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Monday, April 20, 2009

Do try this at home


Pizza Guy didn't try any new places over the weekend, as I got the urge to fire up the home oven and make my own. I'd been planning it for a few days so it was pure coincidence that the NY Times ran an
article just the other day about making pizza at home, the point of which, was, I guess, that you should. Pizza lovers can get so fixated on technical stuff like coal-fired brick ovens and imported Italian flour, and so impressed by some of the great professional pizzaioli out there that they forget that in the end, it ain't rocket science.
I won't bore you with the details of how my pizzas turned out - I'll give them a B+ and leave it at that - but if you bake pizza at home on a regular basis, or plan to, I do recommend getting a pizza stone. If you're on a tight budget the 'net is full of info about inexpensive ways to do it with bricks from your local hardware store. I also suggest buying a pizza peel - in fact, preferably two, one wood and one metal, the former for sliding the pizza onto the stone and the latter for removing it from the oven. Finally, pick up a copy of "American Pie" by Peter Reinhart. The man knows baking. I was this close (hold thumb and forefinger half-inch apart) to hanging up my apron after some botched attempts before I read his pointers on pizza making and found his recipe for NY-style pizza dough, which is wonderfully easy to work with and bakes up beautifully.
But with or without those things, if you love pizza, and I assume you do if you're still reading this, make it at home now and then. When I was a kid, every Friday night we had homemade pizza made with dough made from Pillsbury hot roll mix, rolled out and pressed onto a greased cookie sheet and topped with canned Contadina pizza sauce, slices of Muenster cheese, pepperoni and a sprinking of oregano. It took about 20 minutes to make and I loved it. Of course I think I was satisfied with a lot of things back then that most kids - and I, frankly - would scoff at today, but the point is, it isn't that hard to turn out a pretty decent pizza at home, my prior botched attempts notwithstanding. One of the things I love about checking out different pizzerias is discovering the endless variety of characteristics and nuances that are unique to each pizzeria, and you're never going to find a pizza more distinctive and unique than the one you make at home.

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