Pizza dough experiments

This is for Kwin and Phil – the only people who read this and are crazy enough to make their own bread….

So – this starter stuff I mentioned in a previous post. What a pain in the ass. First – I’ve got a cooler with two heating pads in it that’s keeping things a lovely 85 degrees. The starter was going OK and growing like gang busters but it smelled like Bourbon Street on a muggy morning in New Orleans (you’ve got to experience that, hung over, first hand to truely appreciate it): puke, shit, vomit… I mean – it was fucking nasty and I think Kat was imagining that I’d finally completely lost it – which I think was a bad sign. Following the directions for “off odor” (this SO qualified) I “washed” the starter… which, of course, take 36+ hours. Everything about sourdough takes 36+ hours. I mean – I’m a code monkey – 12 hours is like a life time of meditation for me.

Washing: You take a wee spot of the nasty stuff and basically restart the culture hoping that the good stuff wins this time.

After 36 hours it smelled not great, but I could sort of imagine this is how sourdough starter should smell but it wasn’t bubbling like I think it should have been. Basically it was going WWII instead of Iraq with a bit of Korean War thrown in to still make you feel crappy.

So – I made some extra wet dough – as suggested by the pizza dude and, you guessed it, let it cold rise for 36 hours.

It did pretty much nothing. I let it warm rise for 10 hours… it did something… oh, the excitement.

So – I used raw tomato sauce (also suggested) and cranked my oven up to it’s pathetic 550F – (still haven’t hack sawed off the safety on the cleaning lock).

The wet dough was definitely the wimpiest, wettest dough I’ve ever worked with (and I’ve worked in four pizza places “professionally” [which means you can only be mostly drunk at work]). For you bread freaks – it was like a Ciabatta dough with just a hint more elasticity . You could spin this out in a single toss, and it had to land on the peel, because moving it a second time would have resulted in tears.

I’m pretty much 100% certain this isn’t how the dough should have been. But I cooked the bitch.

And it was the worst pizza I’ve ever had. The dough had this not so nice funky, doughy flavor to it (even though it was cooked) and the sauce was the most boring thing I’ve ever tasted.

I’ve got another starter culture. Going to give it a whirl. I’ll try to use the starter when it’s bubbling (at highest activity). I’ll make the dough stronger and less wet and fuck the sauce dude. I think raw sauce might be fantastic it at 900 degrees but, at 550, it tastes like raw sauce and is really boring.

Basically I need a pizza oven and building one outside doesn’t make much sense since it rains here 8 months a year… I’d have to build a house for the pizza oven and then Kat would definitely put me away (might not be a bad thing). :)

More on this in… 36 + 36 + Thanksgiving in British Columbia Kayaking = a while.

1 Comment

KatNovember 20th, 2006 at 8:21 pm

You forgot to mention that the cooler-heating-pad contraption with the nasty smelling bacteria resides in the bedroom, like a little baby in a cradle, close by it’s daddy.