Handcrafted Pizza

Questing for the elusive "perfect crust."
Feb 22 ’11

A few goodies

Below are some pictures from my recent Handcrafted adventures. The two breads would make fine pizza crusts (and had great crust on their own!) and the pizzas are representative of my first two attempts at using Caputo 00 flour.

Some comments:

  1. I would not use coarse cornmeal to dust the peel. I almost broke a tooth on a few of my bites.
  2. The Pani Siciliani were excellent, but I have two regrets. One is that I separated them during baking, which I fear ended up drying them out a bit. The other is that I do not have a professional-quality oven with steam blasters, so the crust wasn’t quite as good as it could have been. But it was still quite good.
  3. Working with pizza dough made with 00 is challenging at first as it’s quite lithe. After a few stabs at stretching, though, I found a style that works for me (what I call the patty-cake method) and I love how thin the dough can stretch.
  4. The multigrain loaf made some of the best French Toast I’ve ever had. All the recipes I’ve seen for French Toast call for day-old bread, but man. It’s incredible with a fresh loaf.
  5. Click the images to be able to see various resolutions. All the cool kids are using these pictures as phone backgrounds and desktop wallpapers.

Straight Mozz


Capicola, Mozzarella, and Basil


Pani Siciliani


Multigrain


1 note

Feb 12 ’11

Sep 29 ’10

The Drought Has Ended!

Hey everyone!

First post for me (James) in awhile, but it was a long summer in a bad kitchen in Pewaukee and am finally settled into Madison enough so that I may pizza.  This instance’s pizza was made on the grill, which made it more interesting.  In order to make things easier on myself I covered the grill surface with tin foil to reduce droop though and it worked beautifully.  The toppings of the pizza were grilled zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant, which fit in nicely with the overall taste of the ‘za.  I will say that in the future grilling would be easier if I were to increase the number of coals for decreased cold spots and increased temperature longevity.  All in all it was nice to be making dough again, although sadly this time without the help of Brian (or his kitchen-aid) *tear*.  That’s all for now but hopefully it won’t be 3 months before the next.

-James

Sep 29 ’10
le grill

le grill

1 note

Jul 7 ’10

July Update

It’s been a quiet summer for pizza here in Iowa City. My apartment is not air conditioned, and my roommates put the kibosh on pizza making pretty quickly — and I guess I can’t blame them: without air conditioning, the already insufferable heat and humidity in our kitchen would at least triple by doing so.

However, this extended break has made me all the more excited to get cracking again, and it looks like I’ll be doing so this weekend in Saint Louis. My mental ingredient list at this point includes: mozzarella, swiss, fresh basil (the essentials), feta, pepperoni, zucchini, red onion, yellow pepper, and kalamata olives.

Should be tossin’ on Saturday; pictures to follow shortly thereafter.

- Brian

1 note

Jun 5 ’10
Sicilian Pizza at L & B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn, NY (via)
My Mom makes a similar style pizza, but I’ve never seen a crust like that. Just gorgeous. And look at that sauce.
- Brian

Sicilian Pizza at L & B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn, NY (via)

My Mom makes a similar style pizza, but I’ve never seen a crust like that. Just gorgeous. And look at that sauce.

- Brian

May 26 ’10

Camera-less and alone

I’ve been living the last 4 months or so without a camera because while I was out one night someone decided that I had owned my jacket for long enough, and that it was their turn.  Unfortunately the jacket contained a hat and a camera and that’s that.  Point is to assure our avid readers that I have in fact been making pizza but am now living alone while interning near Waukesha for the summer and have no means of documenting my creations.  You can be assured that with my first paycheck will aim at fixing this issue and handcrafted will become the double-team attack it once was.  Double team… like two majestic steeds riding into the Gates of Avalon.

-James

May 26 ’10

The Sweltering Days

Two nights ago I made some pizzas for the downstairs neighbors. I wasn’t thrilled with the crust, but I think it’s reasonable to chalk any hiccoughs up to the ridiculous heat and humidity (which was only made more unbearable by running my oven at 600 for an hour).

Toppings focused on vegetables:

  1. Orange bell pepper, sliced zucchini, red onion
  2. Asparagus, sliced zucchini
  3. Sausage, radish
  4. Sausage, red onion, asparagus, purple basil

The zucchini I tossed with some olive oil and salt, and for sauce I just used a can of sauce I found on Stu’s shelf. Cheese was my usual 1/3 Swiss, 2/3 Mozzarella mixture.

Pizza #1: Orange Bell, Zucchini, Red Onion

- Brian

May 22 ’10

A New Stone; A New Beginning

James graciously gave me a new pizza stone as a graduation gift, and last night I was able to pop that baby into the oven for the first time and make a couple pies.

The first one didn’t go so well, mainly due to my first stab at a makeshift peel failing miserably.

But the second one came out pretty well, for a quick crust recipe.

For toppings, I used some sliced zucchini, which I tossed with olive oil and salt, some fresh orange pepper, and a blend of mozzarella and swiss.

- Brian

Jan 14 ’10

Just a pizza I threw together out of boredom / desire for lunch.  I tossed the pizza to a slightly smaller diameter than last night’s versions just to see how the crust would fare and it had a nice combination of crispness yet chewability (TM).  I spread olive oil along with sea salt and pepper down on the dough and covered with equal parts mozzarella and swiss before placing small drops of goat cheese on top.  The end result was all I could hope for as the flavors of the cheese blended together beautifully to make for a very happy Wisconsinite.

- James