A Tea Pizza Is A Happy Pizza
A while ago I mentioned that I would be trying to use tea in some rather odd ways in an ongoing attempt to fight my growing bald spot. One of the challenges I gave myself was to use tea in pizza and make it good. Coincidentally TeaChef, a page dedicated to using tea in cooking went live this month with the challenge of using tea in new and exciting ways in food. Tea Pizza fit that bill. I expected most of the entries to have a strong Asian influence since tea is complimentary to that style of cooking and already used often. My many skills honed during years of Iron Chef fandom were awakened and I could hear Masahiko Kobe's words in my ear as I was preparing. Unfortunately I don't understand Japanese so his advice could not be heeded, that seemed to anger him and I was on my own. Here is what became of it.
Making pizza is really quite easy but it does involve many steps. After you've done it a few times it's a breeze to make but trying explain it can become quite long winded. As a result the recipe became rather large. It can be found at the TeaChef web page under Tea Pizza With Shitake Mushrooms and Steak.
I took lots of photo's not really knowing where this would go and when I saw what the yeast looked like with the tea in it I must admit I was a little worried. The water used in this is actually tea with the spent leaves put in the blender and added as well.
Then I realized what shirt I was wearing. Was this a premonition?
No, it just one of my favorite bands with an unfortunate name: Failure. Before you ask musically no they didn't, as a continuing band yes they did. But the members all went on to other great things that I'm sure I'll sneak into another post someday.
After the mixing and kneading you always have to double check that the tea hasn't all fallen out.
OK it's still in there we can continue.
I was worried about the dough rising normally since tea has caffeine in it I though it might go crazy. On the other side I worried about the tea killing the yeast. It rose a little faster than expected but quite wonderfully. You could see the tea pieces in the dough a lot easier after it had risen.
Not too much to say about putting sauce on a pizza but boy does it look good. Sorry there's no tea in that sauce. I consider it to be perfect and so far cannot find a way to make it better. Even the addition of tea cannot improve it!
I used some dehydrated shitake mushrooms and steak for toppings. Care to guess what they were re-hydrated in? They were all cooked in tea as well, about two cups worth. They were juice-tacular.
Once I started to put it all together I realized that I would want some cheese pizza to really compare it to regular pizza since I don't usually have shitake mushrooms and steak on my pizza, in fact I never have. I had some vague idea of calling the pizza something along the lines of "It's 4 O'clock: Pizza Time" but it just sounded kind of dumb so I just let the photo say it for itself.
The finished Product looked a little like this. Too bad we don't have smell-o-vision on the web yet.
You can see that I made two dipping sauces in this picture. The one on the left was quite good, you can find the recipe for it over at the TeaChef page at the very bottom of the pizza recipe. If you make the sauce you'll find you have plenty of it left so you might as well try it. The one on the right is best left unexplained, it looks better than it tastes, and I don't really think it looks all that good to begin with.
If you'd prefer your pizza without tea, the recipe will work fine with just boring old water just as well. The tea dough tastes somewhere between rye and wheat. Without tea it's closer to sourdough. Enjoy.
Now go have a cup.