Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DB's October Challenge - Pizza and Toppings

This month's challenge, hosted by sweet Rosa of Yummy Yums. She chose an easy pizza recipe from Peter Reinhart's “The Bread Baker's Apprentice”. I was so excited when I found out about this month's challenge... It's perfect!!!! Currently, the place I worked for is a pizza place. Hence, I asked the supervisor if I could use their kitchen for my challenge. She approved and I was so excited.. Of course, I used the recipe provided, bought some ingredients for the toppings and did all on my own.

For this challenge, I wanted to make one dessert pizza (blueberry) and one white pizza (caesar dressing). I used their toppings for the rest of the dough. There is one interesting rule for this challenge. The challenge was to use the tossing method. I thought that I will never be able to make it or my dough will never turn out well. At first, I thought of just skip the tossing method but decided to go for it. It was a little hard at first but from the second toss onwards, I got the hang of it and I was like never wanted to stop and my dear sister who helped to snap the picture, had a hard time to snap when I tossed the dough.. LOL... Oh man, my pizza dough turned out great!

Here, Im trying to toss my dough..

Here are the photo of the pizzas:

Blueberry pizza. Unfortunately, my friend bought the wrong type. He got the blueberry with light syrup instead of the blueberry pie fillings.. But this is as good as the blueberry pie fillings.

I added some feta cheese on top of the blueberry. This one is caesar dressing with turkey ham, sweet pineapple, italian sausages, turkey bacon and cheese with sweet chilli sauce.... this is really good!!!

For the remaining dough, here are some photos................

This is vegetarian pizza: tomatoes, pineapples, black olives, green peppers, feta, mozzarella with pesto sauce as the based. My sun-dried tomatoes got burnt, should have put them before the cheese. :(

This pizza is a mixed of black olives, mushrooms, chicken chunks,pineapples, green peppers, bbq sauce, mozzarella and cheddar cheese with yogurt based.

EQUIPMENT: Stand mixer with paddle and dough hook attachments (optional, see recipe), cooking thermometer, baking sheet, parchment paper, cooking oil, plastic wrap, pizza peel/scraper, pizza stone or pan.

RECIPE SOURCE: “The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread” by Peter Reinhart. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. Copyright 2001. ISBN-10: 1-58008-268-8, ISBN-13: 978-158008-268-6.

Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.
Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches).

4 1/2 Cups (607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast
1/4 Cup (60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting ( I omit this out)

1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.

8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan. (I used vegetable oil so that the dough doesnt stick to the pan)

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

NOTE ON SAUCE: Your sauce (any) should not be too thick as it will thicken in the hot oven. Less is more but make the less truly more by using quality ingredients.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

Thank you to the supervisor, Yaz for letting me use kitchen and some of their ingredients for the pizza....

Thanks to this wonderful challenge, I think they were the best pizzas I ever made.. ;)

I hope everyone had a wonderful time making October's challenge as much as I did! :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Amazing Chocolate Chips Cookies

A lot of people enjoy chocolate chip cookies or in general cookies. So I baked some chocolate chip cookies the other day. Everyone at home enjoyed these cookies. These delicious chocolate chips cookies were gone so quickly!!! It was gone within 2 days after I baked them. Its hard on the outside and soft in the inside. Even when I gave some to my cousin and my best friend, they said the cookies were gone fast too! hehe.. I did post about these chocolate chip cookies in livejournal before but now since I am using blogspot for my food blog, I should post these delicious chocolate chips cookies here too and share with everyone. Just too bad, I am unable to share these cookies with my fiance since we are so far away for now. :(

Here is the recipe.....

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp hot water
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped pistachios (optional, in the photo, I did not use any nuts)

1. Preheat oven to 350 Deg

2. Dissolve baking soda in the hot water. Set aside. Cream together butter and both white and brown sugar until smooth. Add the eggs but one at a time, then stir in vanilla essence.

3. Add to the batter along with salt. Stir in flour, both white and chocolate chips and pistachios. Mix well.

4. Drop by large spoonful onto the cookie sheets.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are nicely browned.

Cheers! :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sweet & Simple Bakes (September) - Vanilla Apple Cake

Maybe, I didnt do it right.... I don't know what happened???? I baked this simple vanilla apple cake. Unfortunately, my cake sunk in the middle and I didn't take a good picture. I was really disappointed with my vanilla apple cake. Here how it looked like.... 

From the picture, you can't really see it but it did... Kind of embarrass to be added in the round up together with the rest of the group.. They did a great job with the vanilla apple cake. You may like to check out here.

See ya!

DB's September Challenge - Lavash Crackers & Toppings

I am super late to post DB September's challenge. I have been so busy with work and preparing for Hari Raya Aidilfitri, I was not able to make the crackers on time.. Today, I finally got a day to make some and post it here..

The challenge is to make Lavash Crackers and create a dip/spread/relish to accompany it. With so much freedom in this challenge, I created my own version of salsa. Unfortunately, I didn't take any measurements... I just estimated on the ingredients.. At the same time, I was not able to find any unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend here, all I got was organic unbleached flour. I could have just used the wheat flour but I totally forgot about it when I went to get the ingredients... Because my oven here is small, I had to divide the dough into 2... I am not sure, if it is right but its all good....

September Challenge - Lavash Crackers & Toppings
Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see for a description of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.


2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.


4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).

6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

You may use your choice of topping/dip/salsa/relish/spread for your lavash crackers as long as it is vegan and gluten free.

For my salsa, I was being creative. I see whatever there were in the refrigerator... I chopped the baby tomatoes, green peppers, garlic, orange, grapes and Chinese parsley. Below is the list:

* baby tomatoes
* green peppers
* garlic
* orange
* grapes (green color - no seeds)
* Chinese parsley
* sugar
* salt and pepper to taste

I want to thank Lisa for letting me post it later than it should be. Thank you, Lisa! :)


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Busy... busy...

I didn't get much sleep these few weeks because of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. So many things to do and my job has been taking most of my time. I also had to make the cookies that my mom's customers had ordered. At the same time, had to clean the house to look pretty and clean.. (hehe) since we'll be expecting a lot of people to visit this year for Hari Raya Aidilfitri... I didn't take time off from work because I just started this new job. Even it is Hari Raya Aidilfitri yesterday, I had to work in the morning.. Gosh!!! I am just soooo tired!!!!

Anyway, for the monthly challenges for Daring Bakers and Sweet and Simple Bakes, I am a little slow this time round, but I will post them up very soon. :(

I also would like to take this opportunity to wish to all Muslims and my Muslims friends in Singapore and around the world,


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