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Surf and Turf Pizza

money shot

Hey guys! I'm popping in to tell you all about my latest Daring Bakers challenge: Pizza Dough! I was happy to see that we were being given the opportunity to yet again bake something savory instead of sweet. Don't get me wrong, baking the sweet stuff is fun, but not every single month. Plus, Mark and I LOVE LOVE LOVE pizza and we love making our own even more, so he was just as happy as me when he found out about my October challenge. Granted, I'm a few days late posting this, but better late than never!

The challenge went like this: We were told that we HAD to use the tossing method for at least 2 Pizza Crusts. If we found we didn't like the tossing method, we could switch to the rolling method, but we had to at least try the tossing method. We were asked to capture the moment by either filming or photographing ourselves while tossing the dough.

THE RULES: This month’s recipe left us with much freedom! It was up to use to make the sauce and top the pizza with whatever we wanted. The baking challenge was only about the crust - everything else was all us (the Daring Bakers).

I knew I wanted to use shrimp and Mark suggested I add little pieces of steak and call it a "surf and turf pizza". Isn't he smart? Ssshhh... don't tell him, though. :-)

So yeah, I followed the rules like a good girl and Mark video taped me (do they call it that anymore?) while I tossed the dough in the air. Apparently I'm not able to toss dough without letting out a "wooh!" every time. But unfortunately guys, that's just me. One humongous dork.


See? Dorkville... but oh well, I've come to terms with it. :-)

So to make this dough, which I have to say is a very good dough and the one we'll be using from now on, I started by adding a tablespoon of yeast to some room temperature water and added a tablespoon of sugar. Mix it up with a fork or whisk until the yeast is pretty much dissolved. The recipe says to do it a little differently, but I'm telling you... this is the way to do it. The yeast needs time to bloom before you add it to the dough. Also, the recipe only called for a teaspoon of yeast, but we always use a tablespoon and I highly suggest it. You end up with a nice New York-style pizza crust and that happens to be my FAVORITE. This recipe ends up yielding 4 pizza doughs (it says 5 but they would have to be smaller).


Once the yeast looks like the picture above, puffing out of the water or looking bubbly, then it's time to add it to the flour and salt in your mixer bowl. Start mixing it all together using the paddle attachment, just until the mixture comes together. Next, switch to the dough hook attachment and add the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Knead the dough for a good 8 minutes until it's soft and stretchy.

kneading dough

Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and form into a ball. Lightly coat the mixer bowl with olive oil, then return the dough ball to the mixer bowl and cover the bowl with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rise for an 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the bowl is full of dough, then punch it down, divide it into 4 dough balls, and allow those dough balls to then rise again for two hours. The longer you allow the dough to rise, the better the dough will be. By allowing this dough to rise for a total of 5 hours or so, the crust was nice and pliable after it came out of the oven, like a New York style crust. The flavor was great, too.

So, once you're ready to make the first pizza, either toss or roll out the dough into a thin crust and place it on your screen or stone of choice. We like these aluminum screens the best because they cook the pizza crust evenly.

Next, add a couple small ladles of sauce to the dough and spread out. We used Mark's secret sauce recipe that has just the right amount of sweetness and oregano flavor.


Next, add mozzarella cheese so it covers the whole pizza - don't skimp! Then add your toppings of choice. We added caramelized shallots first, then added pieces of steak that had been pounded out, seasoned with salt and pepper, and browned in a cast iron skillet. We also added plump shrimps that had been sauteed in a skillet and seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

before oven

Pop your pizza into a hot 450 degree oven for about 13 minutes. I check the pizza after 12 minutes, then keep a close eye on it until the edges are golden brown and the top of the pizza is just starting to slightly brown.

Remove the pizza from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before slicing it up so the cheese and toppings set. Then eat it up!

This pizza tasting SO good. It was rich and full of flavor.

So if you have some time, make your own pizza. It is always so much better than delivery and it's enjoyable, too.

pizza closeup

Oh, and if you do choose to put shrimp on your pizza, watch out for little orange kitties popping their heads up at the dinner table... haha... oh don't feel bad for him, he certainly got his share of shrimp that evening.

sneaky coney

Recipe for the pizza dough (the rest is up to you!):
NOTE: anything that says "GF" is referring to the gluten-free way to make this dough.

Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.

Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).

4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled - FOR GF: 4 ½ cups GF Flour Blend with xanthan gum or 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup corn flour, 1 cup oat flour, 1 ½ cup arrowroot, potato or tapioca starch + 2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast - FOR GF use 2 tsp
1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar - FOR GF use agave syrup
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting


1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.
The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.


2. FOR GF: Add the oil, sugar or agave syrup and cold water, then mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough.

3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.


8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.


8. FOR GF: On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the refrigerator. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a gluten free flour. Delicately press the dough into disks about ½ inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil. Lightly cover the dough round with a sheet of parchment paper and allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.


10. FOR GF: Press the dough into the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough).

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.
During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping.
In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.
You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.


11. FOR GF: Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.


12. FOR GF: Place the garnished pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.


13. FOR GF: Follow the notes for this step.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.


  1. Seriously other Tara, I canno stop finding similarities in our blogs! I did the yeast method too (bloomed with sugar in wate and upped it to a T) and I only got 4 doughs. Oh AND I made shrimp whie pizza b/c my 7 yr old little sis loves it and she helped me! LOVE your food! Taras rock.

  2. And I cant type, sorry ;)

  3. Look at you toss that pizza! We failed at it miserably

  4. Wow, I would never have put these toppings on pizza. I didn't do well tossing the pizza, but my hubby did much better.

  5. awwwww - cute kitty. my oldeset guy loves shrimp.

    great tossing job. video was fun.

    i am totally going to try your version of the dough becaue i've not been happy with recipes i have used. did all the yeast make it taste yeasty?

  6. tara - you are right! Taras DO rock! why doesn't anyone believe us when we tell them that?!

    kat - yeah, but it ended up being a bit too thin so I used the rolling method on it and the other doughs before topping them.

    mm - maybe your hubby is Italian like mine?

    cef - no, it doesn't taste yeasty at all. and be sure to really let the dough rise for a good long time and you will get yourself and NY style crust - we are big fans of NY style pizza here and we think we have a winner here. you could be a good judge!

  7. I love surf & turf... and I love pizza. Could have been my idea. Can't wait to try this recipe. Thanx for sharing.

  8. Wow, what a great idea!


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