I love to make homemade pizza. I love making pizza so much that I have held a weekly pizza night for friends and family for over 10 years. I have researched and experimented with different recipes and techniques since I was 15 years old when I started my pizza love affair while working at our town’s local pizza joint.
It was all hands on deck after that, as we all worked together at the big prep bench cutting off balls of dough and weighing them to be sure each small, medium and large pizza was perfectly portioned. The more experienced employees could hack off the exact amount needed in one try, but I always had to cut, weigh, cut, weigh and adjust my way through the batch. We had to roll each hunk of dough into a tight ball and then arrange them on the huge proofing trays that slid into the huge refrigerators where we stored the dough until it was needed.
I didn’t know it then, but I later learned through reading the amazing books of Master Baker Peter Reinhart that the refrigeration was part of the secret of that amazing dough, we used the cold environment of the refrigerators to retard the rising of the dough and therefore allowed the flavors in the flour to develop fully. The dough was delicious the next day but it was amazing towards the end of the batch, in fact we had a whole group of customers who would call to find out what day we had made dough and then time their order for a few days later because they knew that old dough meant delicious pizza.
I don’t know if it was just the pizza and the wonderland of toppings and sauces that were available (my signature pizza was pesto sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and kalamata olives) or if it was the fun and camaraderie of our tight knit group of employees, but ever since then I have pursued the perfect pizza with unrelenting zeal. These days pizza night at my house has become a reliable, recurring theme that nourishes our bodies and our spirits as an ever expanding cast of characters comes together for great food and something more. We have used pizza night to mark special occasions, hold celebrations, plan future events, introduce new loves to the family, say goodbye to old friends and most importantly for the chance to enjoy each others’ company.
Over the years I have tweaked and refined not only my recipes, but also the cooking techniques I use to chase pizza perfection. I have tried multiple oven setups and I have tried every style, shape, size and configuration of dough, sauce and toppings that I could think of or that has been suggested to me. I literally have thousands of pizzas under my belt and I am still fascinated by the challenge of making amazing pizza. My friends and family say that I should stop questing because they think my pizza is so good that improvement is not possible, but in my heart I know that I will always have the next great pizza idea that will beg to be made and shared with the people that I love.
I have been asked many times to share my pizza making recipes and techniques so I am going to post a tutorial on my blog for how to make a basic pizza from dough to table. I’ll hand over my camera to someone at the next pizza night so that I can provide a picture of each step as well.
I would love to hear from you, please feel free to post a comment about pizza or whatever you are passionate about or just whatever is on your mind.