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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Night of 1000 Apples: Episode 2

They sounded so good. I even had a birthday party to share them with. Everyone was supposed to ooh and ahh and tell me how pretty they were, not to mention unique and delicious.

Such is the story of my apple, goat cheese and caramelized onion pizzettes.

They were not good. They were chewy, rubbery, and burnt. And ugly. Man, we're they ugly.

This is not to say that there is not hope. The combination of ingredients is a no-brainer, especially if you spend a couple of extra bucks on quality goat cheese [I used honey goat...ohhhhh honey goat]. I caramelized the onions like a pro, and the apples were delightfully soft but firm.

The problem was the crust. The problem was also that I didn't peel the apples so that the burnt skins stabbed you in the mouth, but that is an easy fix, as is my lack of a quality baking stone. But the crust...

The recipe I followed was for a white crust. I thought I could just substitute King Aurthur's whole wheat flour, thinking it was basically the same thing, only brown. Duh! Just because I have a food blog does not mean that I am an experienced cook. quest for the perfect whole wheat pizza crust begins. My friend Ya-Ping recommended the ready-made frozen crust from Trader Joes. Let me tell you, after I stayed up until 3am and spent all of my elbow grease rolling out the rigid, uncompromising dough only to come out with flattened disks that were best suited for trap shooting, this is tempting. She said it was delicious and made without preservatives, but I remain opposed because I hate pre-made food and Trader Joes [for taking over small businesses like my dad's].

My research suggests that the problem is multi-faceted. Whole wheat pizza crust is a tough old dog. It will not soften unless you are patient, kind and deliberate. I am by no means a whole grain purist, nor am I on the South Beach Diet, so for next time I see no reason not to mix it with white flour, which is what almost every recipe I find calls for.

The other answer is so obvious to me, and if I had any baking skills at all I would have known to do this, but it seems that my dough needed a soaker. Oh, water...the universal solvent.

The trick is to mix the white flour and wheat flour with all the water that the recipe calls for, mix it up until it is a thick batter, and then beat the heck out of it for 5 minutes. I also don't believe in kitchen appliances like Kitchen Aids, I will definitely do this by hand. Let the batter sit for several hours in the fridge to "develop the gluten". Then add all the yeast, salt, oil and sugar and let rise as directed.

I can't vouch for any of this as I have not tried it, nor will I for a very long time [I'm still catching up on sleep from my pizzette mishap]. But, it seems likely that adding some white flour and doing a soaker will help immensely. I will be spending the next several weeks daydreaming about pizza toppings, which is fi-ine with me.

Possibly Perfect Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

1 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 package quick-rising yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup water, room temp
2 teaspoons olive oil

Instructions for the Soaker, from Discuss
Measure out the 1-3/4 cup ww flour in a separate container. Put all 6 oz of water in the mixing bowl (it should not be hot; room temperature is fine) and, using the KA paddle, slowly beat in enough of the WW flour to make a very thick batter. Beat with the KA paddle for 5 minutes to develop the gluten. Let rest, covered, at room temperature for one to two hours to allow the WW flour to absorb water and for gluten development to continue. (You can do this several hours ahead if more convenient; just put the soaker in the 'frig if you're going to hold it over 2 hours.) After this resting period, add the salt, quick-rising yeast and oil to the batter and mix it in with the KA paddle. Switch to dough hook. Add the remaining whole wheat flour slowly and then knead, speed 2, for at least 5 minutes. The kneaded dough should be slightly tacky to the touch, not dry feeling. Cover and let rise as usual until doubled in bulk

1 comment:

Lunch Buckets said...

They -do- sound good, they do! I'm just going to pretend they turned out as wonderfully as you planned. Cause I can.