We had my sister, Jeanette, and my niece, Lindsey, visit us for my daughter’s baby shower (Madeline) this past weekend.
My original plan was to fire up a new outdoor cooking toy that I recently purchased — an outdoor cast iron griddle/grill. I won’t name the brand at this point because we have been having some challenges getting it up and running, and since it is outdoor cooking equipment I will be offering you an unbiased review in a future column.
So my fallback food of choice became pizza, and since I had not cooked outdoor fire-roasted pizza on my GMG pellet grill for Jeanette and Lindsey, I decided to fix six different pizzas, made up of some of our favorites.
But before we get into that, I’ve learned that I have recently and inadvertently passed along inaccurate information regarding pizza dough, so allow me to correct the record.
Specifically, the recipe I use for homemade pizza dough is a rather quick-rising dough that calls for 00 (double zero) Italian flour, which I purchase on Amazon. In my reading and research I had learned that 00 Italian flour was the best flour for pizza dough because it is the most finely ground flour available. It is also preferred in the making of homemade pasta, which I occasionally like to prepare.
I’ve since learned that the term “00” has nothing to do with how finely ground the grain is. It is more an Italian government measurement of color, and the color is determined by how much bran and germ is extracted. The 00 flour is the most white. You can then go as far up as 04, which is much darker. And, in case you think there is something special about Italian flour, it’s probably American grain that was shipped to Italy in the first place, as Italy is a net importer of grain for the production of its flour.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Many believe the thing to look for is the protein content in the flour that is the most important characteristic for the making of pizza dough, with 12% being the ideal target.
Because of the extraction process, most 00 Italian flour is left with only 8% to 9% protein. It looks as though good ole American bread flour might be the most perfect flour to use, as in most cases it has 12% protein composition.
And frankly, this makes sense to me. When I ran short of 00 flour on one occasion, I added some bread flour to the mix, and the family commented that they liked the crust better.
Now onto the six pizza bonanza served at the Lobeck household. As we sat around talking after dinner, an individual who shall remain unidentified commented that he/she required an antacid, which obviously damaged the fragile culinary ego of this columnist.
Another family member (unidentified, of course) made the astute observation that if you tried a small sampling of each pizza, the sheer number of ingredients now floating around in our stomachs was astounding, which may be the source of discomfort. I now provide you with the list we came up with following a detailed post-dinner discussion.
Here we go. Pickled beets, pistachios, tomato sauce, tomatoes, fresh basil, sweet peppers, red onion, yellow onion, pepperoni, mushroom, Alfredo sauce, chicken, BBQ sauce and Skyline chili. In terms of cheeses we had sharp cheddar, ricotta, shredded and fresh mozzarella, smoked Gouda and Parmesan cheese.
Griddle review coming very shortly!