It’s been a while since the last post and that was originally unintentional, but soon became quite intentional. I’ve been taking the time to educate, and in some cases, re-educate myself on racism in this country. For those who don’t follow my personal Instagram (@jenyuphoto), I’m listing a few of the pods and reads I’ve recently recommended:
1) The Scene on Radio podcast is an excellent series of documentary journalism. I highly recommend listening to Season 2: Seeing White, which examines racism in United States, and Season 4: The Land That Never Has Been Yet, a look at how our democracy was built. I cannot recommend these two seasons enough.
2) The 1619 podcast from The New York Times. If you listen to Scene on Radio, you’ll notice a little overlap between the first two episodes of 1619 and the Seeing White (season 2) series. Additionally, Scene on Radio’s John Biewen, in collaboration with Reveal, produced an episode relevant to episodes 5 and 6 of 1619. It’s called Losing Ground and worth a listen.
3) White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. 2018, Beacon Press.
4) 13th on Netflix. Documentary.
5) Hidden Brain episode The Air We Breathe: Implicit Bias and Police Shootings.
6) The Electoral College’s Racist Origins, from The Atlantic (Nov 2019).
This is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a start. I continue to work my way through more material. For those who are upset or offended by the list, I think #3 is right up your alley. If you don’t want “politics” on a food blog, we’ve discussed this in the past and just like before, you can find another food blog to read. No one is going to miss you. So, bye.
The last time I posted, hints of spring were sprouting in our mountains. Now we have entered proper summer, but I wanted to document the familiar transition that kept me grounded throughout the tumultuous combo of the pandemic, Black Lives Matter movement, economic nosedive, and general incompetence/malfeasance of the current administration.
signature spring green in the aspen stands
a pair of happy morels
not a great season, but not a terrible season (yuki for scale)
the start of thunderstorm season
paddleboarding says summertime
happy to still find snow up high
the blooming of the wildflowers is underway
I haven’t been one to follow Taco Tuesdays, Meatless Mondays, or Pizza Fridays at our house. We are neither that organized nor regimented. The menu I generate results from an intersection of what we have, what needs to be eaten, and what is available at the market. During the pandemic I decided to give pan pizza a try instead of our usual hand-tossed grilled sourdough pizzas. And you know what? It’s so good that we’ve made it a regular on our menu. Regular, as in, it happens every 10 days or so. Regular, because we still love it every time it comes out of the oven. That’s why I’m posting this on the blog, because I use the recipe all the time. It requires flour, which is thankfully coming back to store shelves. It also requires yeast (I use active dry yeast) that remains in short supply. Luckily, I dug up a half jar of yeast in my basement refrigerator. The expiration date was August 2015, but yeast are hardy little organisms. I dropped a few granules in a small bowl of room temperature water and watched them bloom and foam within a minute. Still good!
for the dough: flour, water, yeast, olive oil, kosher salt
whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl
stir in the water and oil
form a shaggy dough with no dry pockets of flour
The dough takes about 2 minutes to measure and mix. Then you cover it with plastic, set it on the counter at room temperature, and walk away. That dough can rise for as little as 8 hours or as long as 24 hours. I opted for 24 hours to maximize flavor development. The warmer the room, the more active your yeast and the faster the dough rises. Generally a temperature between 65°F and 75°F will work. Any cooler and the dough may require more time. Warmer temperatures will require less time.
When the dough (or you) are ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. It’s sticky stuff, so I like to sprinkle a little extra flour on top of the dough before working it. This recipe makes two pizzas and requires 2 cast iron skillets. Kenji uses 10-inch skillets, but I have a 10-inch and a 12-inch skillet. Instead of cutting the dough in half, I divvy it according to the percentage each skillet’s base surface area is of the combined skillets’ base areas. Now, the 10-inch skillet is actually 10-inches in diameter on the top of the skillet where it is more flared than the base. My 10-inch skillet has an 8-inch diameter base and my 12-inch skillet has a 10-inch diameter base. I work the math out in the note at the end of the recipe for anyone needing help with that. Math is your friend, folks. Math is your friend.
risen and ready
place the dough on a floured work surface
cut the dough into 2 pieces
shape the dough into balls
Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into each skillet. I found that a tablespoon or more resulted in a lot of splattering of hot oil in the oven. I’ve reduced the oil to 1-2 teaspoons simply because I don’t like the mess in the oven, but you can adjust according to your preferences. Place the ball of dough in the skillet and roll it around the bottom of the pan to spread the oil. Flip the ball over to coat the dough in oil and then slightly flatten the ball into a disc. Repeat for the other pan. Cover both pans and let the dough balls rise for 2 hours.
add oil to the skillets
coat the dough ball in oil and flatten it
cover and rise for 2 hours
When the dough is finishing the second rise, preheat your oven to 550°F. I’d like to point out that my willingness to run a HOT oven in a non-air conditioned house in summer is testament to the freaking awesomeness of this pan pizza. While the oven preheats, use your fingertips to press the dough from the center out to the edges of the pan. The dough yields easily, so just boss it around until the base is completely covered. Next, lift the edge of the dough up to release any trapped air underneath and lower the dough from the center to the edge. I call this burping. Continue to burp the dough around the entire perimeter.
press the dough to the edges of the pan
burp the dough all around the sides
The basic ingredients to go atop your dough are: sauce, mozzarella cheese, kosher salt, and Parmesan cheese (to finish). Does it have to be red sauce? No! You can use barbecue sauce, pesto, garlic butter, white sauce, whatever you are willing to eat. As for the cheese, that’s also up to you. Based on my experience, the firm and shreddable mozzarella is superior to the fresh mozzarella (that I typically use on my grilled pizzas) for pan pizza. The flourish comes with your other optional ingredients. We like mushrooms, greens (sautéed broccolini, chopped sautéed kale, sautéed dandelion greens), pepperoni, crumbled spicy Italian sausage, asparagus, corn, prosciutto, etc. Just keep in mind that anything with excess moisture can render your pizza a bit soggy. I tend to cook mushrooms and greens ahead of time and press them with paper towels to remove the extra liquid.
the basics: sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, kosher salt
added pepperoni and broccolini on this version
sliced batter fried morels, mozzarella, broccolini, kale, dandelion greens, kosher salt, garlic butter, parmesan
ready to bake
They key to a good pan pizza is not to skimp on the cheese and to distribute the ingredients all the way to edge of the pan. That’s actually the absolute best part where the cheese and oil and sauce mingle and brown into a crisp edge of umami bliss. So please do that part. The cooking time is 12-15 minutes, but my oven requires 16 minutes to get that mottled browning on top (which we love). Once the pizzas come out of the oven, sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of grated Parmesan on top. Do this while the pizza is HOT so the cheese can meld and become one with the pizza. Now, if the bottom of the crust is not golden, which mine never is, set the skillets over stove burners on medium flame for 2-3 minutes. I set mine on medium-high flames for 3 minutes. Check the crusts to make sure they don’t burn, because they will if left too long. I found a nifty use for my big round cake spatula – I lift the edge of the pizza with a regular spatula enough to get the cake spatula underneath and lift it out of the skillet in one piece. Slice it up on a cutting board and it’s pizza time!
the red pizza
the green and mushroom pizza
serve it hot
never gets old
400g (14 oz. or 2 1/2 cups) bread flour, all-purpose flour works, too
10g (2 tsps) kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
4g (1 tsp) instant yeast
275g (9.5 oz. or 1 cup + 3 tbsps) water
8g (~2 tsps) extra virgin olive oil, plus more to coat the pans
1 1/2 cups pizza sauce
12 oz. full fat hard mozzarella cheese, shredded
toppings of your choice
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
Place the flour, salt, yeast, water, and olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Stir (or use the paddle attachment of a stand mixer) the ingredients together until well-mixed and no pockets of dry flour remain. Cover with plastic wrap and rest at room temperature (no hotter than 75°F) for 8-24 hours (I prefer the 24-hour option).
Remove the plastic from the bowl and sprinkle some flour on top. Generously flour your work surface. Turn the dough out onto the work surface (I use a soft pastry scraper to get it all out of the bowl) and divide the dough into two pieces*. Pour 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil in the center of each pan (I pour a little less to avoid major oil splatters in the oven). Shape each piece of dough into a ball. I do this by flouring my hands and holding the dough in my left hand while lightly smoothing the dough from the top, contouring down the side, to the base, and repeating this motion around the entire piece until it is tidy and spherical. Set a ball of dough in each pan, turning to the coat the dough in oil and moving it around to oil the bottom of the pan. Slightly flatten the dough. Cover the pans with plastic and let rise for 2 hours at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 550°F. With the tips of your fingers, flatten and spread the dough to the edges of the pan until the entire bottom is lined with dough. You can gently lift the edges up to burp any air pockets, repeating for the entire perimeter of the pan. Spread sauce on top of the dough, then distribute the cheese over the sauce. Sprinkle with salt and any desired toppings. Kenji drizzles olive oil over the top, but I don’t do that anymore because it makes a mess in my oven. Bake 12-15 minutes (I go 16 minutes) until the cheese is bubbly and starts to turn golden. Remove from oven and sprinkle the Parmesan on top. If the bottom is not golden (mine never is), place each pan on a stove burner set to medium flame (I use high) for 1-3 minutes until the bottom is crisp, but not burned. Remove from pan, slice, and serve hot. Makes 2 10-inch pizzas.
* If you have two 10-inch cast iron skillets, you can divvy the dough equally. If, like me, you have a 12-inch skillet and a 10-inch skillet, then we need to talk. First off, cast iron skillets are beveled at the edges and flare out as you go up from the base of the pan. Cast iron skillet sizes are based on the diameter of the top (the widest part) of the pan. My 12-inch skillet has a 10-inch base diameter and my 10-inch skillet has an 8-inch base diameter. I divide my dough according to the ratio of the surface area of each pan to the surface area of both pans.
The surface area of each pan is: pi x radius2, where the radius is half of the diameter of the pan. The radius of the smaller pan is 4 inches and the radius of the larger pan is 5 inches. The surface area of the smaller pan is pi x 42 and the surface area of the larger pan is pi x 52. Adding them together you get a total surface area of pi x (42 + 52) or pi x (16 + 25) or 41pi. To figure out the percentage of dough to place in the smaller pan, divide the surface area of the smaller pan by the total surface area: 16pi/41pi or 16/41 or approximately 40%. I weigh my dough in grams, multiply by 0.4 and that’s the amount of dough that goes in the smaller pan. The rest goes in the larger pan.
more goodness from the use real butter archives
|the woodward pizza||sourdough pizza||emerald kale pesto pizza||basic pizza dough (db)|