizza Dough. It promised to make 2 12" pizzas, so I made 50% more so I'll get 3 pizzas out of it.

I took my pizza baking stone to the grill, turned the heat on Medium-High, and let it come up to temperature for 45 minutes. A quick temperature check, 630F, that's a lot hotter than my oven can get. I tossed a few wood chips into my smoker box and hoped it would give the pizza a wood-fired flavor.
I put the first pizza on the grill, set my timer for 5 minutes. Other websites I'd looked at said to expect it to cook for 10-12 minutes.
I came back out 5 minutes later and YIKES, this pizza is way too done. Pictures will be shown later.

Good thing I have 2 more pizza doughs to get it right. I topped the second one half and half, for the kids and for Theresa and Chi.

And then for Richard and myself, I used pineapples, goat cheese, and fresh mozzarella from last week's pizza.

Smile kids! Because it's pizza day!

So is this really thin crust? It's not what I would usually consider thin crust. Even though I rolled the dough super thin, it ended up with a little chew to it. Definitely not a cracker type crust, though the bottom is crunchy.

I learned that it's important to "dock" the pizza dough with a fork so it doesn't form big air bubbles.

And here's the results of that first pizza. That bottom crust is way too burnt. It's inedible.

Theresa's bruschetta looks amazing. She toasted my baguettes and brushed the tops with olive oil.

It was so good.

I love bruschetta. I spooned extra juices on it to give it even more of a balsamic flavor and had those juices running down my chin.

Here's my tasty plate for the night. The pizza was good, but not anything amazing. Thin crust isn't my favorite anyway.

After being assured we weren't going to give them the burnt pizza, the kids were pretty happy with theirs. They liked it better than the Deep Dish, and as much as the pizza from last week.

But the standout star today has been the baguettes. Alli which one is better? She pointed at both the buttered bread and the bruschetta.
Alli - The flavors mix together in my mouth. It's so good.

And at the end of the meal, all the toasted bread and nearly the entire bowl of bruschetta tomatoes was gone!

Who likes the bread?

It's unanimous around the table. The bread is the winner today.

Well Thin Crust Pizza day didn't exactly go off without any problems, but it's still good enough to count it. That's 3 pizza types we've done at home so far. Now to figure out which one we're doing next!

1 comment:

  1. Quite a baking bread aroma to smell it outside in the front yard...one can only imagine how good it smelled inside the house (too mouth-watering to describe!) Very interesting experiment on varying the kneading and proof time on the bread. Wow...only 5 minutes to completely blacken the bottom of the crust...good thing you checked much sooner than the 10-12 minutes, else your fire extinguisher may have been needed :-) Homemade bruschetta, bread, and pizza crust...delicious bounty! You and Theresa are really flexing your chef skills!!! EOM

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