Pizza Education

by zydecopaws on May 28, 2009

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Pizza stone = round, pizza ≠ round

Oscar Wilde once said “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”  Tonight we ate some experience.  Once again, pizza was on the menu; our troubles began when we tried to get it off the menu and put in on the grill.  Actually, they probably started before that, but this was the point where it became real noticeable.

The pizzas were made with Trader Joe’s fresh pizza dough, and as much as I might want to blame them, I know that the real issues are that neither SWMBO or I have any experience working with fresh pizza dough, we don’t own a pizza peel, and I have stubbornly resisted the urge to use pizza pans to cook with.  Besides, we don’t own any pans anyway.

Once again, the process of getting the pizza transferred in one nice round piece to the pizza stone totally escaped us.  The first one we attempted to transfer from the back of a well-floured cookie sheet; no love here.  Between the two of us we finally managed to drag it onto the stone without seriously burning ourselves, but round was no longer going to be the shape of pizza number one.

What country is this shaped like?

What country is this shaped like?

Pizza number one was made with a whole wheat crust, homemade pizza sauce (tomato paste, tomato sauce, minced garlic, Italian seasonings, and a splash of white wine), mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, olives, and thinly sliced sweet onion.  About 20 minutes later it came off the grill, and in spite of its oblong shape and irregular crust it disappeared in a hurry as there was nothing wrong with the flavor.

Armed with the knowledge that our first approach wasn’t going to work, we avoided insanity and tried something different.  Let me go on record as stating that wax paper also sticks to pizza dough, even when well floured.  Pizza number two consisted of a garlic crust, the same pizza sauce as above, mozzarella cheese, leftover pork tenderloin (one of the herbed varieties from last week, thinly sliced and then shredded), onion, and bell pepper.  The original plan of trying to get the wax paper rolled out from under the pizza while standing over a hot grill was a complete bust.  At that point, I rolled it into a calzone shape, eventually got it loose from the wax paper, and then unrolled it back into something mostly circular.  Of course the problem with this technique is that all the dough pulled out to the edges of the pizza and we ended up a thick-thin crust pizza.

Thick crust on the outside, thin crust on the inside

Thick crust on the outside, thin crust on the inside

This one came off the stone easier as not as much wet stuff came in contact with it during the transfer process.  Once again, in spite of all this, the finished product was actually very tasty.  It turns out that leftover pork tenderloin makes a real nice topping after all (lets just say I was real skeptical when I was assembling the pizza and leave it at that).

I guess pizza pans are in our near future as the taste of homemade pizza (even if we are cheating by purchasing the dough at TJ’s) is far superior to anything we can get local.  Either that or one of us is going to have to go to work in a pizzeria where they make their own dough and don’t use pans so that we can get some experience in transferring the pizza to the oven, or in our case, the grill.

Oh, and no weather report for this cook.  All you need to know is that the temperature was in the mid-80s today, and we don’t particularly want to make too much noise about it as it will cause an influx of folks that don’t realize it rains a lot here…

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