I referenced a few days ago that I had made ciabatta with some of my pizza dough. I like to make my dough 1-3 days in advance to enhance the flavor*. Lately I’ve been using dough that is more or less a combination of pizza dough and ciabatta. Essentially the recipe is a ciabatta recipe with almost 50% whole wheat flour. This takes away a bit of my gluten which means I have to take care to develop it well enough while kneading to make sure my dough doesn’t fall apart while making the pizzas.
This morning I took out my dough which had been in the fridge since two days ago and shaped it. Then I transferred it on wax paper to the freezer. I made six medium-sized pizzas (sans the toppings) and piled them up one on top of another. This is the experiment.
I will take out the dough 1-2 hours before I plan to bake and let them thaw out and then put the toppings on them. I have read about people pre-cooking their dough and then freezing it, both with and without toppings but I didn’t want to have a pizza that seemed like leftovers. I just want to know if I can break pizza night up into more manageable steps. My ultimate goal would be to freeze an entire unbaked pizza and see if it will still puff up in the oven when baked, kind of like Digiorno. From Our Front Porch freezes their pizza dough after shaping it but I haven’t yet found anyone who has done the whole thing uncooked (which doesn’t mean nobody has, I just haven’t found them!).
Well, I pulled out the dough in the middle of the afternoon and they had all stuck to each other. So my first smart idea for next time is not to stack them! I need a more manageable way of freezing them and keeping things from sitting on top of them. I then found that many of them were falling apart as I moved them about the counter top, getting things into position for preparing my pizzas. After a while I decided to cut my losses and threw four of the six pizzas into a big lump and reworked the dough.
The two that looked the best I put back in the freezer, only this time just straight onto pizza trays, without stacking them. I turned shaped the dough pile into three new balls of dough and let them sit for an hour. Then I proceeded with pizza night as planned (but don’t worry, I still revisited the experiment).
The first pizza was a half-and-half pizza, with half being the always kid-friendly pepperoni (with local pepperoni) and the other half having caramelized Spanish onions, garlic, and steamed broccoli (no, the broccoli is not local, but our friends were leaving town and left a bunch of perishables with us so in a sense it is local since it came from their house which is closer than the grocery store or any farm…).
Pizza number two had a light base of sunflower oil (our best local option), mozzarella cheese, smoked blue cheese, chicken (remember the chicken we ate a few days ago, we have lots left!), and leeks. This pizza was quite good but I decided next time I would put a base of ricotta cheese on it to help moisten it.
The final pizza was a repeat from several weeks ago. It had a base of pizza sauce and mozzarella, and was topped with beets that were simmered for 30 minutes, crumbled extra sharp white cheddar, and more leeks. It was awesome! The key to putting beets on a pizza seems to be making sure they are cooked the way you like them BEFORE you put them on the pizza. Since I like my beets to have a bit of butter on them I lightly fry them to melt the butter after cooking them in water for half an hour.
Back to the Freezer…
I pulled the completely frozen dough out of the freezer and topped it with sauce and cheese and then returned it to the freezer. Later in the evening I checked to see if all was frozen and indeed it was so I then wrapped it in plastic wrap (do they make biodegradable plastic wrap??) and put them back in the freezer, this time stacking them more confidently than the first time. I will update when I cook these with fresh toppings someday soon…. Or not too soon, since they are in the freezer what’s the rush?