Monday, March 2, 2009

My First Foray With Yeast

I've fallen in love 101 Cookbooks recently. You can get the recipe here. Usually, the food is waaaay beyond my pitiful college student means, but this weekend I decided to try the pizza. Pizza, if you don't know, is one of the top five college foods in my book. It's right up there with ramen and mac n' cheese. Unfortunately, I belatedly realized that active yeast was not the same as instant yeast (who knew?), but it wasn't a total bust.
I didn't have those fancy standing mixers so I did it by hand and that it makes the story even more tragic when I decided to look up "yeast" online and boy was I in for a surprise.  Here is my neatly divided dough pre-discovery.
So imagine me frantically mixing yeast with warm water and then rekneading and dividing the whole mess. Praying the whole while.  There is no after picture.  It's too ugly.
Stretching the pizza dough the next day was a nightmare. I did it first thing in the morning while I was still groggy, because I wanted to have pizza for lunch and the dough had to rest for two hours. I got flour all down my pajamas front. :( The dough was so soft, it was almost drippy and first I couldn't get it off the floured cutting board and then it tore. Parts of it were paper thin, others parts were still half an inch thick. It was a relief to finally pop the baby onto the pizza stone (the wonderful generosity of a roommate) and it made a very nice splattering noise. By then, I wanted the pizza to die a horrible, burning death. By then, I didn't want to eat the pizza to enjoy it, I wanted to eat it so I could digest it. With vengeance. Total annihilation and all. Consuming the enemy to consume their strength, etc.  You can see my fearsome bite marks below.

The final product wasn't a complete disappointment. The thick parts were doughy, but where the crust was paper thin it was wonderfully crisp. I hadn't totally killed the yeast because there were a few lovely dough bubbles.
The pita bread from MomGrind was more successful and easy. I still had half a packet of yeast left so I figured I might as well use it. I cut the recipe in half. The yeast was foamy and happy looking in the honey water mixture. I used half wheat and half regular all purpose flour. 
This is not because I'm hoity-toity, it's because I ran out of all purpose flour and I had bought wheat pastry flour to try to make baby chocolate chip cookies from 101 Cookbooks.   I was amazed at how much the dough grew.

I divided the dough into ten pieces and rolled them flat.  They were maybe 4-5 inches wide.
I cooked the baby pitas on the still hot pizza stone. It was awesome. They puffed almost immediately like little balloons and some of the bottoms were nice and brown.
I ate them plain because my hummus had expired a month ago and smelled suspicious, but right out of the oven, they tasted wonderful.

1 comment:

sideshowbob said...

haha i like how what drove you to finish the pizza was to inflict pain on it out of vengeance and not to finish it for the sake of simply eating it.