I can’t believe I’m on challenge #20! I feel like celebrating.
Yet, I could kick myself. Whenever i don’t read a recipe ahead of time (which admittedly happens often) I miss out on some long preparation that i should have started at the beginning. Par example: 3 T cooked brown rice. Ugh. I had little flashbacks to the other night when joe and i cooked brown rice in the rice cooker and it took 45 minutes. I have things to do today! I cannot cook rice right now! Well, luckily i remembered the microwave. With a little improvising, i cooked precisely 3 T of short grain brown rice pretty well in our microwave. Here’s how:
- 2 T brown rice
- 6 T water
- 1/2 t safflower oil
- combine ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high power for 5 minutes.
- Add a bit more water (2T or so) if necessary then continue cooking on medium power for 4 minutes. DONE!
I made a few small alterations to the original recipe. For the soaker, i did not have any wheat bran on hand, so i just used 3 T millet, 3 T rolled oats, and 2 T cornmeal. I have had a large flour container with 3/4 C of white wheat flour in it for some time now, so i replaced some of the bread flour with my remaining white wheat. While working, i decided to bake two little loaves. One loaf I topped with sesame seeds and flax seeds (most of which fell off while slicing), and the other with sunflower seeds.
Tonight i toasted the bread and used it for triple-decker tofu, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches. It is really wonderful toasted
Click for more photos: FLICKR.
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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Finally, do NOT rinse your pizza stone. Simply wipe it off and let the hot oven do the ‘cleaning’.