I like learning new things in the kitchen; new techniques, new recipes and new cuisines. I am usually up for a good challenge, but when it came to learning how to do yeast dough, I almost gave up.
For the longest time I think I allowed my intimidation with the temperatures and science behind yeast stop me from just diving in and trying new recipes. But then along came the idea of making my own pizza dough, and I just *had* to learn.
When SPH was in business school, we were on a tight budget. The boys love pizza, but when you break down a basic pizza, what you pay for carry-out or delivery is a lot of money compared to the simple ingredients involved in making, say, a pepperoni pizza. A large delivery pizza can cost upwards of $10-15 dollars, a lot of money for some dough, pizza sauce, cheese and some slices of pepperoni.
Determined to figure out how to make good dough, I realized that I needed to trust my instinct more than relying on a thermometer. It hit me one day that a lot of yeasts need very warm/hot water, and they often say to get the water to about 105-110 degrees.
So to get the water to the proper temperature, now I simply imagine how hot my son’s forehead gets during his hottest fever, and get the water that warm.
It worked! I also found that if I add the yeast to water that is the proper temperature, after a few minutes it looks like this:
After I add the flour, sugar, salt and olive oil, it looks like this:
And then after a good hour or two, it looks like this:
I always add a little drama if R and G are around, announcing that the dough “magically” has risen!
So my tip for today’s Tuesday is to trust your instincts when making yeast dough…