Pizza dough comparison

Last month I tried a new pizza dough recipe.  A few months before that, I had read in Men’s Health about an easy pizza dough that did not require hours of preparation (I had been using a no-knead dough recipe that required an 18 hour rise (more details below).  I am always looking for both more efficient and tasty recipes for pizza dough.  My wife enjoys the one I had been making but I am all for tweaking and improving so I decided to try this new (to me) recipe.  I was fairly certain I had left the magazine in a spot in my treadmill room but lo and behold it wasn’t there.  I resorted to trying to google the same recipe and don’t know if it was the exact one I had read about initially but I went with it.

Quicker pizza dough ingredients:

  • 6 cups AP flour
  • 2 1/4 cups room temperature water (recipe called for cold water)
  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  1.  Add 3 cups of flour and 1/2 tsp yeast to 2 1/4 cups of water in a large bowl and combine
  2. In a separate bowl, mix remaining 3 cups of flour with the salt.
  3. I then added in the flour mix to the flour-water combination (from step 1) and kneaded it within the bowl for about 5 minutes.
  4. I let the dough rest – covered – for 30 minutes.
  5. The dough was separated into 4 (relatively) parts and 3 of them saved in saran wrap and frozen for later use.
  6. I split the dough into 2 balls and made pizzas from them.

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Carmel/Monterey (Big Sur Marathon)

Carmel/Monterey (Big Sur Marathon)

Since my marathon recap post was kind of long, I decided to separate out the actual weekend part of marathon weekend.  We decided to stay in Carmel because of the locations of the bus pickups to take us to the marathon start.  Right in the heart of downtown Carmel was one of the pickup spots.  Luckily there are a ton of small hotels, inns, and B&Bs in Carmel.  Rather than leaving the dog in a boarding place in Sac, I found a place that allows pets (Carmel is historically and well-known as an extremely dog friendly place).

We made a pit stop in Fairfield to get some lunch on our way down on Friday.  The wife found a sandwich spot called Joe’s Buffet .  They made a tasty sandwich – I had a combo of pastrami and corned beef.

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Pastrami/Corned Beef

Once we reached Monterey and stopped to do my packet pickup, we swung by PeterB’s brewpub (right behind the expo area at Portola Hotel).  I had the Belly Up Blonde since I wanted to keep it light.

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Prior to our trip, I had done some research on dog-friendly restaurants in Carmel.  A ton of places have outdoor sitting and allow dogs in their patio areas since so many people have dogs (either visiting or living there).  The Inn that we stayed at also provided us with a list of some of the nearby dog friendly restaurants.  Our living quarters for the weekend was the Svendsgaard’s Inn.  This place ended up being only about 4-5 blocks from the bus pickup.  The accomodations were nice and it was a small quaint little place.  They had a small grassy area in a courtyard with poop bags available.

That first night in Carmel (I still don’t understand how the official city name is Carmel-By-The-Sea…such a mouthful), we walked over to Bistro Beaujolais for dinner.

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Billed as a French restaurant, we ordered with this in mind.  I had the French Onion soup, escargots, and sand dabs.  My wife had a lemon chicken soup and the Steak Frites.  The last time I was in the Monterey area is when I learned about Sand Dabs.  I guess they’re a local fish that is wildly popular and served at pretty much every restaurant (doesn’t even matter if it is American, European, Mediterranean, etc).  I was surprised and pleased to see that they had a Michigan beer and ordered the Founders Porter.

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Marathon Training Week 11

Another week down, another 100+ mile month.  This is the first time I’ve ever done this much mileage two months in a row.  I’ve never had more than one 100+ mile month in a year prior to this year.  I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to do this high mileage while avoiding any major injuries.  I’ve had a few days of some soreness in my right knee and also left calf, but overall nothing that doesn’t go away after a day of rest.  So I’m pretty happy with how my training is going thus far.

Now for the not so great news.  My longest run (20 miles) was set for this past Friday.  Of course Friday was the one day we were supposed to get rain for most of the day.  I also altered my plan during the early part of the week and ran Tues-Wed instead of Mon-Wed.  Seemed to work out okay.

Here’s a summary of last week’s running.

( ) = # of miles on my plan

Tuesday – 2.5 (3)

Wednesday – 4.5 (9)

Friday – 16.07 (20)

Saturday – 3.2 (4)

Sunday – 3.0  (3) – treadmill, walking.

Weekly Total – 29.27 miles (39)

I woke up on Friday and wasn’t really feeling all that motivated.  The weather wasn’t helping matters that much.  Normally I’ve been starting my long runs around 9 am so that takes me anywhere to 12 or 1 pm usually for anything over 16 miles.  The morning started kinda hazy with a very fine mist sprinkles while I was having breakfast and coffee.  I continued to kinda of mozy around and get myself psyched up to go on my long run.  I stepped out of the door around 9:30 into some light rain but with some decent winds that were quite chilling.

Luckily for me I have a loop in my neighborhood that is almost exactly 1 mile (slightly over 1 mile) from my house.  With the way the weather was, I decided I’d just run this 1 mile loop for as long as I could so that I had somewhere to take shelter if the rain got really bad.  I also like it because that means I have bathroom access (not just at my house but there’s a park about 1/2 mile into the loop as well).  The only downside with loop running is that it can get boring and you want a new view of things.  I made it to 3 miles and then took off on another path to do 2.5 additional miles.  My tummy had not been feeling the greatest before I started running and I ended up having to make a pit stop at the house.  Soon I started to bargain with myself.  I told myself I could stay out in the cold rain for 10 miles and then do the last 10 miles on the treadmill.  I also didn’t want to spend too much time on the dreadmill because it too can also be boring for too long.

I knew it was also good for me to be out in the rain because it is a possibility for my race in about 6 weeks.  I need to learn to run in different types of temperature and weather.  This year has been especially wet in California so who knows if it may be raining on race day.

I ended up making it to 8.75 miles out in the rain when I called it quits (had to make another pit stop) and switched over to the treadmill.  I started my run there and soon realized I’d rather be out in the rain.  I made it about 3.25 miles on the treadmill and then decided to go out into the rain again (the rain was heavier than it was during my first 8 miles). I pushed and persevered and hit 4 miles (I had told myself that 4 miles was my minimum up to the 8 miles to complete the 20 miles).  I had recently read that one theory for marathon long run training is not to exceed 3 hours because beyond that the benefits do not outweigh the risks (i.e. injury).  So that’s where I came up with 4 miles minimum on my 3rd leg to have a final of 16 miles.

So the end result was just a tad over 16 miles.  I’m happy with it, especially given my lack of motivation and the rain.

No pictures on my runs this week with the rains.

Sunday morning I woke up with a lot of sneezing and a constantly dripping right nose.  I do have pretty bad allergies in the springtime but this felt more like maybe I was getting sick.  Even though I thought maybe I was getting sick I still wanted to get some miles in.  So I compromised with myself and did 3 miles of walking on the treadmill (~3.5 mph so I still broke a sweat).

Overall I’m still happy with my training thus far and hope to keep it up and be ready for the race in Big Sur.

We also went to a pizza joint we used to go to a lot (Hot Italian).  Since I’ve been making pizza myself we haven’t gone in awhile.  I do like their cocktails though, and Saturday was decently warm so I had a Negroni.

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Negroni

-StewsCat

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Marathon Training Week 9

Marathon Training Week 9

Week 9 had some highs and a lot of lows.  As you’ll see below, I ended up only doing 2 runs the entire week.  For my scheduled Tuesday and Thursday runs I can blame work for not getting them in.  Normally I get off work around 6 but due to various circumstances on both those days I had to stay late and was just too tired to get a run in when I got home.  I’m not sweating it too much.

The high of the week was actually hitting the 18 mile distance and feeling somewhat okay afterwards.  I keep telling myself that for the actual race I’ll be doing an additional 8.2 miles so I better feel “okay” after an 18-miler.

Here’s a summary of last week’s running.

( ) = # of miles on my plan

Tuesday – 0.00 (3)

Thursday – 0.00 (8) – in reality, 8 miles was a bit ambitious considering 18 the following day.

Friday – 18 (18)

Saturday – 4.05 (5)

Sunday –  0.00 (4)

Weekly Total – 22.05 miles (37)

My long run was taken along the American River Trail again.  This time I went further and traversed the bridge past William Pond Park.  I ran over this bridge when I did the Run The Parkway Half.  There were tons of Canadian Geese out.  They were just all over the place.

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It is amazing how quickly the water level drops after no rain for a few weeks.  Not sure when we’re going to get more rain but I feel like we need some more over the next 1-2 months to feel okay with being out of the drought.

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My last run I ran past this tree with these bright vibrant yellow flowers.  Now, 2 weeks later the flowers are still there but they appear so much more dull.

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So I crossed the bridge and explored some new territory.  I stopped at a bathroom/water fountain area that was cool but a bit isolated.  I pictured a horror movie where I was being chased by some masked villain.  Luckily this was only about a 1/4 mile detour.

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Even though my 18 miler was slower than my 16 miler, I think it is good progress.  It is amazing how I slowed so much on the 18 miler even though for the 16 miler, I had put in some tough fast hill miles the night before the 16 miler.  Strange how the body works.

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Sunday I woke up in a funk and just wasn’t feeling it (it = life).

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The dog had the right idea

So rather than get a run in that may have helped my mood, I went out to dinner for some cocktails and pizza.  I had the notion of doing a few night miles after dinner but when I ordered that second cocktail, I knew that running was out of the question.  I also had a baking fail.  I decided to make some bread but was too cocky and didn’t check the temperature of the bread when I finished and of course the center of the loaf wasn’t cooked.  It was just gummy paste.  Fail.  But at least the cocktail and pizza look delish!

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Negroni
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Three types of pepperoni!!  And prosciutto with arugula

-StewsCat

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Sourdough pizza dough

Sourdough pizza dough

This is a bit out-of-order.  After returning back from Portland a few weekends ago, I had July 4th off from work and decided to make some pizza for the holiday.  I also had to feed my sourdough starter so figured I’d make sourdough pizza dough with the discard.  I used the below recipe:

  • Sourdough starter – 80 g (~50% hydration)
  • AP flour – 350 g
  • Water – 230 g
  • Salt – 8 g
  • Yeast – 2 g

I mixed all the ingredients (above), let it sit for 40 minutes to auto-lyse and then kneaded it for about 15 minutes (slap and fold).  I put it in a large mixing bowl and let it bulk ferment for about 50 minutes.  It was fairly warm in the kitchen/house so I didn’t have to let it rise as long.  I then did 3 stretch and folds separated by 30 minutes.  After this I divided the dough into 2 (these ended up being larger balls than I typically work with in the past) and put them individual bowls to proof.

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Proofed

As can be seen above, the dough rose greatly.  Since I was making pizza, I wasn’t as concerned if it went slightly over since I was flattening the dough out anyway to make the pizza.  I topped the dough with some homemade tomato sauce (I just use canned San Marzano Whole tomatoes that I crush and heat with some basil and garlic), mozzarella, and mushrooms/prosciutto.

Overall I got some good rise in the crust and it did have a slight sourdough taste to it.

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Good rise

I may have to try incorporating more sourdough starter to see if I can’t get more of the sourdough taste to it.

-StewsCat