Tag Archives: chewy

When the moon hits your eye like a no knead pizza pie….

No knead pizza dough was a revelation and a roaring success—say I, the only one eating the hot pizza yesterday afternoon at 1pm.  A lone witness to my own spectacular creation.

But it really was amazing, the crust was flavourful (the point of the 18 hour ferment) and chewy on the inside, but crisp on the exterior.  And I didn’t even use a pizza stone, mine cracked a while back and I have yet to replace it, but now I want to replace it ASAP.  So much pizza potential in my future!

For some background, here is a good piece on the no-knead recipe (with a video) created by Jim Lahey.   You must try this pizza dough at least once.  Throwing the dough together takes about 45 seconds (give or take a minute) and after an overnight ferment you can have pizza on the table way sooner than delivery can get to you.  Sooner than you can bake a frozen pizza in fact.  And waaaaaaaaaaay better.

If you can, try and use your scale for the measurements as it will be more accurate than cups/measuring spoons.  (Scales are not expensive, invest when you can, it will change your baking for the better.)

Ina  large bowl mix 500g AP flour (3 3/4 cups), 1 gram active dry yeast (1/4 tsp), 16 grams fine sea salt (2 tsp).  Now add 350g water (1 1/2 cups).

*make sure you have the right yeast–not instant and not pizza yeast.

Mix everything with a spatula til the dough comes together and then use your hands to pick up any excess flour with the still sticky parts of the dough.

I ended up with the above.  And then I threw a tea towel over it (or just use saran wrap) and let it sit in a warm part of the house for 18 hours.

And that part is done.  See?  Easy–I barely had enough instructions to go with the pictures.

18 hours later it should have doubled.  (Mine also kind of “splatted” a bit.  Made itself comfortable in the bowl. )  The “doubling” may go slower in a cooler room and faster in a warmer one.

Once doubled, I dumped the dough onto a well floured counter and using a serrated knife cut it into four pieces.  Then you take each piece individually and pull in the edges towards the center…

It doesn’t matter which corner you start with, just pull it forward like you’re folding a handkerchief….(we all still use handkerchiefs right?)

Until you have something like the above.  Then flip your dough over, seam on the bottom, and using your hands mold the dough into a neat ball.

And you will end up with something very satisfactory, like the above.  The dough will feel loose and silky in your hands, it is less stiff than other pizza dough recipes sometimes are.

Since I was not ready to make my pizza, I saran-wrapped my dough balls and put them in the fridge.  They can sit for up to three days.

You bring the dough out of the fridge a couple hours before you want to use it.  Just to get it to room temperature.  (Yes, I probably could have used a bigger plate.)   Also, my dough was a bit damp under the saran wrap, so I just dusted it with a bit of flour once out of the wrap.  Then covered with a tea towel and let warm up.

Let’s summarize: on your actual pizza making day all you have to 1. take dough out of the fridge and 2. form it into a pizza.

Also preheat the oven to 500°F.

The forming is the fun part.  Handle the dough very gently–you want some of the gas/bubbles to remain.  First stretch it lightly with your hands on the work surface to form a small disk.  Then you can pick it up and “pizza guy” style, use your knuckles to pull it out to about 10-12″.  You should also sing the East Side Mario’s theme song while you do this.

My pizzas were about 10″ average.  Before topping move your dough onto a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet (to avoid the edges) before topping.  Dust the back of the dough well with flour.  (You do not want to try and lift your raw dough once it has toppings on it.  It will be disaster and you will then truly hate pizza making.)

I had some tomato sauce in the fridge, a ball of mozzarella and some prosciutto.  My pizza was born.

Ideally you have a pizza stone in the oven that is heating up and you can slide your pizza off the peel, or off the back of your cookie sheet, onto the stone which will instantly start crisping and cooking the dough.  I just put the pizza in oven on the same cold cookie sheet it started out on–and crossed my fingers.  Bake 6-7 minutes.

Success!  I added some sweet red onion and baby kale leaves and sliced.

Chewy, crispy and delicious.  There will be no crusts left behind when you make this dough.  They may even get eaten first.

(If you love this recipe, you may decide to love Jim Lahey and buy his pizza book My Pizza: The Easy No Knead Way to Make Pizza At Home)


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Fougasse: White Bread Glee

Chewy Good Times

Easy. Impressive.  Can be hooked on the end of your bike handlebars.  These chewy, pretzel-like loaves are my new Gleedom.

I mean, look at them!  (let me show you an overhead.)

They multiply like rabbits, be careful.

The Fougasse first caught my attention in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table where she explains that this Provencal-style bread should be eaten warm and with simple food,  like some saucisson and a glass of rosé.  Ideal for picnics.  And guess where I took mine?  On le picnic.  Man, sometimes my French instincts overwhelm me.

The recipe I actually used came from the book Dough by Richard Bertinet which has the Fougasse on the front cover. Most importantly in the book Mr. Bertinet said this was easy to make and would impress people.  Well, who am I if not someone who wants to impress with the least effort possible?

Cornmeal dusted dough

You start by making a simple white bread dough (yeast, bread flour, salt, water) and letting it rest for 1 hr until it doubles in size.  My dough took longer, maybe an hour and a half, perhaps the kitchen was a bit cool. Then you gently plop it on the counter-careful not to deflate it–and let it rest another five minutes.

Using your bread scraper you cut the dough in two (and giggle to yourself because it looks like a bum!).

And then into 6 pieces.

Baby Fougasse.

You then take each piece of dough and use the edge of your scraper to make a few diagonal cuts through the dough.  Which you then “fan out” with your fingers.

You Must Be My Lucky Star

You can also keep the dough rectangular and make parallel cuts and pull them apart to make a “ladder” shape.  Fewer holes are better because as the dough bakes any small holes will close up.  Obviously I am far (but pretty close) from being a master at this so I did most of my fougasse with only three cuts.

Ready for heat.

Now take your fougasse and pop them on a baking tray (or a wooden peel if you have one so you can slide it onto your baking stone already pre-heated in the oven 450 F).  I baked mine two at a time on a tray.  You can also press olives, or herbs into your fougasse at this point.

I did use a spray bottle to spritz some moisture into the oven before I shut the door to help get a nice crust on the bread (steam helps crust up the exterior and keep the interior soft).

Tear apart and eat.

Et Voila!  12 minutes later a delicious picnic snack.  Just wrap them in a clean tea towel and go.

(Would also work as tasteful accessories for a meat dress).

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Filed under All Recipes, Cookbooks, Magazines (+recipes from), Ruminations on the Edible