For a few years I have been making Jay’s Signature Pizza Crust. ( …
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Jays-Signature-Pizza-Crust/Detail.aspx?prop31=1< … ) It’s been better than most pizza crusts but never would I have called it a winner. You see, I have this subconscious penchant to kill yeast.
No bread that I have tried to make has survived long enough to make it into the oven. In the case of pizza crust, I’d spread it across the stone and watch it split, shrink and turn color. This last time I decided to ask for help.
The foremost issue is temperature. I was following instruction and putting the yeast in 110* to 120* water with the sugar and salt. The folks on the buzz use
tepid or room temperature, nothing as hot as the directions.
We keep the yeast in the fridge. I was taking the yeast from the 38* of the fridge and putting it into 110* water. If I was in that situation, I think it would
kill me, too.
A few of the buzzers put flour with the proofing. Others mix everything without proofing.
Here’s how I put everything together and wound up with a huge surprise.
I decided to use a stainless steel bowl because it conducts temperature faster than glass bowls. Into it I put all of the dry ingredients, covered the bowl and
put it in my dehydrator at 105* and let it bask there for about ten minutes.
Then I made a crater in the middle of the dry mix and poured in all of warm to touch water. Using a large fork, I mixed it from the liquid into the flour until
it was too stiff and finished the mixing with oiled hands. After this, I covered the dough with oil and then it went to the dehydrator to rise, covered with a plate and plastic wrap. I checked it after a half hour and the dough was pushing the plate up! Jay’s
recipe said to punch it down and use it at this point. So, I did.
The dough seemed sticky to me but one of Jay’s reviewers said he used it at this point to make it stretch. I used the dough in this sticky stage. I covered the
stone with a dusting of cornmeal and stretched the dough over the stone. (I warmed the stone in the oven for two minutes.) When I had the stone covered I noticed that the dough was still rising. That is a first for me! I added the toppings and put the pizza
into the 425* oven. Jay said to let it bake 15-20 minutes so I set the timer for 20 minutes. I checked it at ten minutes and the crust had raised high enough to fall backward over the edge of the stone. Having no other choice, I let it finish baking.
At twenty minutes I took the pizza from the oven and set it on top of the range to cool. It was nicely browned around the edges. The cheese, which was the top
layer, was browned beautifully. I cut it after letting it cool a few minutes.
On behalf of all the responders on the buzz, I’m going to brag. That was the runaway best pizza crust that has ever crossed my tongue and entered my gizzard!
(Enter a four letter adjective with an appropriate superlative here!) It was crispy, not crunchy. (Another first.) Very light but held the toppings well. Best of all, it had that yeasty bread taste that I am crazy about.
As for that oversized edge, it was delicious! It was very airy and easy to eat.
Never again will I use hot water and I will always keep the ingredients warm. I now see no need to proof the yeast outside of the dry mix.
Today, I will make some Pane and bake it in a French loaf pan to see how it will crust with this new (for me) method.
Now I know I can cook a winning bread recipe.
Thank you, buzzers!!!