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Day 2: All Play and No Work Makes Viper a Dough Boy

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Sunday

Quote of the Day: “In journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right.”

- Ellen Goodman

If you have not read Day 1, now would probably be a good time to do so. You really need to get with the program here, folks.

If you don’t want to wait, here is the whole thing in a big, scary, complete version that breaks all the rules of blog post length.

On a side note, this is what I saw looking up at me when I was eating waffles this morning. No kidding. I did not plan this, it just happened.

Not exactly what I would dub a “good omen.”

OK, on to the demo:

The mix is from Chef Boyardee who is prominently displayed on the box …

… and is as familiar a face as my own. Except his is a lot fatter. For now.

Years ago, the entire kit was singular and we would make a pizza per person. Everyone made their own, to their liking, and you hoped you didn’t hose yours up. Because getting a slice from another family member? Puh-Lease!

Then they started doing two-packs which was just two singles packaged in one box.

Now they go with the two packs but it’s all together (one big flour pouch, one big can of sauce, etc.) It’s their little way of saying “Divi it up yourselves, you jackasses.”

The Chef can be contentious.

After ripping open the flour pouch, which I’m not all that sure what’s in there other than flour. It might be ground up puppy bones and children’s tears as far as I know. You pour it into a bowl in preparation for the most important step in the entire process: introduction of the liquids.

This will make or break your dough and it takes years of experience to really dork it up which is most of the time for me.

You add two liquids at this time:

Oil.

Don’t bother with a measuring device. I think you’d be hard-pressed to add too much or too little oil by just going by my patented “about a ‘glunk’ or two” method. I think when it comes to oil, the dough is pretty forgiving, as opposed to the second liquid.

Water.

In days of old, it was easy to add 2/3 of a cup of warm water. Or as I have done since the dawn of time: water hot enough to peel skin off your hands like hydrochloric acid.

But then they went to the two-pizza system where math was involved…. 2/3 of a cup for each…times 2… is that 4/3 or 4/6… damn!!!!!

Even after 30 years of doing this, I always have to go through the damn calculation and you would think that by now, I would remember that it’s 1 1/3 cups of scalding hydrochloric acid but nooooooooo, I have to look at the back of the box EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

I think they caught on to my retardation because now they cut out the math middle-man and tell you to add 1 1/3 cups of warm water. Smartasses.

Oh, I forgot, make sure you warm up the oven to ….to…. (grabs box)….425 degrees before you start.

Yep, have to check EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

OK, back to the water…

You want this:

(note: pay attention to the meniscus. If you don’t know what that is, look it up.)

OK, you big chemistry non-remembering babies, it’s the tendency for the water line to creep up on the sides of a glass measuring cup. Just make sure that the bottom of the “U” shaped line the water makes with the side is where you measure.

If you add this much,

… you will have a floury, dry lump and not all the mix will…. well, mix. You will have to add just a few more molecules of water which will not do anything. Then a few more…nothing. Then ONE molecule more and you are instantly faced with the same situation as the next scenario…

If you add this much,

… you will have a sticky dough mess that sticks to the side of the bowl, the fork you use to mix with, and eventually, everything in your house without reasonable explanation.

So what do you do?

In a futile attempt to reach mix-to-water equilibrium, you add flour. Little bit, nothing … little bit … getting better … one more minute amount … floury, dry lump.

SHIT!

You will sometimes go through this process a dozen times but know these to irrefutable facts:

- I have NEVER attained the balance in 30 years if I don’t nail it at the initial introduction of water.

EVER.

- You will have approximately double the amount of the sub-optimal dough trying the flour-water enhancement futility which also dilutes the puppy bones and children’s tears special ingredients.

Free Advice for Today: “Know your children’s friends.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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