Test Pies for the Pizza Party
Thank you all for the suggestions on the Talk thread I started about the upcoming pizza-catering gig Girl Slice roped me in to. Lots of great advice on drinks, go-withs, and the actual "pizza playlist." Here's where I am so far ...
Above is the pizza patate that I tested out last night thanks to ESNY1077's suggestion. I need at least one (preferably two) cheese-free pizzas for this thing, since one of the guests is apparently lactose-intolerant.
But before I talk toppings, maybe I should start on Thursday night, when I first made the dough ...
Testing the Dough Tray
As you know if you were reading Friday, I picked up a new Emile Henry rectangular pizza stone last week. But while I was at Pizza a Casa, I also grabbed a set of DoughMate Artisan dough trays — half-size dough-storage boxes that fit in a home fridge.
I knew I wanted to test both pizza thickness and a couple possible topping combos, so I made two batches of dough (a hybrid CI–JKLA dough) and portioned one batch into three 273-gram balls and the other into two 410-gram balls.
One thing I worried about regarding the DoughMate trays, though, was this:
I imagined my doughs expanding and blorbing together during the cold ferment period. And they did.
One thing I learned in both the Brooklyn Kitchen pizza class and the Pizza a Casa class is the sort of "cheat" you can do by portioning out your dough immediately post-knead and placing each ball in a plastic container to rise. Both classes pointed out that this does something very helpful: Starts you out with a circle after you invert the container and let the dough plop onto the counter.
With the DoughMate, I knew I'd be doing what many real pizzerias do — gently lifting the dough from the tray, trying to keep the circular shape all the while. Sometimes I was successful:
Sometimes I wasn't:
Plain pizza #2 pretty much was D-shaped because I didn't handle my dough gently enough. (And that's after I completely destroyed the first dough ball of the night trying to get it unstuck from its neighbors.) My other doughs didn't fare that well, either, with only two of my four pizzas of the night coming out anywhere near circular and evenly stretched and one dough so completely ruined I just tossed it.
Lesson learned: Don't switch horses midstream. Or, in this case, for the pizza party on Saturday, I'm going to portion my doughs into my trusty Gladware plastic tubs.
Girl Slice and I also decided I should use the larger dough portions to make 13-inch pizzas — the size you get if you follow the original recipes as directed.
Testing Some Toppings
Definitely on the Menu
Pickled vegetable pizza
Various freestyle off-menu selections with whatever ingredients I have on hand
The other thing I wanted to test was a new-to-me topping — Yukon gold potato, as suggested by ESNY1077. OK, I'd heard of this before — it's new to me in that this was the first time I've tried it. I used a mandoline to slice the potatoes to 1/8-inch thick, then, as ESNY suggested, I marinated them in olive oil with salt and rosemary for about 3 hours before draining them and topping up a pie.
The flavor here was good, though Girl Slice said "Needs more rosemary — and more salt."
That's easy enough. But what I might do for Saturday is follow the Jim Lahey method, which has you brine the potato slices first before then tossing them with olive oil, rosemary, and salt. I'm hoping this helps them crisp up a little bit more than they did tonight.
Still, even as prepared, this one was a keeper. It's going on the Saturday menu.
This one, however, isn't.
I've had pretty rotten luck with brussels sprout–topped pizza. If I prep them and put them on raw (as at Motorino), the leaves burn.
For the pizza just above, though, tried marinating the leaves in olive oil for three hours, which I've heard of other people doing. It seemed to help keep the leaves from burning, but the resulting pizza was too oily. And it just didn't have that Motorino magic. I want to keep experimenting with this pizza, but it's off the menu for the party, since the party is not the place for experimentation. I just need shit that works there.
Anyway, I've got a busy week with this stuff. I'll keep you updated if there's anything interesting beforehand. If not, catch me on the other side with a recap of the event.