KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Pizza Maker
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
Bonjour de Paris!
Zeroing In
Heating up the Kitchen
The Pork Saga
Wine's Life - An Introduction to a Series
BAB Reviews Bistro AIX & Nectar
Blue Bottle Coffee Redux: One Giant Step for Coffe...
Take 5 with Kathy FitzHenry
Kitchen Sink Ricotta
Less Than Zero
 
 
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
 
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Pizza Maker


As you know if you read my previous pizza post, I am a serious pizza aficionado. To the point of obsessiveness. I am also on a quest to perfect my own pizza recipe. I would love to find a way to make a fabulous pizza in my home oven. I know, it will never be the same because my oven only goes up to 500F, and to really truly get the best crust you need an oven temp closer to 800F. And my standards are way too high. Lofty even. Hrm. Then again, deep down, I don't think that having lofty pizza expectations is a bad thing. In fact, not in the least, as it keeps me out there trying new pizzerias and experimenting at home.

So what does a girl do when she can't fly to Portland or NY or Rome every time she has a pizza craving? (Okay, that wasn't really fair, because there is quite a lot of great pizza here in the Bay Area. I've just not yet found my ultimate gold standard.) She makes her own. And then makes it again. And again. And she hopes that someday she will find or develop the perfect home pizza recipe. That day has not yet arrived for me, although the experiments continue.

Let me back up for a minute. Growing up, my mom always made homemade pizza. Thanks to her, pizza night for us was way better than for most people, because I grew up in Texas in the 70s. Just try to find an edible pizza. Actually, there was one place in Dallas that I remember had really great pizza and delicious crab claws: Campisi's Egyptian Lounge. It's been around since the 1940s. Of course, I would be afraid to go back and ruin my happy memories of the place, but maybe it's still good. Anyway, I digress. My mom made great pizza, and is still to this day experimenting and perfecting and changing her recipe (and my dad, ever loyal, is still sampling it and claiming it as the best pizza in the universe). Because of her, I developed a love of pizza. Well, maybe a passion, edging on obsession. And I've been making pizza for years. All different kinds, and all different recipes. Some were flat-out disasters, and some were amazing, some I couldn't replicate, and others were fine but still not amazing.

The other night I decided I needed to start trying the recipes in American Pie, Peter Reinhart's tribute to my favorite food group (and his too, I imagine). If you haven't seen or read or bought this book, and you like pizza, then I highly recommend purchasing it. It's a great worldwide adventure in search of the ultimate pizza. It also contains a wealth of knowledge and recipes.



I made his Neo-Neapolitan Sauce and Mutz Pizza (seen above; with some yummy housemade Italian sausage from Golden Gate Meat Company in the SF Ferry Building). I actually, for once, followed the recipe as exactly as I could. (Well, except for the sausage. I admit I have a hard time following many recipes, I always think I know better. Kind of absurd since I'm a cookbook editor. Or not.)

The crust was described as being most similar to what you would find at the famed NY and New Haven-type pizzerias, like John's, Frank Pepe's, etc. -- a thin, crisp crust with a nice cornicione, generally my favorite. I made the crust according to the recipe, using high-gluten flour, but it wasn't sticky as the recipe suggested. I did like that he suggested retiring the dough to the refrigerator overnight. This slows the rising time and allows the dough to develop and become more flavorful. I also made the Crushed Tomato Sauce recipe, using a can of 6 in 1 tomatoes. This could not be easier, and I have to say, ended up being my favorite part of the pizza, and my new favorite sauce recipe. It's simple and because you don't cook the sauce down, very flavorful. I imagine the choice of canned tomatoes would be key in this sauce, and I suppose I chose well. I also liked the three-cheese mixture of fresh mozzarella, mozzarella, and Parmesan. I prepared the pies on the peel and slid them off onto my unglazed ceramic tile-lined oven rack in my 500F oven, which had been preheating for an hour. Within 10 minutes we were rewarded with beautiful and delicious pizza. yum yum.



The crust, while one of the better that I have made, was not ideal. It was flavorful, but brittle and dry, perhaps even a bit overcooked (although the bottom was nicely browned). It had none of the crisp-yet-tender chewiness that I look for, and no cornicione to speak of. Part of the problem was likely the ratio of flour to water, even though I followed the recipe measurements, it's always a good idea when making bread to make adjustments (assuming you know what the dough is supposed to feel like). Also, it's likely that I pulled the dough a bit too thin, especially around the edges.

I will definitely try the dough recipe again, and I'll be trying his other dough recipes as well, continuing my search for the ultimate home pizza. Crust anyway.

On another pizza note, one of my friends was at Tartine this afternoon and ran into a guy who said he was opening a new pizza place in Oakland in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, she didn't get any more details than that. Does anyone know anything about this? He might have ties with Delfina (where he was seen prior to Tartine), but I really don't know. What I do know is that Craig Stoll of Delfina is working on his own pizzeria. Oh, I can't wait!
 
 

9 Comments:

Blogger cucina testa rossa said...

this looks great! you're making my mouth water. great pizza is another thing that alludes the french, along with great chinese, japanese and mexican food. try the pizza at pane e vino on union @ gough. incredible thin crust pizza from their modena-built wood burning pizza oven. molto bene! :-)

4/17/2005 1:22 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard about a new pizza place opening in the Temescal area of Oakland. I'd thought the owner was an Oliveto alum, but I could well have that wrong.

4/17/2005 4:01 PM

 
Anonymous extramsg said...

Try heating your oven at max temp for 45 minutes to an hour with a pizza stone, the bigger the better, on the bottom rack. Before you put the pizza in the oven, turn on the broiler. Because of the broiler being on, you'll have to do this on the bottom rack. About a year ago I wrote up my results on egullet here:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=38384&st=60#

4/17/2005 9:23 PM

 
Blogger Kim Goodfriend said...

Thanks for all of your comments!
hey extramsg, I love your blog...thanks for the advice. I do heat my oven for 1 hour at the max temp and I have unglazed ceramic tiles which work as well (or better, I think) as a stone. And my rack is as low as it goes (without throwing the pizza on the oven floor, which I might try too!). But I haven't tried the broiler for the added heat, good idea! I'll definitely try that next round.

4/18/2005 10:11 AM

 
Anonymous amy said...

That sounds like about the same results that I got with the neo-neopolitan recipe and all. I would definitely make sure your dough is very wet. I think Peter Reinhart's recipes are for the new and hesitant pizza maker who might be intimidated by nice wet dough. I do love the flavor you get from the dough that rises over night though.

Next time try slicing the mozzarella and laying it on the dough underneath the sauce. Then put the fresh mozarella on top. I loved it this way!

We were talking with some friends a few weeks ago about building a backyard brick oven this summer and having a pizza party. If you're willing to do a ton of work on it, you can make one for relatively cheap (~$100). You guys definitely have to come visit if we do this!

4/18/2005 8:57 PM

 
Anonymous JCS said...

Please share your favorite haunts in Portland - I make frequent trips and would love to stop by.

Grazie

4/28/2005 3:46 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a terrific entry. I've been trying to make the "perfect" pizza for some time now, and seem to be close, but there's always room for improvement. A few things people have told me:
--Never crush the tomato seeds; it'll make the sauce too bitter
--try cooking the pizza on a charcoal BBQ grill (this works well if you use natural hardwood coals)
--make sure the crust has enough salt

-MH

Boston's Hidden Restaurants

5/05/2005 1:51 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have Peter's book as well and of all the pizza recipes I have tried in my life, the Neo-neapolitan is the best my wife and kids have liked. Instead of sugar, lately I have been using honey because it is supposed to help browning the dough and the flavor is different. Also, the wetter your dough, the better. If you use a Kitchenaid mixer like I do, what you want to see is the bottom of the dough to stick to the bowl while you are mixing. Also, when rolling the dough, I just my fingers and never touch the corners. I just try to expand from the center out. By not touching the corners, it leaves the air trapped and the result is a puffy cornicione. Yum!

-Anthony, Puerto Rico

5/23/2006 11:25 AM

 
Blogger Richard said...

There is one thing I have started using... fire bricks on all racks in the oven I have used stones and unglazed tiles. The bricks are inexpensive($1.00 a piece) I lined every rack in the oven for a total of $24.00 The oven takes alittle longer to heat up but once it does it maintains the heat even with frequent door openings. This is the closest I have come with a esidential oven to a brick oven Another dough tip is to add a little baking powder to the recipe. You will be amazed at the thin bubbles and charr on the edge of the crust.

6/30/2006 8:51 AM

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
 
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
 
Tasty Food Sites
CHOW
Chowhound SF
Crushpad
CUESA
CulinaryCorps
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Epicurious
eGullet.org
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
KTEH Food
Leite's Culinaria
Locavores
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
 
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
agoodfoodblog
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Blogsoop
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Digesty-SF
Eater SF
Eggbeater
Extramsg.com
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
Gastronomie
Hedonia
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Jatbar
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
MeatHenge
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Nosheteria
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
Spicetart
The Amateur Gourmet
Tablehopper
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Vinography
VirgoBlue
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
 
 
   
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
 
Food Books
 
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
 
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
 
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
 
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
 
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
 
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
 
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
 
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
 
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
 
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
 
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
 
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
 
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
 
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
 
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
 
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
 
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
 
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
 
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
 
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
 
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
 
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
 
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
 
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
 
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
 
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
 
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
 
 
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
 
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
 
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
 
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
 
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
 
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
 
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
 
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
 
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
 
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
 
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
 
ChocolateChocolate
by Lisa Yockelson
 
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
 
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
 
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
 
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
 
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
 
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
 
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
 
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
 
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
 
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
 
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
 
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
 
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
 
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
 
 
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
 
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
 
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
 
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
 
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
 
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
 
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
 
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
 
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
 
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
 
Bouchon
by Thomas Keller
 
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
 
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
 
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
 
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
 
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
 
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
 
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
 
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
 
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
 
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
 
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
 
 
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.