Saturday, Jul. 05, 2003
Remember, in science There Are No Failures, there are only, um, unexpected results.
Yeah, that's it, unexpected results. And really, in some ways, they could almost be called, uh, spin-offs.
Yesterday here at MarnCo Labs, a wholly owned subsidiary of MarnCo, the ruthless multinational behind The Big Adventure, we conducted our first experiment towards Codex Barbecue Pizza, the creation of the ultimate BBQ Pizza.
Methodical souls that we are here, we're starting with the crust. Since MarnCo Labs are the kind of Luddites who own neither a food processor nor a bread machine (our motto: Yes, Science Is Okay, But Do We Actually WANT That Many Appliances?), we decided that our first step was to find a hands-on, machine-free pizza crust recipe.
When in doubt, go to Bread World. So we made the basic recipe here, using the traditional yeast because We Fear The New Fangled Things of the World.
The MarnCo Labs team, which would be me with my cat, Zoe, watching expectantly, made the simplest crust to start out with. It was a plain, unbleached white flour crust, its bottom dusted with finely ground cornmeal. We broke it into four small crusts, figuring that would make individual pizzas which would be easier to handle on the grill.
So far, so good.
The dough was extremely elastic and despite vigorous use of both a rolling pin and very colourful threats, it refused to roll out to anything less than 1/4 inch thick. That looked stupidly thick to me, but frankly I was tired of messing with it. There is only so much science I want to know about.
That left the problem of creating an outer rim, the wall of dough that holds in the sauce and toppings. No mention of how to accomplish this feat was given in the basic recipe because the recipe writers assumed that Any Moron Could Figure Out That Part.
I stand before you, The One Moron Who Could Not Figure Out That Part.
What I decided to do was to just kind of pinch the dough into a rim, like you do pie crust. I put the dough on the BBQ with my pinched rim side down (because I wanted to create a light crust on the side that would hold the toppings) and the moment it hit the heat of the grill the dough puffed out, completely erasing my rim.
Thus, when I flipped it, to my horror I saw I had created two completely smooth 9" bread disks. Well. Okay. I took them off the grill, turned them unbaked side down on a cookie sheet, put on the sauce, toppings and cheese on the side I'd just baked. Then I put them back in the BBQ to cook the other side of the crust as well as the toppings.
Since all the goodies were on a completely smooth surface, without a wall o' crust on the outside to hold them in, as they heated and bubbled many of said goodies slid serenely into the oblivion of my BBQ's innards.
I decided that maybe the problem was that the rim side had gone on the grill face down. Maybe if I put the bottom of the crusts on the grill first, then the rims would be preserved. I had two small pizzas left with which to test that hypothesis.
On the grill they went. Down went the lid. Small beads of perspiration formed on my forehead. When I lifted the lid of the BBQ I again saw two completely smooth 9" bread disks.
Remember, in science There Are No Failures, there are only um, unexpected results. I finished them up as I had the first ones.
Because the MarnCo Labs first stab at BBQ Pizza Crust bears a startling resemblance to a frisbee, the brain trust over in our Marketing Department has suggested calling our first, uh, spin-offs either frizzas or pisbees.
Feel free to let us know which would be more appropriate.
One of my three loyal readers sent me an e-mail last week mentioning that Fine Cooking had a past article on how to grill pizza on a BBQ, but unfortunately they didn't post that article on their site. What they did post, though, were the instructions that Explain The Mystery of the Pizza Crust Rim. Of course, I only found that this morning, because, well, This Is The Way My Life Works. I will try it next time.
Okay, so visually and structurally Work Remains To Be Done on the Crust. What about flavour and texture?
Well, the BBQ gives the crust a lovely smoky flavour. The texture was superb--crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and the dusting of finely ground cornmeal on the bottom was a great touch. However, because I didn't get it rolled out thinly enough, it was a very thick crust and a lot more crust than I'm used to.
Even worse, the crust itself is a bit bland. I'm thinking of swapping out a cup of the unbleached white flour for a cup of whole wheat flour, which should give it a slightly nuttier taste. I'm thinking some Parmesan cheese might be in order here. The Possibilities Will Be Mulled Over in anticipation of next week's effort.
So there you have it, Round One in the creation of Codex BBQ Pizza. Not exactly what I hoped for, but now, if you ever have the need for a home-baked frisbee--and really, who amongst us has not, at one time or another, wished to create a home-baked frisbee?--well we at MarnCo Labs have Shown You The Way.
There will be further bulletins as events progress.
Goal for 2003: 500 miles - 804.5 kilometers
Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -
.:Adventures In Oz:.
.:12% Beer:. .:Links:. .:Host:. .:Archives:.
This template is a riff on a design by the truly talented Quinn. Because I'm a html 'tard, I got alot of pity coding to modify it from Ms. Kittay, a woman who can make html roll over, beg, and bring her her slippers. The logo goodness comes from the God of Graphics, the Fuhrer of Fonts, the one, the only El Presidente. I smooch you all. The background image is part of a painting called Higher Calling by Carter Goodrich which graced the cover of the Aug. 3, 1998 issue of The New Yorker Magazine. Kids, don't try viewing this at home without Netscape 6 or IE 4.5+, a screen resolution of 800 X 600 and the font Mead Bold firmly ensconced on your hard drive.
©2000, 2001, 2002 Marn. This is me, dagnabbit. You be you.