The staff of life is sometimes flat

Published December 8, 2011 by livinggraciously

Flat breads have been one of those challenges I keep meaning to tackle. They don’t seem all that difficult, after all. But their very simplicity means that the results had better be tasty, or what’s the point?

But my friend Bec had a sudden yearning for the pizza of her childhood, a Sunday home cooking tradition of fond memory, and since she and her partner, Jer, were coming for dinner and a movie last night, it seemed like a good time to split pizza duties: I’d be crust, she’d be toppings.

So I went searching for a pizza dough recipe, and came up with one on the King Arthur Flour website that uses sourdough starter, something I have in abundance. I put together the dough according to the recipe, then set it aside to rise. But being me, I decided that this wasn’t experimental enough. And besides, I have a LOT of starter. So I made a second batch of dough, this time substituting half a cup of cornmeal, which I softened with boiling water (I used the measure of water called for in the dough for the softening).

Rolled out, the two doughs were distinctive in appearance:

But once they were topped and baked, it was harder to tell which was which:

The pizza on the left is pepperoni. Bec purchased uncut pepperoni, sliced it thin, then placed the slices between layers of paper plates, weighted down the plates with heavy ceramic plates, and microwaved the pepperoni slices for about a minute and a half. She then blotted the pepperoni slices like crazy, effectively degreasing them beautifully. The result is both healthier and tastier.

The pizza on the right is a bit like a Venn diagram. The lower half has mushrooms, and the left side has bacon. So depending on where you cut, you have the possibility of plain cheese, bacon and cheese, mushroom and cheese, or bacon, mushroom and cheese.

I have to say that, despite the recommended addition of the King Arthur Flour pizza flavoring, the crust for this pizza was…okay. Decent, but not particularly memorable. The sourdough didn’t really add anything, and while the cornmeal made for a tasty addition, there wasn’t enough of it to really change the nature of the dough.

So I can’t recommend this as the perfect pizza dough. It was a perfectly acceptable “tray” for the sauce, cheese, and other ingredients. But it didn’t have that kind of stand-out “wow” factor that I want in a pizza crust.

There will be further experimentation and more pizzas, as I have informed Ferrett. Brave boy, he’s volunteered to throw himself on that grenade.

I’m so proud.

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