Friday, April 16, 2004

Experiment, Day 1 Conclusions:

Yesterday was "crust & cheese" day. When I made this last time, I used my general, all-around pizza crust. It's crunchy at the bottom, with a good degree of "chewy" factor going on. But, it's not the perfect crust. It could be better. And that's what I was going after last night.

First, I experimented with the use of some white corn meal. I started with a base of very very wet dough and split it out into parts. Part one would be my standard pizza crust. It was finished off with flour, a bit of kneading, and left to rise. Part two was made up of 1/4 white corn meal. Of course, the addition of the corn meal made kneading it a bit of a snot, but I worked the dough for a bit and left it to rise as well. Once the doughs had risen, been punched down, settled and worked out, I cut each into approx 1.5" diameter circles. Probably about the size of the mouth of a small glass. Okay, so I *used* the mouth of a small glass. But it worked very well, thankyouverymuch ;) Because of the small size, I thought any pre-baking would be a bad idea, so I immediately topped 'em with a basic chipotle tomato sauce (which was a good spice level for me, but will definitely have to be turned down on Saturday, esp. because the inclusion of wine into the mix resulted in some definite enhancement of the heat). I then topped each with roasted poblano's (good, but I cut them too small. Next time I'm going to go for more long, thin strips instead) and queso fresco. I tried two tactics with the queso fresco. One was strips. I was thinking of a bit of an art deco look. Sadly, it did nothing for the look or taste of the dish. Trash that idea. Next up was very thinly grated queso. This was much better, but because queso is so crumbly to begin with, it got more than a bit "dusty" and messy. I'm thinking I am going to grate it, but into larger pieces.

Into the oven, I worked with two temperatures. I've noticed most recipes either give 450 or 475. For these, 450 worked best. Because of their small size, 475 got the pizza crunchy before the cheese had a chance to melt. All were baked on a pizza stone (except for a disaster of an experiment where I tried to use a sope instead of crust) and ran just a few minutes of baking time.

The end result: While the corn meal pizzas had a good crunch and taste, they were *way* too dry. Almost cracker like. For some other recipes, this may work, but for here, it did nothing for me. The regular pizza dough ended up being too puffy for me. The chew-factor was definitely there, but I'm thinking a mix of the two is going to be what gets me there. I'm going to try a dough mix with 1/8th corn meal.

Today, I'll be adding the roasted corn and cilantro.