Pizza Fail

In the weeks since our King Arthur Flour baking classes, I have fancied myself quite the baker Smile making bread and rolls with ease. Since I made a pizza at King Arthur, I thought that making it at home would be a cinch. After the Boston Local Food Festival, we headed home exhausted and more than ready for a Saturday night at home for the first time in ages.

I found a recipe in the King Arthur Flour whole grains cookbook for a whole wheat herb pizza crust and got to work. Everything started out just fine. I followed the recipe and got my toppings together while the dough was rising.

King Arthur Flour cookbook

Pizza sauce and olive oil from Lucini and locally made Mozzarella from the Mozzarella House

pizza ingredients

Rising dough with flecks of green basil to add some extra flavor to the pizza

herb dough

Fresh mozzarella

local mozzarella

And then it all went terribly wrong and it was all because this newbie baker does not own a rolling pin. A bottle of wine just doesn’t do the same thing. I rolled the dough as thin as I could get it, then pre-baked it, added the sauce and cheese, and returned it to the oven.

The dough, not rolled thinly enough, puffed up to the width of focaccia bread, and the mozzarella, too fresh maybe, turned the top of the pizza into a lake Sad smile

pizza

It was still edible, and my husband said that he liked the bread-like quality. I think he was just being nice. We still had a relaxing night in, just without the delicious pizza I had planned on.

What is your latest kitchen fail?

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I tried to write my response to the Marie Claire “Hunger Diaries” article last night but decided against posting. I don’t consider myself a healthy living blogger anymore for many reasons, just a food blogger who also happens to have a healthy, balanced life.  I’ll leave it at that :) If you have any thoughts on the issue I am still interested in hearing them because the article and bloggers featured aside, I do think that readily available information via the internet comes with as many negatives as it does positives. It’s just what we do with them that matters.

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Tags: baking, pizza, recipe

  1. A Boston Food Diary’s avatar

    This sounds delicious- I can completely understand the disappointment, but I bet it was very tasty- who doesn’t love bread with cheese and sauce?

    My most recent failure (note the most recent part :-) ) was my version of Pho and my silly error in putting lime wedges in the boiling stock. Pure silliness

    Either way I am very impressed with your baking skills-you have been making some mouthwatering things!!!!

    Reply

  2. Kathy’s avatar

    Pizza Crust can be hand stretched! Just take your time and be gentle with it! Also – this doesn’t sound like a fail at all, just a different route to the same thing! You’ll find that most fresh mozzarella runs like that, it retains much more water than the pre-shredded stuff you get at the grocery store, it’s got much better flavor though! REgardless your pizza still looks delicious!

    YUM!

    Reply

  3. Hadley’s avatar

    Pizza is SO frustrating. I took the pizza class at Stir with my mom and she has turned into a pizza making pro. I’m still too intimidated to try. It might be worth signing up for one of their pizza classes? It was a blast and their techniques are really easy…at least that is what my mom says!

    Reply

    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      I have always wanted to take a class at Stir. I will keep an eye out for the pizza one and hopefully register before it fills up!

      Reply

    2. Emily’s avatar

      oh too bad! i find that working the dough manually is more effective than using a rolling pin. With arms raised, use your fists to stretch the dough. I don’t do any tossing but it helps shape the dough nicely!

      Reply

    3. Elina’s avatar

      Oh no! We didn’t use a rolling pin in the class though. You should have tried the toss and turn method :)
      My latest kitchen fail? Hmm, I feel like there was something but now I can’t remember. I guess it wasn’t major ;)

      Reply

      1. traveleatlove’s avatar

        I did try the toss and turn method. :( I think because it was completely whole wheat crust, it was a little drier than the dough we used so it kept ripping. But adding water made it too sticky. A rolling pin probably would have helped a little!

        Reply

      2. Kimmy’s avatar

        I always love that you posts your “fails” as well as your triumphs! :-) And so not a fail in this case – it just wasn’t the same consistency but probably the same taste! I also stretch my pizza usually using the my fists and holding it out in front of me. The only danger is tearing the dough usually. Good luck in your next endeavor!

        Reply

      3. Justin’s avatar

        Whenever I use fresh mozzarella on a pizza, I slice it, then put it on a plate covered with paper towels. Put another layer of paper towels on top, and another plate on top of that, and squeeze out some water to let the mozz dry out a bit. This will prevent pizza lake.

        Sunday I attempted chicken under a brink on the grill… except just as I put the chicken on the grill, I ran out gas… I had a back up tank, but it took me a few minutes to realize what was happening and to change the tank. All of the skin on the chicken stuck to the grill.

        Reply

      4. brandi’s avatar

        That’s the one great thing about pizza – even if it doesn’t turn out perfect, it still tastes delicious :)

        I’ve also stopped pre-baking the crust, and it helps SO much!

        We’ve found that a REALLY hot oven (475-500) works perfectly. Spread out the dough, top it, and bake about 15 minutes.

        Reply

      5. The Red Menace’s avatar

        Per Elina’s comment, while we own a rolling pin, we almost never use it with pizza. Completely not a standard method, but Mr. Menace usually sort of just stretches the dough into the shape he wants. Your pizza still looks pretty tasty though – and I’m sure with more practice will live up to the one in your mind!

        Reply

      6. Sara’s avatar

        I have a good whole wheat pizza dough recipe for you that may be a little easier: http://2lemons.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/whole-wheat-pizza-dough/

        I usually use a rolling pin, but I think you could hand-stretch this. The olive oil keeps it from getting too dry. And you could definitely add fresh herbs if you wanted. Also, I don’t pre-bake my dough. I just add the toppings and cook it in a very hot (475 or 500) oven until the cheese starts to brown.

        My latest kitchen fail involved this very recipe! I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t put enough oil in the dough, so by the time it rose it was so stiff and dry that there wasn’t a chance of rolling it out. I ended up having to throw it away. Luckily I broke the curse on that last week and made it again just fine!

        Reply

      7. Heather’s avatar

        I absolutely love making homemade pizza dough – but I have had my fair share of disasters.

        I do highly recommend a rolling pin and a pizza stone – you can buy one pretty inexpensively at bed and bath.

        My husband and I are big pizza fans so I figure we have saved more then our fare share of takeout by making our own.

        Reply

      8. Michelle’s avatar

        I’m still proud of you for trying to make pizza dough since our class at KAF! My most recent fail were my mushroom stuffing muffins. I took the first one out before it had cooled and it fell apart. Whoops! I let it cool and then took a second one out and it came out perfect. Poor Bret had to eat a random pile of stuffing while I photographed and ate one that stayed together!

        Reply

      9. Alicia’s avatar

        My most recent fail is also baking. I wanted whole wheat rolls, but didn’t have all the ingredients called for in the recipe – but had everything for a different whole wheat bread, so I decided to just cut them into rolls before I baked them…..huge mistake.

        the were like little whole-wheat rocks.

        Reply

      10. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

        At least you tried! I fail quite a bit in the kitchen, but it usually has to do with timing and things drying out or being overcooked. I’m working on it though.

        Thank you for all your support on my blog posts. It really means a lot :)

        Reply

      11. Dana’s avatar

        This looks like the most successful fail I’ve ever seen… I mean really, how bad could bread, cheese and sauce be!? Sorry it didn’t turn out the way you expected!

        Reply

      12. Megan’s avatar

        I find that a lot of the time when I try to make pizza dough at home it’s not as light and chewy as the one we made in class. Was the dough able to be stretched rather than rolled out? Maybe that would have helped? I still want to try the recipe we made there at home and see how it bakes up in a normal oven.

        That cheese lake looks gooey and delicious!

        Reply

      13. Simply Life’s avatar

        oh I think that actually looks amazing! I just made a soup last night that my husband hated – he found something else while I had 3 bowls and more for lunch today :)

        Reply

      14. Kim’s avatar

        A bottle of wine in lieu of a rolling pin? Too funny! I probably would have done the same thing knowing how I am. At least it was still edible! And it still looks good too. I like the idea of adding basil to the dough for more flavor. Yumminess!

        As for any recent fails, hmmm. The rice I made recently was a grand success but it wasn’t a total failure either. You can read about it in my latest post. This food blogger is starting to finally find her niche: Simple, inexpensive, and quick meals and/or side dishes.

        Now if only I had more readers and followers on Twitter. *ahem* Pay no mind to me. Shameless whimpering today. I blame it on fatigue. LOL

        Thanks for sharing!

        Reply

        1. traveleatlove’s avatar

          I am following now! I am behind on blog-reading and looking forward to some time over the long weekend to catch up. I haven’t been home before 10 this week and usually leave the house at 7:40 am! This whole blog thing takes LOTS of patience, and ultimately enjoying it for you, not how many readers or comments you have. I stopped paying attention to my traffic a few weeks ago and now just have fun with it. That was the best decision I have made. Finding your niche is such a huge step too! :)

          Reply

          1. Kim’s avatar

            Yea, I do enjoy it for me but I admit, boredom and curiousity gets me checking my traffic. I’m bad like that. I need to find more things to do outside the house. LOL. Actually, with the weather finally cooling down I can get out and start shooting again (photography, not guns. haha)

            Patience is NOT one of my strong suits which; in a weird way, is why blogging is a good thing for me. It’s TEACHING me patience, albeit slowly. In good time it will happen.

            Now, who wants ice cream? Hehehe.

            Reply

          2. Samantha’s avatar

            Pizza dough is my arch enemy. I can just never get it to be thin and crispy at home (my preferred version). Two different pizza fails have been with a fig, prosciutto, arugula and blue cheese version, and with a zucchini and ricotta one. Both had ingredients that were too good for the ginormous flour ball that they ended up resting/melting/running off after baking. Le sigh. A friend of mine just picks up precooked doughs from local pizzeries, methinks that may be the way to go.

            On the mozzarella note, my understanding is that fresh mozzarella is not be melted. It can turn dangerously runny, sticky, hard when it cools, and generally unmalleable. A few years ago I ordered a tomato, basil, mozz panini to go from an Italian deli that grilled it and wrapped it in tin foil. Well, the tin foil would.not.come.off. Like, at all. It had soldered to the sandwich, and when I called to complain they said it was because fresh mozz should never be melted (um, thanks so much for letting me order that then). Anyway, take it with a grain of salt, but now I never cook with fresh mozz, just add it to the dish afterwards.

            Reply

          3. Susan’s avatar

            I bet it really did still taste good! I am still suffering from my orzo/soup incident from over the weekend. We made so much that it’s been for dinner every night, and every night we have to add a box of chicken broth to add to it.

            Reply

          4. Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear’s avatar

            I usually fail muffins, I don’t know why but they’re hard to bake :D I haven’t tried anything more complex, pizza is the only thing I can do well.

            Usually a wine bottle works for me, but I guess your dough might be a bit different to what I usually do.

            Reply

          5. Julie’s avatar

            It’s not a failure, it’s Sicilian style pizza! Latest failure: I made salted caramel squares a little while ago but as it was my first attempt at caramel, I was a little timid and worried about burning the sugar and water so it never browned…they tasted fine but looked somewhat anemic. How does that saying go? “Approach cooking & love with reckless abandon.” The next batch were fantastic, if I do say so myself! You just have to do the pizza again; you’ll be great!

            Reply

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