Posted By stephanie on December 22, 2008
Just pretend that you have a pizza party planned with, say, oh a whole lot of kids and adults. Let’s make it an End of the Year/Christmas Party just to add to the frenzy of the event. We will place the date right between Thanksgiving and Christmas for maximum effect.
Preparations for this party begin long in advance. Gifts are purchased. Supplies for crafts assembled. (Don’t laugh! I did help with crafts! Sort of. The kids did have to demonstrate to me the proper use of a glue gun.) Desserts procured and the car packed.
Ack! I forgot. This is a PIZZA party. And I have a child allergic to…CHEESE. Sharp intake of breath. This particular child would not complain if I shoved a jelly sandwich at him and said “Have at it.” as I have been known to do. (Note: Not trying to saintify said child, other things he would complain about, but not the sandwich.) Said child really likes food and food is fun to eat with friends and it is nice to be “normal” and eat what everyone else is eating-even with a bit of variation.
I dislodge the bread maker from the bottom of the pantry, upsetting a bottle of mineral water and two rectangular lunchboxes. I right the bottle, toss the lunch boxes unceremoniously back into the pantry and calculate the time…1 hour for the bread maker to work its magic, another 30 minutes for rising, (in a warm oven to help us all out) Pop that puppy in the oven and we can be out of the house in 2 hours. That will work. I think. If all goes perfectly. Ha!
I start tossing ingredients into the little mixing/kneading/whatever else it does pot-like container. I have momentary angst remembering the dead yeast of Ren-Fest pretzels. I use a new three strip of yeast hoping for health among the colony and push start. I relax and start cleaning up the mess. I continue the neurotic reiterating of our timeline in my head and realize…TOPPINGS! Pizza is not simply dough. Another sharp intake of breath. Scour kitchen. Begin to defrost spaghetti sauce. Lots of vegetables, meat, tomato sauce…that will work. Toss a can of sliced black olives (in the cute little can with drawings of olive slices floating about on the golden label) in the mix for good measure and tell the kids we have to be ready to dash to the car with hot pizza in hand. Bread maker beeps and I grab half of the dough and begin kneading. The other half of the dough languishes, forgotten in the bread maker. The pizza does work and is taken hot and steaming to the party where it is promptly consumed by a grinning boy sitting amongst his friends.
The poor forgotten half-lump of now cold pizza dough sits sadly and uselessly on the counter of the empty cold house. (It really was cold; we hadn’t turned the heat on yet. Think “Cold as a penguin’s bum” type of cold.)
We returned from the party many hours later and I scanned the kitchen disaster and the old dough still in the bread maker. “I don’t care.” I thought and went to read a book on the 1889 Johnstown Flood. Much more interesting than my cold, dirty kitchen. The kids went out side to play and I steeped a cup of green tea and read of the disaster.
That evening, we did clean the kitchen and David looked at the dough lump, now getting a dry crusty layer on top, and asked what I wanted to do with it. “I don’t know.” I wittily answered and tossed the dough into a bowl, covered it with a dish towel and shoved it into the middle shelf of the refrigerator next to the half eaten container of hummus and some pomegranate juice.
That was Friday.
Then there was Saturday.
Monday noonish, I was again rifling through the fridge looking for some lunch sustenance and I saw the old dough and made a face. Lifting the cloth, the dough was crusty and blah. Still having the wrinkled, splatted form my careless tossing gave it on Friday.
I shrugged, “Bread sounds good.” I thought. “Wonder what would happen if I baked this pathetic looking stuff?”
I kneaded the dough. Trying vainly to fold in the dry crusty area, it eventually became elastic and felt…well, okay. I warmed the oven and place the bread in to rise. An hour later it looked pretty good. I slashed the top and painted it with some water and baked it.
I pulled it out when it turned golden and fought the kids off with the vicious snapping of a dishtowel, (With the tip wet so it cracks menacingly. I am really mean.) spouting comments about cooling to “protect the crumb” that were never heard anyway. It smelled of Italian herbs (it <i>was </i>a pizza crust after all) and fresh bread and who could blame them?
After about 20 minutes, neither the kids nor I could wait any longer. (None of us has had lunch, remember?) Still warm, we cut the loaf. It was very pretty and I gasped. It was velvety and smooth. The most delicate bread I have ever made. It tasted even better. We were eating slice after slice, buttered and unbuttered. Caroline had the most restraint of the three of us and said “We must keep some for Daddy. This is so good!” So we stopped with reluctance.
I am sure this was the best bread I have ever made. From 3 day old, carelessly stored pizza dough.
And I don’t think I have any hope of ever making it just the same way again.
But it sure was good.