Finding wonderfulness through stickiness
Sometimes life gets sticky. But perhaps life is meant to get sticky, leading to a wonderfulness that grows and challenges us.
What is God trying to say to me through the stickiness of pizza dough?
Sometimes life gets sticky. I would like to demonstrate this with pizza dough. Yes, pizza dough. I agreed to make the pizza dough, although I had never made it before. Because I have become pretty confident with baking bread I thought, “well, this can’t be that hard.”
Next, my husband opened Julia Child’s “The Way to Cook” cookbook to the pizza dough recipe page, with yeast notes on the bookmark. I briefly looked over the instructions and said, “Easy.” Inside my head, my arrogance popped up, I can do this. I’ve got this. And then, the feeling of doubt crept in! I know it shouldn’t have that high of a level of anxiety, but perhaps it’s just the unknown of what is ahead that gets me.
I find myself intently reading the directions and doing what my husband does in prepping – getting every ingredient, measuring cup, and spoon out and in place. Ready to go! Although prepared, I proceeded, let’s say gingerly.
The process of getting the water to be lukewarm, no higher than 110 F, took a little more time of back and forth than I wanted. Then I ended up making the yeast twice as I wasn’t sure if it was bubbling enough. But soon after mixing everything into the food processor, I discovered the stickiness of pizza dough. The dough was everywhere – on the countertop, my hands, the flour bag, the sponge, and the sink. But I persevered and had my dough in the bowl, wondering if it would be of any use. Had I kneaded it right – note to self – lookup kneading. But about an hour later – it did rise, and I was proud. I then punched it down (gathering that meant deflating it – did it? Need to look that up too.)
Of course, the wondering goes on. Will it be any good? What if I didn’t do it right? What will we have for dinner?
Regardless, I feel amazing, accomplished. Realizing that today’s stickiness brought me joy! I know there has to be a lesson in this. What is God saying to me in the stickiness of pizza dough? To have more confidence? See the good that happens when I follow directions? Let my schedule be flexible enough to learn new things like pizza dough? Good things can come from perseverance? Being a homemaker is awesome? I am sure it is all these things. Thank you, God. I am grateful for the lessons today. Thank you for giving me a wonderful husband who is making the pizza from my pizza dough, for the pizza dough in general, for my home, for this wonderfulness through stickiness. Although challenging and threatening to never do it again (and I will), it was fulfilling.
Be anxious for nothing –
Paul says in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” God knows our needs. He knows that many of us feel anxious, fearful, or doubtful of whether or not we are measuring up or doing enough. He took me through a little cooking lesson to show me that I had these feelings creeping up inside of me and that, well, I don’t need to have them. These are not feelings that God wants for me. Therefore, I do not need them. God says to have no fear, not be anxious, for He is with us. We may not have got it all, but He does.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
When Don came into the kitchen later, I said pizza dough is sticky. He agreed that it was sticky. Then I said pizza dough is hard. We smile and laugh. But it is so good! Yes, sometimes life gets sticky, but perhaps life is sometimes meant to get sticky. Maybe it can sometimes lead to a wonderfulness that we would not know unless we had a challenge that took us there.
- The yeast mixture
- - 1 package dry-active yeast
- - 1/2 cup tepid water (not over 110F)
- - 1/8 tsp sugar
- Additions to add to the yeast mixture
- - 3/4 cup cold milk, plus more, if needed
- - 2 Tbs olive oil
- The dry ingredients
- - 3 cups all-purpose flour (measure by scooping and leveling)
- -1 1/2 tsp salt
- Special Equipment Suggested: A food processor
Julia Child "The Way to Cook"
Mixing the dough
Whisk the yeast ingredients in a measuring cup with the lukewarm water. Let this bubble up for 5 minutes or so to proof.
Measure the dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor.
Blend the 3/4 cup of milk into the ready yeast mixture.
Turn on the machine and process in the yeast, then the oil, and droplets more milk, if needed, just until the dough masses on the blade of the processor.
The dough will be very soft. Let it rest 5 minutes, and it will develop enough body to be processed 2 seconds more in the machine.
Then turn it out onto your lightly floured work surface.
Knead 50 strokes by hand, give a 2-minute rest, and knead 20 strokes more to make a soft, smooth dough.
Rising - about 1 1/2 hours. Let the dough rise in a covered bowl until doubled in bulk. Turn it out onto your work surface, and it is ready to cut and form as your recipe directs.
*Ahead of time note: If you are not ready to bake, punch the dough down and set the covered bowl in a cooler place, where it will keep safely for an hour or more. You can chill or even freeze it, but then it must be brought to room temperature and start to rise again before you form and bake it.
Form dough gently with your hands into smooth balls. Cover loosely and let rest 10 minutes before making pizza.
This made two 16-inch disks. I used King Arthur All Purpose Flour, Organic Sugar.
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- Fully Risen Pizza Dough for a 16-inch Pizza (see Rosemary's Classic Pizza Dough)
- Dust of Cornmeal Flour
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups Cheese: Mozzarella & Grated Parmesan (or Romano) Cheese
- 1 cup Tomato Sauce
- Herbs to taste: Black Pepper, Oregano, Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/2 cup Sauteed Mushrooms (about 1/2 package)
- 6 slices of Pepperoni (quartered)
- 1 small can sliced Black Olives
- 1/2 Green Pepper (slice and chopped)
- 1/4 White Onion (slice and chopped)
- SPECIAL EQUIPMENT SUGGESTED:
- A baking stone and pizza paddle; silicon pastry brush for oil
Preliminaries: Put your pizza stone in the middle of the oven while preheating the oven to 450.
You will want to lightly powder the paddle.
Form the pizza disk: Form the dough into a 16-inch 1/4-inch-thick disk. This is done by rolling it out. You can then do stretching, or toss it in your hands. I used a technique that I learned where you flap the dough back and forth with your hands while turning it in a circle.
Lightly dust the top of the dough with cornmeal flour and fold it into four quarters and transfer it onto the pizza paddle. Press and form as needed.
Brush on a light coat of olive oil.
Spread the tomato sauce
Sprinkle on the herbs.
Add the cheese, sauteed mushrooms, onions, green bell peppers, olives, and pepperoni.
Baking: Slide the pizza onto the hot baking stone in the oven. Bake at 450 for 7-10 minutes until you see the cheese bubble and the edges puff.
Serving: Slide the pizza back onto the paddle and cut into slices with a pizza cutter.
You can refrigerate or freeze the leftovers and reheat them on a baking sheet. If freezing, be sure to thaw out your pizza before baking.
Keep an eye on the pizza during the last 5 minutes as oven heat varies.
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