Friday, September 23, 2016

Pizza Dough

Every Saturday we have pizza and watch a movie. Needless to say, I have made a lot of pizza dough in my day. For years I have made fairly wet doughs (Neapolitan, focaccia, New York, etc.) which produce thin and crispy crusts with some chewiness when baked on a hot stone. More recently the kids have been asking for a thicker crust and I was happy to oblige. I wasn't happy with recipes I found since they tended towards the dense and stodgy, so I made my own recipe. This crust is thicker (and can handle a truck load of toppings) but is still crispy and chewy. The cold ferment imparts great flavour which is the most important thing of all.

Makes six 10" crusts
- 6.5 oz semolina flour
- 14 oz bread flour
- 13 oz all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 4 oz oil
- 13 fl oz cold water*
- 6 fl oz cold soy milk*
*NOTE: you can use up to 22 fl oz of total liquid. They final dough is wetter, but nothing that some stretching and folding with oiled hands can't solve. I find this makes a perfect crust for freezing--the higher moisture content allows it to be baked, frozen, thawed, and reheated without drying out. I use 30g of sugar, 20g of salt, and 15g of yeast when I up the liquid. 

1. Add all ingredients to a mixer bowl and bring together into a rough dough with a dough hook. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead with the dough hook for 5-7 minutes, or until dough is smooth and slightly tacky (but not sticky). Add more flour or water as needed.
2. Turn dough out onto an oiled baking sheet. Divided into six equal pieces and shape into balls.
3. Mist with oil, cover well with plastic wrap, and place sheet in the fridge over night.
4. On baking day, take the dough out of the fridge at least two hours before you want to start baking. Reshape the balls and leave to rise in a warm place, covered. The dough is ready to shape when it is warm and has risen.
5. Preheat your baking stone in a 450 degree oven.
6. Lightly spray six separate pieces of baking parchment with oil (you can reuse these from week to week). With your fingertips, spread the dough into a 10" circle, creating a ridge on the outside if you want. Let the dough rise, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.
7. Top with whatever suits you, and bake until crust is golden and cheese is melted (about 8-10 minutes), removing the parchment once the crust swells and begins to firm up.

NOTE: If you don't want to do the overnight ferment, use warm water and soy milk, then let rise in an oiled bowl until doubled. Shape into 6 balls and let rise, covered, on an oiled baking sheet. Shape into crusts per the instructions above in step 6. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Viennese Whirls

The Great British Bakeoff is back and all is well with the world. I had never heard of these biscuits/cookies before I saw them them in episode 2, but I knew immediately that I wanted to try them. What a bonus that the recipe is so easily veganized. I tried a version will all vegan butter but it did not come out as well as this version. I made a bunch of raspberry jelly this summer from our own berries, and it was absolutely perfect for this recipe. Use whatever jam you like, or check out the original recipe and make your own.

- 6 oz soft vegetable shortening
- 3 oz soft vegan butter
- 1¾ oz icing sugar
- 8 oz all purpose flour
- 1 oz corn starch
- large pinch of salt
- pinch of turmeric (optional)

Buttercream Filling
- 3½ oz soft vegetable shortening
- 7 oz icing sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract

- raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Move two racks to the centre positions. 
1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a 2" round cutter as a guide to draw 12 circles on each sheet of paper. Turn the paper over so the pencil marks are underneath.
2. With an electric hand mixer, beat the shortening, vegan butter, and icing sugar until pale and fluffy.
3. Add flour, corn starch, salt, and turmeric (if using) and mix well with a wooden spoon, until smooth.
4. Transfer mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle. Pipe 24 swirled rounds (not rosettes), inside the circles on the baking sheets.
5. Bake both trays for 6 minutes, then rotate pans (and switch racks) and bake for another 6-8 mins, until they are a pale golden-brown. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then carefully transfer to a wire rack.

Buttercream Filling
1. Beat all ingredients with an electric hand mixer until light and smooth. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.

Spoon jam onto the flat side of 12 of the biscuits. Pipe the buttercream over the jam and sandwich with the remaining biscuits. Dust with icing sugar to finish.