two skinny jenkins


130126 – Pizza Revisited
130214, 8:49 pm
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130126_Pizza_revisedA couple of things have made our pizzas of late better than they used to be.  1. We have a REAL oven now that gets up to 550 F.  2. I have started adding more water to the dough.

Now that I am back to bread-baking, I’ve realized that our old faithful recipe has yielded something like a ciabatta consistency dough.  It is important that the dough be just on the stickier side of the sticky / tacky spectrum.   It is tempting to add too much flour when kneading in order to make the dough easier to handle, but aim instead for a dough that is slightly sticky and pliable.  When we’re feeling really good about the dough, we make this sauce recipe with san marzano tomatoes.

I love looking back to see how far we’ve come with our pizza skills!

  • 3 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1/2 t instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups ice water
  • 1 T vegetable oil, plus more for work surface
  • 1 1/2 t table salt
  1. In food processor fitted with metal blade, process flour, sugar, and yeast until combined, about 2 seconds. With machine running, slowly add water through feed tube; process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough stand 10 minutes.
  2. Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of the bowl, 30 – 60 seconds. Remove dough from bowl and knead briefly on lightly oiled countertop until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.  (We aim to make the dough 2 days before using it for best results.)

 



120821 – The Real Dough
120822, 5:14 pm
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Adapted From Cook’s Illustrated

  • 3 cups (16 1/2 ounces) bread flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups ice water (about 10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for work surface
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  1. In food processor fitted with metal blade, process flour, sugar, and yeast until combined, about 2 seconds. With machine running, slowly add water through feed tube; process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough stand 10 minutes.
  2. Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of workbowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove dough from bowl and knead briefly on lightly oiled and floured countertop until smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.  I strongly recommend making the dough 2-3 days in advance of baking.  That way it will give you a nice and bubbly crust (like the photo!).


100124 – New Pizza Pan
100125, 10:30 pm
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We have missed two ‘Pizza Friday’s’ in a row and couldn’t hold out one more before trying out our new cast iron pizza pan.  My parents got us the pan for Christmas and this was the first time that we had gotten to use it.  We have completely given up on pizza stones – after breaking only FOUR of them over the 2 1/2 years we have been married.

I just realized that the pizza looks like an amorphous blob – I will be sure to form the pizza myself this week.

Toppings: Sun dried tomatoes, olives, lots of onions, and mozzarella cheese.

Crust recipe to come…



090918 – Pepper Pizza
090919, 4:38 pm
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Pepper pizza

This is the first time in a long time that Joe and i have shared a uniformly topped pizza.  Typically, my half has a lot of sauteed/ semi fancy toppings, and his looks a bit like what you might find on a dominos menu.  I decided to give his style of pizza a try tonight and really enjoyed the simplicity of sweet peppers (Italian and red), onions, and grape tomatoes.  It was especially tasty with some red pepper flakes on top… sweet and spicy.

I used the same crust recipe as usual, but left it on the sticky side while kneading.  This proved to be a good thing and made it softer than usual on the inside.  After proofing for two hours, dividing into thirds, and shaping one into a disc, i drizzled it with olive oil, covered it with aluminum foil (so it wouldn’t stick) and let it sit an extra hour or so before baking (as the oven preheated).

The sauce was delicious and homemade and contained:

  • 6 halved and seeded cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 t onion powder
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t sugar
  1. mix it all with an immersion blender till the tomatoes are completely crushed.  Yum.


090911 – pizza friday – better and better
090912, 12:03 pm
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My slice

I personally thought that this was the best pizza in the past 3 weeks.  I have been using the same dough each time, and realizing how much technique influences the results.  This week’s crust was crunchy on the bottom, soft on top, and FULL of bubbles.  Toppings were roasted garlic, sauteed portabello mushrooms, sauteed onions, cherry tomatoes, and sprinkled sea salt.  Perfecto! Here are my steps to a perfect pizza:

  1. I start by transferring the dough (click for recipe) from the freezer to the fridge the day before baking.  The day of baking, i remove the dough from the fridge around 5:30 (or at least an hour before shaping).
  2. To shape the dough, i coat a sheet pan with semolina flour (coarse grain cornmeal would probably also work) and press the dough into a disc using oiled hands.  I have stopped using parchment paper to transfer pizza to the stone, so the semolina helps to slide the crust onto the pizza stone.
  3. After shaping, i like to lightly coat the dough with oil, and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.  i think this helps develop better bubbles.
  4. Now top the pizza with a little sauce (slow cooked from fresh tomatoes is best, but we often use canned crushed tomatoes).  Add your choice of toppings (2-4 max) and then top with cheese (we use sargento’s Italian blend).  Maybe a little sea salt or basil.
  5. The temperature dial on our oven here does not go over 500° F and i doubt that the oven even reaches that.  The dough is so sticky to start with that i have to bake it on the sheet pan for 5 minutes then use a spatula to slide it off, then continue baking for another 7 minutes to crisp the crust. If you can, bake it at 550° F for a total of 7 minutes.
  6. Finally, do NOT rinse your pizza stone.  Simply wipe it off and let the hot oven do the ‘cleaning’.


090828 – Roasted Garlic Pizza
090828, 10:18 pm
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Roasted Garlic Pizza

So, this was pretty good, but it wasn’t the greatest pizza i have ever made, but the photo above does not do it justice.

This is the first time in a long time that i have dared to make a wheat pizza crust for Joe.  I am using the dough recipe from the New Best Recipe and substituting 1/3 of the bread flour with white wheat. This recipe yields 2 medium sized pizzas (one pizza is plenty for two hungry Jenkins).

Fortunately, our oven here is small, but just barely wide enough for our pizza stone.  Unfortunately, it claims to only reach 500F, but i doubt it makes it that high.  Instead of cooking our pizza the usual 7 minutes, I had to keep it in for 12-13 minutes, drying it out.  When i cook our leftover (frozen) dough next Friday, i will try spraying the crust with extra oil before baking.  If that doesn’t work, the next week i will try spraying the oven walls with water a couple times while cooking.  I’ll keep you posted.

  • 2 2/3 C bread flour
  • 1 1/3 C whole wheat flour
  • 3 t yeast
  • 3/4 C warm (90 F) water
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 C lukewarm water
  1. sprinkle yeast over 3/4 C warm water and let sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy.
  2. pulse flour and salt in food processor to fluff and mix.
  3. add 1 C additional water plus olive oil to the yeast mixture, then slowly pour over flour in the food processor.
  4. mix until the water is fully incorporated.
  5. turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead until only slightly tacky.
  6. place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  7. gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and cut into three pieces.  I typically freeze two.  Just make sure that you put them in the fridge the day before you plan to use them.
  8. At this point, you can either bake it immediately, or (if you have things to do, or don’t time your pizza making well – like me) return the dough to the bowl and let it rise in the fridge for a couple hours.  Just pull it out of the fridge at least an hour before you plan to bake it.
  9. Preheat oven to 550 (or as high as it will go). Lightly coat your hands with evoo and press the dough into a disc.  top with sauce, cheese, etc. and bake for 6-10 minutes, depending on your oven temp.

roasted garlic:

  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • approx. 1 T evoo
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F (mine was preheated to 500 F for the pizza).
  2. Remove the outer skin of a whole bulb of garlic and chop off the top 1/4-1/2″ so that the tops of the cloves are exposed.  Spray or sprinkle the top with olive oil so that all the cloves are coated.
  3. Loosely wrap the bulb with foil and bake for 35 minutes, or until the cloves are soft.  When they are done, you should be able to easily squeeze them out of their skin.

Fresh Garlic Roasted Garlic



090807 – Pizza Friday is BACK!
090808, 9:56 pm
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Pizza night

Whew.  Ever since our pizza stone broke a few weeks ago (okay, i broke it by rinsing it with water) I have been craving our homemade pizza!  So much so, that i went a little overboard .  I usually try to limit it to 2-3 toppings.  I just don’t know what happened!

I tried a new crust recipe this time and REALLY liked it.  It only took about 2 1/2 hours total and was very tasty.  I think i would add a smidgin more salt next time (maybe an extra 1/4 t) and push it down to about 1/4″ thick – I shaped ours to about 3/8″  it nearly doubled in thickness in the oven.

pizza dough:

  • 3/4 C warm water
  • 3 t yeast
  • 4 C bread flour
  • 1 t salt (i will add an additional 1/4-1/2 t next time)
  • 1 C water, room temperature
  • 2 T olive oil
  1. sprinkle yeast over 3/4 C warm water in measuring cup and let sit for 5 min (until foamy).
  2. pulse flour and salt in food processor to fluff and mix.
  3. add additional 1 C water and olive oil to yeast.
  4. slowly add water mixture to flour in food processor while mixing on medium speed.  continue mixing until dough becomes smooth and elastic.
  5. use a rubber spatula to turn dough out onto a well floured counter and knead until a tacky – not sticky – ball forms (7-10 minutes).
  6. transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, and let sit at room temperature til doubled (2 hours).
  7. punch dough down to degas and cut into 3 equal pieces.  I was not ready to form the pizzas yet, so i repeated step 6 with the 3 pieces of dough.
  8. set a pizza stone on the middle rack and preheat oven to 550°F.
  9. to form crusts, press dough ball down and outwards with lightly oiled hands on a piece of parchment paper.  Add toppings, then use a cookie sheet to transfer the pizza and parchment to the preheated stone.  Bake for 4 minutes, slide parchment out from under pizza, and continue baking an additional 3 minutes.





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