Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 44 - Zucchini Pizza

Did I ever tell you I used to be a professional baker? Yep, I did. I've always loved to bake and when times got tough I was hired at the local grocery store in the bakery. I worked my way up (very quickly, I might add) from being a "packager" to actually becoming a baker and eventually assistant bakery manager.

I love to bake.

My kids didn't really like it when I worked at the bakery though because I never baked at home. Now I'm a full time/part time writer and I have a lot more time on my hands. Developing recipes and such. :) For Christmas I purchased a book by Jim Lahey called My Bread. It's a book that gives you the basics of no knead bread. Lahey's hypothesis is that bread has been around forever, so it couldn't have been as hard to make as it is today. One of the many things I learned when I was a professional baker is that bread that has a longer time to develop (in the refrigerator--it slows the rising) tastes better, and Lahey's bread tastes awesome. Lahey includes a no knead pizza dough recipe as well, and some great veggie versions (and some vegan as well) of different pizzas.

Here's what happened: I mixed up the dough (about 5 minutes between classes). Set it in a bowl on the stove for about 2 hours. At around 5:30 I put the boys to work. They shredded zucchini, salted it, and drained it. And they stretched the dough into the pizza pans. And put on the toppings. And baked the pizza. I supervised. And the pizza was AWESOME! I don't think we'll be buying pizza anymore for our Friday pizza nights...

Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough
  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp active yeast
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  1. In a bowl stir together the dry ingredients. Add the water and mix until blended. This dough is stiff, not wet and sticky (just in case you are used to Lahey's other recipes). Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for around 2 hours.
  2. Oil two 11x13 jelly roll pans. Use half the dough for each pan. Gently pull and stretch the dough to fit the pan, using your hands to press it evenly out. Pinch any holes together.
Stretching the dough may take some time. Here is an example for you:

The topping:
  • 3 large zucchini
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz grated swiss cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Grate the zucchini. In a medium bowl mix together the salt and the zucchini. Let stand for 15 or so minutes, until the zucchini has released its water.
  2. Drain the zucchini in a colander, and squeeze the zucchini to get out as much water as you can.
  3. Spread the zucchini mixture over the dough. Top with the shredded swiss cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or so, until the topping starts to turn golden brown and the crust is pulling away from the sides of the pan.
Can I just say...YUM!!!

*Disclaimer--the boys pretty much did all the work (and all the eating). Even taking pictures. I took the video and (kind of) supervised, but this was really pretty much all them. They even decided on the topping!

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