Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October's Daring Bakers Challenge: BBQ Chicken Pizza

I know I've been silent for a long, long time... but don't count me out of the baking scene just yet. I'm still raring to go and baking up a storm. Today, I just realized that I was way behind on the Daring Baker's Challenge for this month. I don't know how I simply forgot about it, but I wasn't about to let the challenge pass me by. I decided to make pizza for lunch this afternoon and the daring baker's recipe turned out splendid! Anywho, here's the recipe... with my topping of BBQ Chicken and a hodge-podge of veggies. The recipe actually makes a lot of bread dough, and I wasn't sure if everyone else in my family wanted pizza, so I made a couple "special" buns with the excess dough. I'll post the picture of my "special" bun at the end of this post ... kinda forces you to read the entire post eh?! I'm sneaky... "Hey! Don't even think about scrolling to the bottom... I mean it :P"

Basic Pizza Dough
Adapted from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart
Yields 6 (9-inch) pizza crusts

- 4 1/2 Cups unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled
- 1 3/4 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) olive or vegetable oil
- 1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting

DAY ONE (I did mine in one day!)
1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer)
2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.
The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.
4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.
7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.

8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.
9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping. In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.
12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

For my BBQ Chicken Pizza, I used only the best-quality ingredients :P
- Freshly sliced onions
- Freshly diced tomatos
- Bull's Eye BBQ Sauce (Hickory Smoke)
- Oven Roasted Chicken shredded
- Freshly grated, medium-aged cheddar cheese

I must say, I've made my fair share of pizzas before, but this recipe was pretty darn good! I ate up a whole 3 pieces (okay, that may not seem like a lot... but I'm tiny, and have a small stomach). The BBQ sauce was wonderfully tangy, and the chicken was seasoned very nicely (thank you Superstore). The tomatoes added a nice juiciness to the pizza and the onions were baked to perfection, tasting not too strong but still maintaining their crispness.
Yeah! I've completed the DB challenge, just in the nick of time. Oh, and before I forget... here's my "special bun"...

Mmmm... should make a nice quick lunch for tomorrow (that's mayo on top by the way... not a fried white worm :P) Just needs some ketchup, corn and chives and I've got myself a T&T like chinese bun!


friedwontons4u said...

I love pizzas that are loaded with toppings and yours definitely look yum! I was really looking forward to participating in this month's challenge but sadly I couldn't. Thanks for your words of encouragement =)

noobcook said...

your pizza looks great! I didn't know it's so hard to make pizza dough ... and nice job using the excess dough to make the special bun. Thanks for visiting me and leaving me such kind words :)

Camille said...

I like doing that now and again, just adding whatever I have onto a pizza and seeing what happens. Your pizza looks yummy!

Linda said...

Mmmmm. Beautiful pizza! And the special bun is intrigues me. What are the round, redish, lumps? Meat?

You seem to be such a creative baker. I do a good job with a recipe, but I don't have that spark of creativity. Maybe reading your blog will help in that department ;-)

Lynn said...

I think your pizza and bun look great. I am impressed. Well done.

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

They all look great! Love what you did with the left over dough.

Shirley said...

Nice-looking pizza. I used my dough leftovers to make pizza and more pizza! It was so good I didn't get tired of the stuff. :)

Jude said...

It;s lilke you never left.. That pizza looks great :)

Lisa Michelle said...

Great pizzas and I love the special buns with the extra dough. I wanted to do calzones and/or strombolis along with the pizza, but I was limited at this time. *pout* Oh well, nice to see your creativity :)