Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I also hold the internet responsible for that time I failed to look at a map and was ninety minutes late to a wedding

Last week, Emily tweeted about a delicious pizza that she makes from scratch which she and her husband look forward to eating all week long. Naturally, I demanded the recipe. “Flour, yeast, water, salt, sausage, tomato paste, peppers, a bunch of spices… I have all that stuff!” I thought. “I’ll make it this week!”

Emily uses The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for pizza dough, and TPW says making the dough a day or two ahead of time improves the flavor, so I did. It seemed very… wet. I was supposed to “form it into a ball” and “turn it into an oil-lined bowl.” Yeah, that was impossible. I could POUR it into the oil-lined bowl, but there wasn’t any “forming into a ball.” going on. I put it in the fridge anyway, hoping that it would dry out over time.

Pizza Night arrived as Pizza Night inevitably does, and the dough, it had not dried out. But by the time I took it out of the fridge, I had already mixed up the spicy sauce and cut up my expensive yellow pepper, my expensive organic sausage, and my expensive fresh mozzarella. Also, it was 4:00 pm. I was committed to this pizza. Throwing both caution and common sense to the wind, I plunged my hands into the doughy fluid and tried to shape it into a crust.

It did not go well.

When Andrew called ten minutes later, I was glad that I had let Nora play with the phone because it was still on the floor and I was able to answer it with my feet. I returned to the kitchen, and with the liberal addition of extra flour, I was able to turn the goo into something vaguely crust-shaped on the baking pan. Once I got my hands clean I turned to Twitter in order to complain about the recipe. I was EXTREMELY indignant that my friend had suggested what was obviously a terrible, unworkable recipe, and it was only my concern for her feelings that kept me from accusing her outright.

I finished building my pizza, complete with hippy toppings, and put it in the oven. After 10 minutes, I turned on the broiler because Emily says she likes her cheese toasted on the top, and that sounded like a good idea.

The end result was an edible, but very very disappointing pizza. And all of it was clearly Emily’s fault. It was Emily’s fault that the dough recipe didn’t work, Emily’s fault that the sauce was too spicy even though she did warn me, Emily’s fault that I left the pizza under the broiler too long and the cheese burned, and – well, OK, it wasn’t Emily’s fault that the sausage I had on hand was apple chicken flavor instead of the spicy Italian she told me to use. Apple sausage does not mesh well with spicy marinara. I had really, really been looking forward to that pizza and now it was ruined and IT WAS ALL EMILY’S FAULT.

We ate the pizza anyway. Jack even politely told me it was really delicious in an obvious attempt to make me feel better. (Really! He really did! And he was lying! I know!) After dinner, I went back to Twitter to complain some more about the pizza dough. Emily claimed not to understand why it didn’t work because it always works for her, but I didn’t fall for it. Diane agreed with me that TPW’s recipe was disappointing, although she didn’t have the wetness problem. And Arwen pointed me towards a different recipe. I compared the flour to water ratio of Arwen’s dough with TPW’s and tweeted back, “But it’s the same recipe!” Because there it was, plain as day, 4 cups flour, 1.5 cups water…

Oh. Wait. 1.5 cups water. Hazy memories of the day I mixed up the dough began to surface, and they definitely indicated that I had added 2.5 cups of water, thereby increasing the water by 75%. Which is sort of a lot. So. Oops.

You want to know the best part of this? Well, the best part after the part where I blame the internet for a faulty recipe that was perfectly fine if followed correctly? I totally had ready-made Boboli crust in the pantry. And I knew it was there.

No, I cannot explain myself.

Note: Arwen’s dough recipe is not the same. It has different yeast and salt amounts. But the flour to dough ratio is still 4.5 to 1.5, because that, apparently, is the correct flour to dough ratio.


Becca said...

I hate it when that happens!!

And now I think I'll try to make (like MAKE make) pizza on Friday. With sausage and yellow peppers and good mozzarella. Thanks for that. ;)

Kate W. said...

That is so funny! We always get the "ready to roll out" dough from Trader Joe's. Have you ever grilled a pizza? We love to and the kids like to help roll out the dough... that requires wine or beer though... the kid helping part

Anonymous said...

An alternative approach to pizza dough:
Make the recipe as called for (measure out the amount of yeast, olive oil and flour),and add water till it forms nice dough (you'll find the amount of water is generally close to what the recipe calls for, but low ball it and then add more as required). Then stop adding water.
Perfect pizza dough, every time.
The Great Chefs of Europe