Expand your menu with these new, crowd-pleasing signature appetizers

Jeff Zeak explains how to create moneymaking appetizers using your everyday dough formulation.



 

The unknown person who first hit upon the secret of mixing flour and water to create dough did a big favor for the human race. Dough is one of the most versatile foodstuffs in the world, the basis of everything from flatbreads and dumplings to biscuits, cookies, pastries, pasta and, of course, pizza. Regrettably, most pizzeria operators don’t take full advantage of their dough. In fact, you can use your dough to create a multitude of signature appetizers, from cheese pockets to focaccia, all with a minimum of additional labor on your part. Best of all, you won’t need to change your basic dough formulation.

In this article, we’ll take you through the steps of creating a number of crowd-pleasing appetizers. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for additional recipe ideas for desserts, we will cover that as well in a bonus article in this month’s digital edition at pmq.com/digital. As for specific ingredients, I’ll let you choose your own meat and vegetable toppings for most of these dishes. Follow my general instructions to get started, but feel free to put your own personal artisan twist on these dough-based items. Get creative, and have fun with them!

Note: Times and temperatures listed below refer to suggested settings for impingement ovens.

 

Pepperoni and Cheese Rolls

  1. Sheet/roll 10 oz. dough ball to desired thickness (about 1/8”).
  2. Arrange desired ingredients over dough sheet, leaving a ½” strip of bare dough exposed at one side of the dough circle. Lightly moisten the exposed dough strip with water.
  3. Roll up cinnamon roll-style, pinch end seam well and turn seam to bottom.
  4. Even and size dough string to 12” in length.
  5. Using a French knife or bench scraper, cut string into three even pieces (about 4” long).
  6. Place cut dough pieces seam-side down in a greased deep-dish pizza pan. Brush with liquid milk.
  7. Cover pan and allow to rest/proof for 20 to 30 minutes.
  8. Bake in an impingement oven for 5 minutes at 465°F.

 

Breadsticks

  1. Grease a 10” deep-dish pizza pan with nonhydrogenated shortening.
  2. Press a 10 oz. dough ball into the greased pan, cover and proof in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. After proofing, brush with olive oil.
  4. Dress with herbs, spices and cheese, if desired.
  5. Bake in an impingement oven for 4½ minutes at 465°F.
  6. After baking, cut into desired strip sizes. Serve with dipping sauce if desired.

 

Focaccia

  1. Grease a 10” deep-dish pizza pan with nonhydrogenated shortening.
  2. Press a 10-oz. dough ball into the greased pan, cover and proof in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. After proofing, brush the dough with olive oil and dress as desired (possible ingredients include ground rosemary, very thinly sliced Roma tomatoes, onions, etc.).
  4. Dimple the dough with your fingertips.
  5. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
  6. Bake for 4½ minutes at 465°F.
  7. After baking, cut into wedge-shape pieces to serve as dipping bread. Serve with seasoned dipping oils if desired. (Or cut wedge-shape pieces horizontally to make sandwiches.)

 

Tomato Pie

  1. Grease a 10” deep-dish pizza pan with nonhydrogenated shortening.
  2. Press a 10-oz. dough ball into the greased pan, cover and proof in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. After proofing, dress with well-drained tomato filets and fresh basil.
  4. Bake for 7 minutes at 465°F.
  5. After baking, top the pie lightly with shredded Parmigiano cheese. Return to oven and reheat until cheese is barely melted.

 

Cheese Pockets

  1. Sheet/roll 10 oz. dough ball to desired diameter (about 13”).
  2. Cut dough circle into six wedge-shaped pieces. Lightly moisten all edges with water.
  3. Place 1 oz. of desired cheese (cubed or shredded cheese compressed together) in the center of each dough wedge.
  4. Pull rounded heel edge of dough over centered cheese ball.
  5. Pull one of the side edges over the top and tuck one of the side edges to the bottom and pinch tightly.
  6. Pull point edge of dough over cheese ball and tuck underneath dough ball.
  7. Place pieces seam-side down in greased deep-dish pizza pan. Brush with liquid milk.
  8. Cut vent hole in top or side.
  9. Bake in an impingement oven for 5 minutes at 465°.

 

Fougasse

  1. Grease a 10” deep-dish pizza pan with nonhydrogenated shortening.
  2. Press a 10-oz. dough ball into the greased pan, cover and proof in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. After proofing, invert proofed dough circle onto a greased 12” pan.
  4. Elongate dough circle into a rectangle by pulling at the ends.
  5. Using a pair of scissors, cut as desired.
  6. Dress with your favorite toppings (such as bacon, onions, black olives, etc.) and bake for 5 to 6 minutes at 465°F.
  7. Serve with seasoned dipping oils if desired.

 

 


 

 

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