Drunken Mesquite Dough
I set out to just make the dough, and took some pictures of the set-up because it just seemed like a “cool” thing to do. Or, maybe it’s because I often take pictures and blog about what I do around the kitchen? You decide. Anyway, as this dough came together it turned out to be a wet one. So, I started taking some more pictures as I went along. Here at Pizza Quest we see a lot of comments and I also get a lot of personal questions about making dough, and one recurring question is how to handle a sticky wet dough? And this one was definitely sticky and not just tacky. I must have simply added too much beer.I remember when I first started making my own pizza dough how it scared the heck out of me when I encountered a really wet/sticky dough. If you haven’t handled much dough, the sticky dough syndrome can intimidate you enough to stay away from the whole dough-making thing for years. Years!! If you’re hungry and determined, then maybe you will fight through it. You’ll see in the photos that I added flour and kept stretching and folding this dough to get it to the right consistency. I tried to do so as little adjusting as possible, but it was a pretty wet, beer soaked blob of flour. Each time I performed the “Stretch and Fold” it got a little firmer.
This dough is based on Peter’s Neo-Neopolitan Dough, which is a great home pizza dough! It’s truly the easiest, and I always get great results with it in my home oven. So, when I tweaked it for my original Mesquite Dough, Peter had suggested using about 10% Mesquite flour in my quest to create a desert-inspired pizza. That dough came out amazingly well and was a perfect platform for that particular pizza, which I blogged about awhile back. The mesquite flour gives the dough an earthy, nutty flavor, but it’s also very light and smooth tasting. The mesquite flour actually makes the whole dough a little more velvety, if that makes sense. So here’s the latest version, with me pushing the envelope as far as I could to see where it would take me.
For more information and fun here are the links to my original Mesquite Dough Pizzas.
The Hwy 15 Pizza: *Link
A Wandering Desert Road Pizza: *Link
Drunken Mesquite Dough
Combine the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl first and mix with a spoon.
Add the olive oil and honey if using followed by the beer.Mix for about 1 minute to get the ingredients to come together. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes and mix again for another minute until it’s a relatively smooth ball that has come together.
Here’s where my dough pictorial goes off the tracks! You can see that this initial dough is super sticky! It’s impossible to roll/fold this dough with my hands. I had to use an oiled dough scraper to get it off the counter and try to make it into a ball. You’ll also see in the photos that the ball was flat and just kept spreading out under it’s own weight. It didn’t sit up like a standard dough ball because it was so moist.To handle a dough this wet, I had to add a generous sprinkle of flour to the work surface and, thus, to the dough. Once added, I performed another series of stretching and folding and let it rest again. It took more than the couple stretch and folds to get this dough to a place where it could be handled. You can see it sticking to the counter. After the dry flour gets incorporated and sucked up by the wetness, the moisture still comes forth and takes over. So, you just have to keep at it. Add a little more flour. Stretch and fold and let it rest.
This dough took about 4 rotations to get it to where I could stop and the dough still remained super supple, but now I could handle it (of course, if I had cut back on the water — or the beer — by about 1/4 cup I might not have had to make all these adjustments).But the point of this post is to demonstrate how to work through an issue that can easily come up if you incorrectly measure ingredients, or are dealing with a wet dough.
So, if decide to make this dough, you may want to cut back the liquid just a little and you won’t have quite the wet experience I had, but will still come out with an amazing tasting dough. The flavor is nutty and light and, I want to add, the Double Barrel Ale brought out a maltiness that was terrific.
*Additional Note:You can see below in the gallery how I had to keep adding a little flour and working the dough until it finally found the right balance. It still remained a “wet” dough and baked up nicely in my home oven. I hope this helps some of you get through one of these experiences. A little music in the background and a beer in your left hand helps!
“Another Breakfast Pizza” recipe: *Link
Pizza Quest Info
Pizza Quest is a site dedicated to the exploration of artisanship in all forms, wherever we find it, but especially through the literal and metaphorical image of pizza. As we share our own quest for the perfect pizza we invite all of you to join us and share your journeys too. We have discovered that you never know what engaging roads and side paths will reveal themselves on this quest, but we do know that there are many kindred spirits out there, passionate artisans, doing all sorts of amazing things. These are the stories we want to discover, and we invite you to jump on the proverbial bus and join us on this, our never ending pizza quest.
...and other books by Peter Reinhart, available on Amazon.com