Sunday, November 8, 2015

We awoke early to a cool, dreary and drizzly morning. Once we shook the cobwebs out of our heads we began our morning rituals, but with a bit of hurry-up. We needed to be on the road early.
Several times a month, on Sunday mornings, we all pile into the Doodle Mobile (all Doodle families have one of these) and head out. We always stop to get a fresh bouquet of flowers. They smell so good and are very colorful. Mommy loves flowers.

As we approach, the Doodles get antsy. A definite mood change comes over them. When we get out there is not the usual frolicking and pulling on the leashes. They are very calm and stay close to me.
We walk a short distance and they immediately either sit or lay down always facing the same direction. They know where they are. This is one of the only times I dare let go of their leashes for I know here they will not go anywhere until I pick them up again.

We place the flowers and stay awhile enjoying the visit. I know it is time to leave when Rosco begins to get morose. He seems to miss his Mommy the most. I do not believe he has gotten over this nor do I believe he ever will.

Our ride home is always very quiet. Once home I make sure they get to run and play before we go inside. This seems to cheer them up and the rest of the day becomes normal. It is very obvious they have not forgotten their Mommy. We look forward to our next visit.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Berry Oaks Doodle Ranch Pizza Dough Recipe

I was fortunate to learn this recipe from a long-time pizza maker who ran a small restaurant in Agnano, Italy. He let me work with him on my days and nights off and taught me the dough is the most important part of a pizza. His advise, “Do it exactly the same way every time.” This means precise measurements.
He used a soft wheat flour, Italian Tipo 00 (a type of Farina flour). He warned me I would, probably, not find that back home so he suggested a good bread flour. I prefer King Arthur Bread Flour, but it is difficult to find here so I use Gold Bond Bread Flour and it works for me. I, also, sift it to make it lighter as the Tipo 00 is.  Since he made his dough in bulk, he sat down with me, and without the use of a calculator, subdivided his recipe to a double serving size. Just remember, the following is a starting point. If it doesn’t work for you, make slight adjustments to the ingredients. It took me dozens of tries to get what I was looking for. And Oh! The toppings?  Knock yourself out. What ever you want, but do not pile them on for the dough gets soggy and it will not cook properly.


10 oz.  bread flour
2 tbs. gluten (this makes it elastic)
1 tsp.  active dry yeast
½ tsp.   salt
1 tsp.  oregano (optional)
½-1 tsp.  garlic powder (optional)
½ tsp.  fresh ground black pepper (optional)
2 fl. Oz.  extra virgin olive oil
6.5 fl. oz.  warm water (90F-110F)

There are many ways to make a dough these days. A mixer with a kneading hook is good, a bread machine works fine, but you must knead the dough by hand, a food processor works well or, the old fashion way, mix and knead by hand. Whatever way you should chose make sure the resulting dough has enough elasticity to stretch. You, also, may have to tweak this recipe for your liking. For those who have not done this before I would recommend watching several videos on You Tube demonstrating the process. 

Let the dough rise for a minimum of one hour. I like to make a day ahead and store in the refrigerator overnight. Remember, this is a double recipe so, if desiring a thin crust, half the dough and freeze one portion or use it all for a thicker crust.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and begin stretching it to the desired size. Place the finished dough on a pizza peel that has been sprinkled with course corn meal or place on a oiled pizza pan and begin your toppings.

Make sure your oven is hot. I crank mine up to 550F and let is heat up for 10 minutes before inserting the pizza.  Let it bake until the crust is brown or even blackened in spots, depending on the degree of crispness you desire. It will not take long so keep a constant eye on it to prevent burning. Once out of the oven, slice and enjoy.