Matt Gray

Nothing accomplished but pizza

May 16, 2005

Remember that list of things that I didn’t do yesterday from the previous post? Nothing has changed, but I made one hell of a pizza tonight. I went to lunch today with my Mom, and swung by Kowalski’s Market to use a gift certificate I scored for graduation (thanks, Tom). Two bags of King Arthur flour, some new yeast, tomatoes, and lots of mozzarella richer, I hit Target for some basic essentials. What the hell—why don’t they stock my anti-bacterial soap any more?

Anyway, I came home and wasted time on the internet for a while. You simply cannot beat the internet for its concentrated, time-wasting ability. Watch hours, days, weeks disappear before your very eyes; improve the curvature of your computer chair hunch. I poked around Amazon and played with its recommendations engine by plugging in various consumable media that I own. Soon enough, a tempting list of things to spend money on appeared. Magic! By the time I had moved the provisions out of their respective bags and entertained ideas of making dough, Fox’s Sunday TV blast began. I rarely watch TV (despite the last entry), but I’m a sucker for the likes of The Simpsons and Family Guy.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but for several hours today Rupert Murdoch owned my attention. I’ll omit commentary on the pair of Simpsons episodes, etc—it would be like a junkie describing heroin, serving no purpose at all. Back to the pizza-making.

I decided to try a new brand of yeast; I usually buy Red Star dry active yeast in the small glass jars. This approach seems more cost-effective than the paper packets. However, after a certain amount of time in my fridge, the yeast just dies. My yeast / water mixture just won’t proof any more, and the dough suffers for it. I sought to correct this with a purchase of Fleischmann’s yeast in the little packets. Within a few minutes of water contact, the yeast was bubbled up and alive.

The new mixer makes everything incredibly simple. Its action is very counter-intuitive: as you add flour during mixing, the flour appears to accumulate along the side, and it seems as if it will never be properly combined with the rest of the dough. This changes when the dough begins to form into a rough ball, and literally cleans the sides of the mixing bowl. In these last stages, it is key to keep enough flour in the bowl, lest the sticky ball tear and destroy the gluten strands that have begun forming.

Anyway, enough minutiae: the end result.


Man. That is probably my finest work to date, pizza-wise. I wish I had splurged for the the mozzarella di bufala rather than di latte for something like this. Amazing!

Oh, and in totally random shit news, I caught yet another episode of Minneapolis: COPS, a local show produced by the Minnapolis Police Department on cable access. These shows are usually quite interesting (if a bit painful); they trot out sex offenders, meth addicts, etc. to talk about their experience with a particular facet of crime. I listened to a level three sex offender describe his alcoholism, and his (hopefully) sincere desire to rehabilitate.

The fun part of this episode came when a pair of law enforcement officers demonstrated how to break away from a potential attacker. Several different situations were demonstrated: a wrist grab, a bear hug, and the date that goes too far. Watching one man pretend to bitch-slap another in self-defense was pretty strange. Just remember to use the following hand formation when going in for the throat:


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