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Friday, July 20, 2012

Corn Hill Exchange Market, Revisited

In April 2011, I did a post on the Corn Hill Exchange Market, where I had picked up one of their large slices. I thought the crust was less than tremendoust, but that the pizza tasted good, and that there was "real potential here." I didn't assign it a grade, since they had just recently begun serving pizza.
I was at this year's Corn Hill Festival, and since I didn't see any pizza at the festival itself (I'm sure there was pizza there, I just didn't see any), and I was walking by the market on the way back to my car, I stopped in for a slice.
The pizzas that day were in what appeared to be cast iron pans, some ready to go, others in various stages of preparation. Cast iron is not a bad way to make a pizza - you can get some excellent results, as evidenced by the rave reviews for the Lodge cast iron pizza pan on Amazon - but this wasn't great. I think the pizza had simply sat too long in the pan after coming out of the oven, so that the moisture from the crust had nowhere to go.
The result was a wet, soggy underside, which is never a good thing on a pizza. I can handle a little oil, but water doesn't belong on the bottom of a pizza.
The underside also had a "pancake" bottom, with medium-brown areas interspersed with bubbly areas. Why the difference between this pizza and the pizza turned out by this blogger? Well, she preheated the pan in the oven, then slid the pizza onto it when the pan was at 539 degrees. The result was a crisp crust that was, in her words, "about as good as it gets."
These pizzas, I think, were stretched out in the pan, then the whole thing went into the oven, at room temperature. The result was a slower baking process, and a bottom that was anything but crisp. Things got worse when the pizza was left to sit in the pan long after it came out of the oven. Only along parts of the edge was the crust anything like crisp, but that was more burnt than charred. I'm not really sure what led to that. Again, I didn't see the baking process, so I don't know for sure if this is what happened, but that's my best guess.
As to the pizza's other attributes, the crust was thin and floppy, and well covered in a bright tomatoey sauce. The cheese seemed to be all mozzarella and was had congealed to a chewy consistency. The overall flavor wasn't bad, but was more than offset by the poor crust.
Based on this visit, I'd say that the pizza at the Corn Hill Exchange Market hasn't lived up to that early potential that I alluded to last year. Maybe during the Corn Hill Festival wasn't the best time to go there; maybe they made a lot of pizzas in anticipation of a big demand, and they sat there for too long. But they shouldn't have sat in their own moisture. I'm afraid I have to give these a D.
Corn Hill Exchange Market, 315 Exchange Blvd. 14608. 454-6333
Open daily 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.

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