Dan Callaghan

Pizza dough adventures

On my way to buy groceries today yesterday (ew, 3am?) I was considering what to make for dinner tonight, and pizza took my fancy. Then I remembered my resolution never to buy pre-made pizza bases again, after the consistently disastrous results that I have had with them. (As it happens they were sold out at Coles anyway, apart from some bizarre “pizza cheese crusts” which were five bucks each — wtf!?) So I grabbed what I needed for the topping, knowing that I had all the basics for the dough already.

Anna Maria Volpi

So at around 8pm it occurred to me I should start making the dough. After a bit of googling (sorry, Googling™), I eventually settled on this crazy Italian lady’s pizza dough recipe, because it looked straight-forward and there were lots of images (and even a video of kneading) for the domestically-challenged like me. And the quantities were in metric.

I realised at this point that I had left things a bit late, considering that the dough needs to rise for one or two hours, but I decided to power ahead. After a lot of tedious sifting (I don’t have a flour sieve so I used a strainer) and a rather sticky situation due to my inability to estimate 500g of flour (I don’t have any scales), I finally had a blob of kneaded dough that seemed to be of the right consistency.

Next came the rising step. I noticed the dough already seemed to have expanded a bit in the time it took me to sort out the stickiness issue, so I figured it wouldn’t grow much more. I put it on an oiled plate (no clean bowls left) and covered it with a teatowel, as instructed by the recipe.

I returned to the kitchen an hour later to discover a thing of monstrous proportions lurking underneath the teatowel:

Dough monster

According to Ms Volpi the risen dough was supposed to have doubled in size, but I’m fairly sure it was more like triple its original size. The creepiest thing about it was how it felt when I poked it — because it was mostly air, and because it felt a little warm, it was like prodding some bloated living thing. Then I had to “punch it to eliminate air bubbles”, as instructed:

Punched dough

And then of course it was a matter of rolling out some of the dough and making a pizza with it. I stuck with my usual toppings, skipping the onion though since I was in such a hurry (we’re now talking 10pm so I was getting pretty hungry!). This was the result:

Tasty pizza

Without a doubt the tastiest pizza I’ve ever had!

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