No Knead Pizza Dough: Pear and Gorgonzola Flatbread with Baby Arugula and Shaved Parmesan

Pear and Gorgonzola Flatbread with Baby Arugula and Shaved Parmesan

Opportunity Cost…Revised…

I’ve written about opportunity cost of eating out last year, and re-wrote the post with a brand new recipe for my newspaper food column this week…

Before we had children, my husband and I used to eat out no fewer than 3 times a week. Our evenings wouldn’t even start until Seinfeld ended, and it wouldn’t be uncommon for us to have dinner reservations at 10pm. We’d easily spend $300 in an evening for just the two of us, because that’s just the kind of thing that irresponsible yuppies living large during the dot-com boom did. I’m not ashamed of the thousands of dollars that we threw in the entertainment bucket, because short of stumbling upon a long lost millionaire father, this kind of lavishness won’t come around for another 15 years, 4 months and 27 days. And that’s only if my youngest graduates high school on time.

I love my 2 chubby-cheeked dumplings very much, but the truth is, the financial responsibilities of parenthood suck. Date night with husband is now a very different reality. It’s the expense of dinner plus gas plus cost of babysitter. Cha-ching! $190 is easily spent in just a few hours, and really, was the trio of fancy flatbreads, gelato, so-so service and 2 glasses of house wine really worth it?

In case you recall high school economics, let’s calculate my opportunity cost: For $190 I could have bought: each kid a pair of new sneakers, 2 killer shredded pork burritos from the Burrito Stand, a frozen CPK barbeque chicken pizza, a pair of summer flip flops for each of us, a quart of pistachio gelato, fresh roasted coffee beans shipped from Caffe Roma in SF, a trip to the library, giant bottle of Bariani olive oil, a week’s supply of organic vegetables from the farmer’s market, gummy bear vitamins, 2 McDonald’s Happy Meals, a day pass to Sarasota’s Jungle Gardens and a bucket of worms. These are all favorite things that we cherish, make us giggle with delight and gladly fork over hard-earned money for.

As for the fancy flatbreads that I had ordered at the restaurant, it was easily duplicated at home. Sure, I didn’t have an inattentive waiter at my beck and call, but the joy of a spontaneous pizza dough sling-fest in the middle of the kitchen with the kids was definitely priceless.

This dough recipe is from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, definitely the most used book in the Steamy household in 2008! You don’t have to make the dough yourself – if you’re short on time, grab some fresh pizza dough from your supermarket or favorite pizzeria.

If you haven’t bought this book, grab it now! It’s been on backorder forever due to it’s popularity and finally the book is in stock! This No-Knead Pizza Dough is just one of over 100 recipes (all dough recipes are No-Knead). Best part of the dough is that you can make a batch, keep in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and pinch off a chunk of dough for a spontaneous flatbread. The ingredients for flatbread can be as simple as a brush of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.

No Knead Pizza Dough (Olive Oil Dough Master Recipe)

My notes: I love the flavor of the dough when it has the chance to chill out in the fridge at least overnight. I also use only half the yeast – the longer you let it sit in the fridge, the less yeast you need to use. So, if I’m looking to make the flatbread same day as I make the dough, I use the full 1 1/2 tbl yeast. If I am making the dough and letting it hang in the fridge, I’ll only use half the yeast. Half the yeast will be sufficient when you give it time to do it’s thing, and it will taste less “yeasty.”

From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Makes 4 1lb loaves. This recipe is easily doubled or halved

2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbl granulated yeast
1 1/2 tbl salt
1 tbl sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1. Mix the yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil with the water in a 5-qt bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container

2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a large wooden spoon.

3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature for about 2 hours. You can use the dough at this point, or refrigerate and use over next 12 days. If you refrigerate at least overnight, you’ll develop better flavor in the dough. If you only want to make 1 flatbread, just pinch off a grapefruit sized piece of dough to use…keep the remaining covered loosely in the refrigerator. You can freeze the dough as well…but I haven’t tried it, because honestly, it’s so good that the dough never goes unbaked for more than 4 days.

Pear and Gorgonzola Flatbread with Baby Arugula and Shaved Parmesan

If you have a pizza peel and a quick wrist, feel free to use that to shuffle the pizza into the oven. I’m not that coordinated – hand-eye coordination gene missing.. The key to great flatbreads to stretch the dough thin, a light hand in toppings and very fresh ingredients. It’s important to pre-heat your oven and your baking sheet – the hot baking sheet will help cook the dough faster. If you have a baking stone, the flatbreads will cook more evenly and faster.

For my GF friends, substitute the pizza dough with your choice of GF friendly dough, tortilla or flatbread.

Makes 4 large flatbreads

1 lb fresh pizza dough
2 pears, sliced thinly
1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese
a nice chunk of good quality Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved with vegetable peeler
1 cup baby arugula leaves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
flour, for dusting

Dust surface of dough with flour. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Stretch surface of dough on each side and tuck under, creating a round, ball with a taut surface. Flatten dough ball a little. Keep the dough covered until ready to use. If using cold, refrigerated No Knead Olive Oil dough (above), let the dough balls relax and warm up for 30 minutes on the counter before trying to roll or stretch out (it’s hard to stretch cold dough.) If using room-temp pizza dough, you may proceed to next step.

You’ll bake 2 at a time. Dust surface of dough and work surface with flour. with your hands, carefully stretch into a long, thin, oval shape, about 16″x 6″. The thinner you can get the dough without tearing, the better. You can use rolling pin (esp if your dough is still a little cold). If dough is difficult to stretch or roll, let it sit and relax for 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining. Cover loosely with towel.

20 minutes before you want to bake you’ll want to preheat your oven and your baking sheet. Crank up your oven to its highest setting (usually most ovens go up to 500F) and insert an inverted baking sheet.

Remove the hot baking sheet from oven and set your flatbreads on top, side by side. Work quickly and carefully. Brush surface with olive oil and layer pears and gorgonzola on top. Bake in oven for 7-10 minutes (keep your eye on the flatbread!) until top and bottom of flatbread is golden brown. Remove and repeat for remaining 2 flatbreads. Top with baby arugula and shaved parmesan.

***

The Original No Knead Bread

No-Knead Sticky Pecan Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

No Knead Nutella and Roasted Hazelnut Challah

Comments 80

  1. Kitt

    Wow, that looks terrific!

    I made the basic no-knead bread from the “Artisan Bread’ book yesterday to see how it compared with Jim Lahey’s. Instead of using a pizza peel, corn flour, pizza stone and broiler pan with water, I just tossed it in a preheated dutch oven à la Lahey and it turned out perfect. (Photos here.)

    I’m going to experiment with shapes and fillings on the next couple of loaves out of that batch. Definitely more economical than buying fancy loaves at the bakery!

  2. Kitt

    Granulated yeast is active dry yeast, usually sold in strips of three little packets or in jars, such as Red Star brand. The “Artisan Bread” recipes all call for a lot of yeast (a packet and a half or more), so if you think you might be making these breads a lot, it’s better to get a jar of it instead of the packets.

  3. Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy

    Just wait until your cute little guys are teenagers. Toys are cheap. Wait until they need $100 sneakers, iPods, Razrs, laptops, CARS!!! The bigger they get, the more their stuff costs. I am learning this the hard way!

    The flatbread looks great. Gorgonzola and pear is one of my favorite combinations. Carmelized red onions go great with them too.

  4. Melinda

    This flatbread sounds so good. I love the combination of Gorgonzola and pear.
    Those little boys are worth every penny!

  5. Happy Cook

    It is indeed looking really delicious.
    I just mixed yesterday for the Brioche bread from this book and will make tommorow. Will tell you how it went

  6. argus

    The pictures are gorgeous, Mrs H. Incidentally, I made Rustic Pear & Berries Cake yesterday and other half took some to work today (a definite sign that he likes it).

  7. LunaPierCook

    “Sure, I didnt have an inattentive waiter at my beck and call …” Sounds as though Scott needs a good talkin’ to. ;-) Your pics have really taken a huge leap in a nice direction this time, lady. Thanks, now I’m hungry!

  8. Paul

    My wife and I took a cooking class a while back where we learned to make basic pasta and pizza dough. Our kids love making both and enjoy grilling the pizzas. Yours looks fantastic and I’ve just added the No Knead book to my list of must have cook books.

    And, yes, toys do get more expensive as kids get older, but prepare yourself now for the amount of groceries two teenage boys can consume!

  9. Mike

    I don’t think I’d ever quite thought through the cost of a so-so night out when kids come into the picture… *yikes*

    Looks like you did a good job of outdoing the restaurant though–the flatbread looks (and sounds) delicious

  10. Miss T

    Sounds fabulous! I’ve been working my way through the 5-Minute Bread book, too, and I love it!

  11. veron

    That is gorgeous flatbread! That was also a brilliant lesson on economics.

  12. Trish

    Has anyone tried freezing this dough – either uncooked, par-cooked or once the bread/rolls/whatever has already been cooked?

    I’m already trying to figure out how to fit a few tubs of this – and the Challah dough – into my fridge. Maybe time for a second fridge dedicated to dough?

  13. Gretchen Noelle

    I have been making pizza weekly. This looks like a perfect thing for me to try this week! Thank you for these great bread ideas, they are all so worth making and baking!!

  14. Brave Sir Robin

    Great Post –

    When one adds up babysitter / bribe happymeal / gas, the cost JUST TO WALK OUT THE DOOR can be overwhelming. It adds up.

    Yummy photo!!

  15. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I am completely hooked on this book, too! Not that I mind kneading bread — I love it, actually — but it’s so easy to make this and have it sitting in the fridge. Wouldn’t it be a great way to have a pizza party?

  16. Suji

    I have yeast sitting in the fridge that says “active-dry yeast” which is granulated to look. Is that the same? God there are too many choices of yeast ( yuck sounds dirty)…lolol

  17. brilynn

    I seriously think this book is pure genius… why couldn’t I have invented it? Damnit, foiled again!

  18. joanne

    As soon as the leftovers are gone from my fridge, and the pears are ripe, I’m making this!

    Mmmmm Cafe Roma. Did you ever try Brewberry in Oakland? We had an addiction to Brew Velvet.

  19. Amanda

    I too am confused regarding the yeast. I bought a large jar of yeast that says Breadmaker yeast…is that the same yeast to use in these recipes?
    The flatbread looks phenomenal! Can’t wait to try it…

  20. Charcuterista

    I just got this book yesterday – I’m glad you are having such success with it. And the arugula on top of the flatbread is inspired! It makes me think of being in Italy, which is always a happy thought…

  21. SteamyKitchen

    hey guys, I don’t have the book with me right now. But I use granulated instant yeast – meaning NOT live yeast.

    I’m going to have Jeff the author pop in an answer your questions.

  22. Jeff Hertzberg

    Hi all, it’s Jeff Hertzberg, talking about yeast.

    OK, yeast is a one-celled plant-like living thing that lives in watery environments, but it needs to be dormant so it can be stored and sold in stores. The easiest way to do it is to dry it out and make it into granules, or even little hard cakes. They come out of dormancy (back to life, sort of) when you mix them with water.

    In testing the recipes for our book (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day), we found that would couldn’t tell the difference between various brands and formulations for dry granulated yeast. Our stuff will sit in the fridge for two weeks, and neither Zoe nor I can tell whether the initial rising was done with “Active Dry Yeast,” or “Instant Yeast,” the two types of granulated that are out there. You can also use the cake yeasts but you need to double the quantity if you go that way (it’s not generally available anyway).

    One other thing we’ve learned about yeast is that if you have more time, you can use less than we call for. Half, or even less, but you have to double the initial rising times, and often, the resting times once the loaves are formed (not an issue for flatbread, which can go right into the oven after being rolled out, like Jaden’s flatbreads.

    Speaking of which, those are gorgeous shots, and the recipe looks delicious. I am HUNGRY.

    Jeff Hertzberg

  23. Cakespy

    Ooh, what a great brunch (or anytime, really!) dish. It looks delicious, with great flavors intermingling. Looks like it would make this little tummy sing! (not literally)

  24. Lynn

    Why go out for mediocre food when you can eat such gorgeous food at home and still have money left over for worms?

  25. Lemmonex

    Oh, this reminds me of the CPK pear and Gorgonzola pizza that is (foolishly) no longer on the menu. YUM. I would order it wenever I got stuck there with a group adn it really was kinda delicious.

  26. Lemmonex

    Oh, this reminds me of the CPK pear and Gorgonzola pizza that is (foolishly) no longer on the menu. YUM. I would order it whenever I got stuck there with a group and it really was kinda delicious.

  27. DC

    So what we have here is my favorite salad as a topping for delicious flatbread. Sounds like (yet another) winner! On the topic of yeast, my brother used to own a small pizzeria in Seattle, and he turned me onto buying yeast in bulk. I can pick up a two pound brick at Costco for under six dollars, keep it tightly sealed in the fridge, and have enough at the ready for a year, easy. However since I picked up the Artisan Bread book (my new favorite), I may have to revise that time estimate. I seem to be baking quite a bit more bread than usual…

  28. Suganya

    One other reason I recreate restaurant dinners at home, is to spice ‘em up. My eggplant parmesan is spppiiiiiicyyy ;)

  29. Single Guy Chef

    Don’t forget that the cost of having kids also mean the loss of time spent with your single friends! Now what’s the cost of that? ;-)

    Those flatbreads look easy and yummy!

  30. Sarah C.

    This is awesome! I have some pears and some arugula in the fridge. I also happen to LOVE flatbread. Thanks for sharing, your pictures are always gorgeous!

  31. JEP

    BTW, Teenage boys bring lots of other hungry teenage boys over for meals & raiding the fridge…

    Your blog posts are always a perk-me-up-at the-end-of-the-day treat with lots of smiles & drool-worthy photos–thanks!

  32. Rebecca

    I’m with ya, mama-the dates aren’t what they used to be. Let’s just say we should buy stock in Netflix, if Netflix had stock. I can’t wait to try the pizza dough recipe, we eat pizza all the time and I need a reliable dough recipe! Love the toppings you chose. Also can’t wait to try the no-knead bread-we have a ceramic dutch oven-hope that will work, I’ll let you know! xo

  33. mochachocolata rita

    it doesn’t apply only to mamas…i am no mama but i hardly eat out. Being stingy (no no, thrifty is the word) is in my blood (it’d be a betrayal not to, my hometown folks will condemn me, i am chinese javanese for freak’s sake HAHAHAHAHA). but when i splurge, i spluuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrge, til i can only “eat” jaden’s food pics off the net

  34. Kaykat

    Mmm … this looks more than restaurant worthy! Pear and gorgonzola? Can’t quite go wrong with that :)

  35. Kevin

    That looks amazing!! Pear and gorgonzola is such a great combo! Placing it on a flat bread sounds like a good way to go. Nice photos!

  36. Ange

    G’day! Have been reading your blog for the last few weeks, clearing up the drool off my keyboard from your fab recipes, stories and your hot hot food porn. Haven’t seen any fellow Aussies shout out so far, so am hoping I am the first (but definitely not the only) to say I totally loooove your site! Bloody farking graaate shiiiiit is what it’d sound like if we had to verbally describe Steamy Kitchen! Keep satisfying us Downunder (no, that wasn’t to sound like anything dirty!)!

  37. RecipeGirl

    I do love arugula and on pizza it’s divine! I NEED TO GET THIS COOKBOOK!! I’ve been telling myself this for weeks. I can’t seem to justify buying my 24th cookbook of 2008 right now.

    I completely related to your mention of the luxury of spending in the pre-children era. Babysitters are $12 an hour here, so we often entertain at home and throw our kid in front of a movie upstairs :)

  38. Tartelette

    We don’t have children but as most indepedent and free lance people, we have to watch our budget and I totally understand your feeling when I have something at a restaurnat that is far from what I can make at home. I love the book!

  39. Madeline

    Those photos are amazing! Obviously I’ll be trying this recipe very soon, you’ve left me no choice ;)

  40. Stacy

    This looks great. I’ve been looking for a new pizza dough recipe–I’ll definitely try this one!

  41. amyjo smith

    night out??
    hmmm…
    we just hope the kids will quietly go to bed and NOT GET BACK UP…so we can have our candle lit dinner in the middle of the hardwood floor and pretend it’s a picnic :D

    i will have to find that bag of yeast (lots of kids…bread machine that i used to use daily…we just bought the 2lb bags) and make some yummy bread, i love flatbread!!

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