Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pizza dough

We came out to our small town last week--put a yard sign up on our fence, proclaiming our choice for president for everyone to see. We had some trepidation; we're in the minority in our neck of the (not quite rural) woods. We anticipated some crude gestures from passing cars, a new chill from next door. But our neighbors have taken it in stride and continue bringing us vegetables from their prolific gardens, waving from their cars as they pass our house.

So I have a new bravery and am ready to come clean: I am a name-brand whore. It's hard when you're poor, when you are a public advocate of limiting consumption, living with less, and you dream of Calvin Klein suits and Tanqueray 10. I get my designer jeans and department store face wash on eBay. I go out of my way to make sure my cream cheese is Philadelphia and my pickles are Clausen. And I drool regularly over the latest models of Cuisinart. It's disgusting, I know.

So it pains me to pull out our food processor--that free, reliable, totally functional thorn in my side. We only have one blade, the brutal cutting one. The lid is cracked in so many places that you have to hold it on manually. But the darn thing works, and makes us pizza weekly and focaccia regularly. And when I can get something as pretty as the bread above out of it, it's much easier to count my blessings.
Pizza Dough (based on a recipe from Mark Bittman)

3 cups flour, a combo of 2 cups white and 1 cup white-whole wheat
2 T. olive oil
1 t. yeast
2 t. salt
1 cup water, approximately

Blend first four ingredients in food processor. Slowly add water until it forms a slightly sticky ball. Knead on a countertop for about 30 seconds and drop into an oiled mixing bowl, turning over to coat dough with oil. Let rise in warm place.
This dough is very forgiving and takes about 5 minutes once you memorize the proportions. W. makes it in the afternoon and lets it rise anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. You can also make it in the morning or the day before and let rise in the fridge. We have pizza night once a week, rolling out two pizzas, topping with whatever we have on hand and baking both at once in the oven, set at 500 degrees, switching places after 5 minutes or so. Dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day.

Or we make focaccia, using an entire recipe to make a thicker bread. The one pictured above is topped with olive oil, coarse salt, black pepper, rosemary, and thinly sliced lemons.

(EDITED TO ADD: Don't stress if you don't have a food processor. Just stir everything in a bowl until you can't anymore and then knead it until it forms a smooth-ish ball. Easy.)

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