What's the best beginner pizzamaker present this Christmas: a tiny, cruel oven for making pizza--or a good book and simple tools that make him look like a pro?
Are you thinking about buying a pizza oven as a gift for someone who’s brand new to pizza?
Here’s a tiny tale about three “first” pizzas.
The first time I made a “pro-quality” pizza was at my home in Los Angeles. We had a vintage 1950s Wedgwood stove that came with the house. It was retro cool.
I had just read Peter Reinhart’s book, American Pie: My Search For The Perfect Pizza. A bought a stone and a peel, and made a pizza using his instructions.
The fact that I was able to make a pizza that was so convincing was astonishing to me.
I'd spent years laboring under the belief that an incredibly hot oven was required. I didn't realize that a home oven was hot enough for making the kind of pizza I enjoy most.
Is it possible to make a career out of simply loving pizza? Scott Wiener may come closer to having that life than anyone.
Scott had planned on being music producer for film and TV. But the universe had other ideas, and he embraced them. He now has a business in New York called Scott’s Pizza Tours. Founded in 2008, they run “New York City Pizza Tours For True Pizza Nerds.” They offer walking tours, a bus tour, private tours, and also have online pizza classes.
Scott has also appeared in the New Haven pizza documentary called Pizza: A Love Story, he’s the subject of another documentary called (oddly enough) Scott’s Pizza Tours. And if you watch Hulu you may have seen him on as a competitor on the pizza-making competition series called Best In Dough. He also has a book about the art of the pizza box, Viva La Pizza.
Let’s face it: Nobody is thinking about pizza right now. Except me. And maybe you. Belated Happy Thanksgiving.
If your holiday has been anything like mine, you’re no longer hungry in the least.
Of course, if somebody puts down a plate of bacon or a pizza in your vicinity, that changes.
But mainly: no more food. For now. Maybe some cognac. It possesses good digestive properties. One or five of those might be nice.
That said, at some point in the next few days (or hours), chances are pretty good you’ll start eying those leftovers in the fridge, wondering if you can put them on a pizza.
I know this. I’ve done it.
Its not pretty.
Traveling The Mississippi Delta, the zen of the pizza oven, and all the mistakes you’re not making—but should be.
This is going to be a weird little post. The story isn’t exactly a story. The narrative thread isn’t exactly contiguous. And the place it goes isn’t anything either of us is anticipating.
We’ve been driving through the Mississippi Delta, land of cotton and hot tamales. (Didn’t know the hot tamale is a Mississippi invention, didja? That’s a whole other story about ethnic food reinvention...)
We've made it into the hill country, and the town here is Sardis, population between 1,700 and 2,000, depending upon whom you believe.
I’m talking to a nationally recognized pizzaiolo about ovens—or rather, how it’s not about the oven, but about understanding pizza.
Free The Pizza Asks: Would you rather be famous for your homemade pizza, or just be able to make an excellent, easy pizza once in a while?
This is a serious question, and I’d love to have your answer.
I ask this because a lot of folks out there really want to understand how to make pizza. They want to be able make an artisan style pie anytime they feel like it.
But there are other people who just want a recipe. They just want to throw together a bunch of ingredients and have a good, solid pizza come out the other end.
These are two very different things.
“I put the red bell peppers under the cheese, because when I put the pizza in the oven, the peppers kept rolling off.”
That’s a smart thing to do, right?
It depends on the bell peppers. Are they raw? If so, you’re probably going to end up with a soggy pizza.
This is one of those things that any of us can do thinking we’re being smart (been there, done that) and it results in unintended consequences--like a tasty but wet pizza.
Here now, the crazy secret ingredients to killer homemade pizza: Time & Patience! (Plus two more unexpected tips, all from pizza guru Peter Reinhart.)
So I was talking with Peter Reinhart last week. He's the guy whose first pizza book 20 years ago got me making killer homemade pizza. And now, we sometimes talk about pizza because he's an incredibly nice guy and it’s one of his favorite things to do.
I said to Peter, “If you were talking to a newbie pizza maker, somebody who maybe hasn't even touched dough yet, what would you say are the three most important tips you can provide before diving into this?”
When he was done speaking, I told him that I’ve said something similar, though without nearly the same eloquence or authority. That’s why he’s a James Beard Award-winner and a professor at world-famous Johnson & Wales and I’m a semi-professional geek with a blog. So here now, I share Prof. Reinhart's insights with you and embellish them with some of my own geeky nonsense.
Yesterday, I had a very long and brilliant conversation with Peter Reinhart.
Today, we were going to be providing some basic tips for the home pizzamaker.
That is not happening. I was sidetracked by charity.
About a month ago, yours truly committed to doing a favor for a local 501(c)(3) here in Bay St. Louis. The non-profit is based in a 100-year-old structure that used to be a nightclub on the Chitlin Circuit.
How pretentious is the idea that you can make artisan pizza in your own kitchen using a standard home oven?
Can you really make artisan pizza at home?
What are your ingredients?
What are your tools?
And what is your attitude?
Getting past the fear and coming up with new and crazy ideas for great homemade pizzas you can make with your own two hands
I was at the Pizza & Pasta Northeast trade show last weekend in Atlantic City. (I know! You're getting New Jersey jealous, aren't you?)
There was a session on the last day, last session of the day, which always seems like the place for a straggler session of some kind. Somewhere, a show administrator was saying, “What can we put here in the last slot that nobody wants to teach and nobody wants to go see so we keep at least two people out of the bar as long as long as possible?”
Nothing could have been further from the reality of that session.
Melissa Rickman, a New Jersey transplant to Fort Lupton, Colorado, operates an award-winning restaurant called Wholly Stromboli, an “East Coast eatery.”
Blaine Parker is the award-winning author of the bestselling, unusual and amusing how-to pizza book, Free The Pizza. Also known as The Pizza Geek and "Hey, Pizza Man!", Blaine is fanatical about the idea that true, pro-quality pizza can be made at home. His home. Your home. Anyone's home. After 20 years of honing his craft and making pizza in standard consumer ovens across the nation, he's sharing what he's learned with home cooks like you. Are you ready to pizza?
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