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Pizza: One of my favorite things to make. There are so many challenging variables in creating a perfect pizza, many that are nearly impossible to control completely. Oven temperatures, yeast activity, ambient humidity, protein content in the flour, etc. As hard as it is, even a failed pizza tastes pretty amazing. But when the variables all line up, it’s a truly magical experience.
I’ve worked in pizzerias in high school and college, taken pizza classes, and spent countless hours reading books and websites in search of the perfect pizza. And still, after many years of learning and experimenting and eating lots of great pies, I am still working to master many specific parts of the process. Currently, I’m working on using wild yeast for a rich flavorful sourdough. The first attempt worked out great–made the best batch of pizza I’ve ever made, but the second time the dough lacked the elasticity and strength to hold itself together well, and pulled apart easily while being shaped. Regardless, we cooked on the grill and the pies turned out very tasty.
Two resources that I’ve found that have been a good guide: the A16 Pizzeria cookbook (my favorite pizzeria in San Francisco), and S. John Ross’ Sourdough Bread: How To Begin website. And I just upgraded to a KitchenAid mixer finally, with 575 watts of dough-kneading power under the hood. I hope to have a solid grasp on the sourdough by the Spring. And then its back to the garden to grow those tomatoes…
Here’s a photo recap of four years of tasty pizzas I’ve cooked and enjoyed.