Friday, October 21, 2011

Beet Pizza Dough

I saw this idea to add beet purée into pizza dough a while ago. I got around to trying it recently, and it worked out really well. I think I overworked the dough in the initial stage, as it came out of the stand mixer feeling looking like Play-Doh, so I let it rise longer and that seems to have fixed the problem. Once it was baked, the consistency was quite nice, and you really couldn’t taste the beet! I used store-bought tomato sauce, lactose-free Swiss cheese and basil from the garden, but feel free to use whatever topping you prefer. The Engineer liked the dough, but not the Swiss cheese – I’m somewhat limited regarding toppings for the moment, until I start making my own cheese (and the day isn’t that far off, I think). I’ll give more detailed instructions than the original recipe, only because I like having all my instructions in one place instead of having to flip back and forth between several recipes to get the whole thing.

3/4 cup cooked and chopped beets, lightly packed in a liquid measuring cup (1 or 2 beets; see below)
enough almost warm water to make 1 cup when mixed with cooked beets, plus 1 Tbsp
2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp honey
3 cups all-purpose flour (or bread flour)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl

Scrub beets under warm water to clean. Put them in tin foil with a bit of olive oil and bake in a 400 °F oven for about 1 hour, until tender. Let cool, then peel. Chop the beets and measure out ¾ cup of it. (I puréed and froze the rest.) Top with enough water to make 1 cup, then add 1 more Tbsp, and purée until smooth. An immersion blender is a godsend here, but a food processor works well too. Or a potato masher if you have nothing else.

Put all the ingredients into a stand mixer bowl. Mix with the dough hook until well kneaded.

Remove from the bowl and knead by hand for 2 minutes on an unfloured surface, then pat into a ball. I skipped this, because my dough looked a bit overworked already. (Obviously, if you have a counter that stains, find another place. I recommend kneading on a baking sheet, for example. I’m lucky enough to finally have good countertops.)

Lightly oil a large bowl with olive oil and add the dough, flipping once to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled. I always do this in the microwave, with the door ajar – the heat from the light bulb is perfect, and there are no drafts.

Preheat the oven at 425 °F. Roll out the dough on a floured surface (again, something that does not stain), do the final stretches by hand by gently pulling the ends with your fingers. If you have a baking stone, put your dough on a piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with cornmeal. Otherwise, place it on a lightly oiled pizza pan dusted with cornmeal. Top as you wish and bake for 15-17 minutes.

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