Recently, Justin came to me and complained that he never gets to cook any more. With my ambitious plan to try new recipes in 2012, and the fact that I enjoy cooking as a hobby, he felt as if he was not getting the opportunities he would like to experiment in the kitchen in his own right. After all, he used to cook all the time for his family before he met me.
And, to be honest, the process of trying a hundred new recipes last year was leaving me feeling pretty burned out when it came to cooking. I needed a break, and I was all too happy to hand over the reigns. At the top of his list was deep dish pizza; it has long been one of his favorite dishes to prepare, in fact, I even gave him a special deep dish pizza pan for our six-month anniversary. That we had not yet used it even once after nearly a year of living together was a further motivating factor for him. His inaugural deep dish pizza in our own home was truly long overdue.
My only request was that he find a new crust recipe, because his old one was a concoction of his own devising, in which he had substituted whole wheat flour for whatever it had originally called for, and the flavor and texture weren't really working for me - it was just too hard and crunchy. He agreed to try a recipe from our Baking Illustrated book from America's Test Kitchen, since I've had pretty good luck with their pizza crust recipes in the past. Unusually, this recipe called for the addition of cooked potato, with the idea that it would create a softer dough by decreasing the amount of gluten by reducing the amount of flour, and that sounded like a plus to me.
Unfortunately, the potato-based dough took things a little too far in the softness department. The dough didn't brown well in our pan, and while the cheese was melted and the toppings were cooked, the crust was anemic and soggy upon eating. The rest of the pizza was good, but the crust just wasn't what I was hoping for. Clearly, we're going to have to keep looking for a dough that will live up to the standards set by some of our favorite deep-dish places from around town.