14 May '18 — constant vigilance
For Mother’s Day we had a pizza party. Until the first bite, I hadn’t realized I’d achieved something: a complete homemade meal.
Homemade beer and homemade kombucha were the beverage choices. The tomato sauce was a reduction of fresh tomatoes over 4 hours. The sourdough preparation was more nerve racking.
Five days prior I’d pulled the starter from the fridge. It hadn’t been fed for several weeks. There was a dark layer on top and it never rose even after I fed it last.
I never know beforehand whether I’ll end up with anything edible. There’s a mystery in sourdough. I’ve made the same recipe over 50 times–measuring precisely doesn’t help. There’s a missing element NO ONE talks about.
Well, people talk about similar issues on forums, but renown bakers and cookbooks never mention the issues–it’s as if it never happens, doesn’t exist.
I really didn’t know if this pizza was going to happen. I had instant yeast as a backup. For five days I fed the starter and on the remaining three days, I fed the starter twice. It was rising and active all days.
On Sunday morning, I woke up and mixed the flour and yeast. The dough looked promising but still I couldn’t fully believe the sourdough pizza was going to happen.
By lunchtime, the dough was ready. I could form the wet dough into balls and it had enough gluten to stretch out. The pizzas were assembled on the pizza peel and I had my husband toss them onto the pizza stone. I’ve burnt many pizzas this way by tossing them in so I shake from pressure to make them perfect. Since people were coming over, I had my husband make sure the pizzas got in safely.
It all went well and I’m glad it did, especially for the occasion. However, it might never happen again.
At least it happened once.
The five pizza flavors:
Pizza 1: grilled bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella
Pizza 2: artichoke hearts, olives, feta, caramelized onions, feta, and buffalo mozzarella
Pizza 3: pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, buffalo mozzarella
Pizza 4: olives, caramelized onions and ricotta cheese
Pizza 5: pinto beans, grilled bell peppers, green onions, buffalo mozzarella