Sunday, 23 September 2007

Yeast is yeast

I've come to the conclusion that any form of dough is the bastard offspring of the Devil. It has a life of its own, rising when it feels like it, collapsing at inopportune moments, generally sticking its middle finger up at me and saying, "forget it mister, you'll never bake a better loaf than Hovis." And who am I to argue. Let's face it, there are times when prepackaged goods are difficult to walk away from. There's a reason why the Barilla family is one of the richest in the world. It's because breadmaking, and pasta making is a big, messy nightmare, and probably the origin of the french word "pain". Life really is too short.

This week I have had two loaves turn out like bricks, which would be handy if they were the same colour as the imperial soft reds I need replacing in the bay windows at the front of our house. Yesterday the dough I was making for pizzas decided to take a little longer than expected to rise. 8 hours longer to be precise. I gave up my plan for dinner and made a pea and pancetta risotto instead having lost all hope that the dough would ever puff up. Nevertheless I returned to the kitchen this morning to find a swollen yeasty mound that had sleeprisen overnight, the internal fungi laughing to themselves knowing that they had foiled my menu for James and Emilie last night. Well sod you! There's no way this dough isn't ending up as pizza.

I scoured what seemed like the whole of south east london for gorgonzola, prosciutto, and mozzarella before ending up in Sainsburys and finding everything I needed there. I hate it when that happens. Once home, I rolled out the dough and covered it in the plum tomato sauce I cooked up yesterday then sprinkled with mozzarella, gorgonzola, and popped it into a super hot oven. Once cooked, I layed on the proscuitto and drizzled with olive oil and sent out to the Taster for a verdict.

For 15 minutes, baking was no longer the Devil's work. It was God's work. Angels were singing and hallelujias filled the air. The voices of a gospel choir rose to the heavens, their mouths full of molten cheese and their purple gowns splattered with tomato sauce. Last night's dough movement was indeed mystic, but the pizza itself was heavenly.

For anyone interested I used the pizza dough recipe from the River Cafe Book Two p280, which itself is taken from the Chez Panisse restaurant in California.

Note: The writer of this piece is an atheist and does not believe in the existence of God, the Devil, or angels. He does worship a good pizza though.

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