What's the secret sauce, sausage and/or cheesy goodness that lights a fire in The Pizza-Freak Fellowship?
It's 5:47 AM. I know this because I checked the clock. I've been lying here for only the briefest of moments, but the feeling is one I recognize.
It’s the feeling of being a kid on Christmas morning. But instead of stockings hung by the chimney with care and speculations about what glossy, blister-packed plastic stash I'm about to haul in, I'm thinking about that doughball I put in the fridge last night, and what it's about to become.
What the heck is it about pizza?
“What's the home pizza cooking mistake that cost you the most failures before realizing what it was?”
Earlier this week, a bunch of people I don't know went nuts for something I said about pizza. It was so surprising, that I’ve changed the plan for today's "Saturday Afternoon Pizza Post."
I was lurking around Quora, the “social question-and-answer website and online knowledge market.” That’s how Wikipedia describes it. I call it a social-media dogpile for people with the patience to read and write.
Someone asked, “What's the cooking mistake that cost you the most failures before you realized what it was?” Oh, is that an easy question to answer.
There are many cooking failures I’ve experienced, but none greater than pizza. I answered the question with about 600 words and one photograph.
And the dogpile began. It was unbelievable. People were going nuts for the answer. I have no idea why, other than it maybe it touched a nerve that they all understood. So I’ve decided to share that answer here. (Cleaned up and better edited, of course, for your Free The Pizza inner-circle reading enjoyment.)
Winning hearts and minds with fantastic homemade pizza: Simple tips from Hollywood's "Architect To The Stars."
When the Free The Pizza book first came out last summer, there was a flood of enthusiastic email from all kinds of people, offering photos of their exciting new pizzas. But nobody was sending pizza pics as frequently and with as much enthusiasm as David Applebaum.
In Los Angeles, David has a reputation as an architect to the stars. His client roster features a diverse range of names, from Cuba Gooding, Jr. to Hiro Yamagata to Brad Grey. You may also have seen David on TV, hosting Nat Geo’s Inside American’s Mansions.
The Saturday Afternoon Pizza Post is on hiatus this week. So instead of your normal, expected pizza nonsense philosophy or left-field how-to tip, we’re offering a simple cautionary note. Ready?
While eating the pizza you just made, don’t talk about other pizzas you’ve eaten. It’s a little like making love to one person while talking about making love to another. How well is that going to work out for anyone really?
There is no single best way to make pizza at home. But there are all kinds of ways to screw it up by messing with your pizza mojo.
Finding your way with pizza is a fantastic thing. The first time you pull a bubbling out pizza out of the oven and your home starts to smell like a pizzeria with the mingling aromas of hot meats and caramelized crust and toasted semolina and you can’t help yourself and you begin salivating as you take that first hot hot hot bite that’s just a little too too hot hot because you couldn’t wait and your tongue curses you and loves you simultaneously as the taste fills your mouth and the scent fills your head and your body is filled with a feeling that wells up inside you and you realize, oh, yes, this is it: Actual pizza joy…
Well, that’s a powerful moment. This is the beginning of something big. You are beginning to find your pizza mojo. But um… what the heck is mojo, anyway?
Is your homemade pizza great-tasting fun, or is it becoming an ongoing chemistry problem filled with fear and loathing?
NOTE: All writing at Free The Pizza and all the pizzas depicted are made with 100% human intelligence and not a speck of AI cereal.
Several years ago, I first peeked inside The Pizza Bible by Tony Gemignani. I was confronted with a daunting mystery ingredient: diastatic malt.
Tony Gemignani is one of the most highly respected pizza people in the world. And if he wants me to use diastatic malt—why? What is it? Where do I find it? Why didn’t my own favorite pizza preacher, Peter Reinhart ever mention it in American Pie?
I did the easy thing with diastatic malt: I ignored it. In the nine years since selecting ignorance on diastatic malt, I’ve run into it in various places. In the year since I wrote and subsequently published Free The Pizza!, I’ve continued to wonder if ignoring diastatic malt is a personal failing. In the six months since making endless batches of New York-style pizza, I have finally reached a conclusion about diastatic malt. Ready?
I was recently reminded of the power of this simple ingredient. We’d thrown a wildcard NY-pizza party for 10. If you’ve read the story about that event, you know that people’s heads exploded.
Whenever I use this ingredient, one refrain is, “I’ve never tasted pizza like this before!” A friend who’s had my pizza twice now says, “Oh, this will ruin you for any other pizza.”
Unleashing New York pizza in the Mountain West, fear of failure, and the otherworldly magnetism of The Homemade Pizza Effect
It’s Sunday afternoon. Why is your “Saturday Afternoon Pizza Post” coming out on a Sunday?
Because your pizza geek was overwhelmed this week. There’s also a takeaway from the result of that overwhelm that was unanticipated—and underscores the unique, otherworldly magnetism of Homemade Pizza Effect.
The Dirty F-Word And 7 Simple Steps For Making Sensational Homemade Pizza With Your Own Two Hands, Part 7: Assuming Success
PART 7 IN A 7-PART SERIES
“Professional sports meets homemade pizza? Ridiculous!” I understand. But you’re going to have to trust me on this: It works and it’s all going to make sense. In fact, there’s an entire industry around the process that we’re about to discuss. People make good money and athletes win trophies because of something that can sound like hogwash on a platter.
And a warning: A lot of this is not obviously about pizza. It’s about things affecting pizza. It’s about a holistic approach to life, the universe and pizza. Life is a circle. So is pizza. Is this getting ridiculous enough yet?
The Dirty F-Word And 7 Simple Steps For Making Sensational Homemade Pizza With Your Own Two Hands, Part 5: Stretching The Dough
PART 5 IN A 7-PART SERIES
“I can’t make it round!” This is one of the biggest complaints I hear from pizza newbies. They want that pizza round!
And who can blame them? It’s just another part of pursuing that unattainable pizza perfection. Not that round doesn’t happen. It does. But not perfectly round, though pizzamakers get close all the time.
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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