Until just the other night, I’d never had much luck with store-bought pizza dough. I struggled with rolling it out: The results were usually thick, misshapen and tough. But at a recent photo shoot, I learned a couple of tricks: Let the dough warm up when it first comes out of the fridge, and let it rest if it starts resisting your efforts to roll it out or shape it (for more tips, check out this great article by master baker Peter Reinhart).
With that knowledge under my belt, I had more luck; in fact, I had two good-looking pizzas in the oven, topped with little more than olive oil, some pretty good mozzarella and ricotta salata, salt and pepper. Reaching in to turn the baking sheet, I watched in horror as one them slipped off and onto the floor--cheese down. Silly me: Why didn’t I use two oven gloves? Why was I going at warp speed?
As I stood there shouting, “no, no, no, no, no,” my daughter, who’d come out of her room to ask why the dog had slinked off to the corner (but I hadn’t meant to hurt the dog’s feelings!), commented on the pizza on the floor. “Just pick it up and put it back in,” she said. “Five-second rule.”
So I did, after I’d topped it with a little more cheese, having wiped the first round of cheese up off the floor before the dog got it.
“Dinner’s ready,” I called about 10 minutes later. “What are we having then,” my daughter asked. “Floor pizza?” If there’s anything worse than a cocky cook, it has to be a teenager who’s given you some good advice.