A Passion for Pizza

I could truly eat pizza every day.   So could my husband. We are both pizza aficionados. While I love to eat pizza (favorite Bay Area pizzerias include: Pizzetta 211, The Cheeseboard Pizza Collective, Pizzeria Delfina, Pauline’s Pizza, and Little Star Pizza), my husband, Allan (the chef of the family), has been on a quest for the past five years to make the perfect pizza at home.

What sparked Allan’s quest for crafting the perfect homemade pizza? His immediate response to that question is: “…because I love to eat pizza, but I don’t want to always have to pay restaurant prices for a great pie (pizzas can range anywhere from $10-$28/per pie).” Several years ago, I surprised Allan with a gift to attend a “How to Make Pizza” class at Sur La Table in Berkeley, CA. I knew the class would be a hit since it was taught by famous bread baker and author, Peter Reinhart (we were already big fans of his book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread). At the time, Peter had just launched his new book titled, American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza.  Allan was of course fascinated and inspired by Peter’s class and came home with a new passion for crafting the perfect crust (lucky me!). 
This past Saturday, as Allan brought out the mixer, bread flour, salt and fresh ingredients to top our pies for the night, I asked him what are the key factors in making great pizza dough. He responded, “Dough is a living, breathing creature. It seems like it would be so simple to make, but it really isn’t simple at all. In fact, dough is very complicated. Creating the perfect dough depends on many different factors such as the temperature both inside and outside, what the humidity is like on that day and the moisture content of the flour.” He added, “To make good dough, you need to pay attention to what works for you. You constantly need to play with different recipes and theories to figure out different textures to make your ideal crust." 

Fortunately, Saturday’s weather was warm (high 70’s) with a slight humidity in the air. After adding Extra Virgin Olive Oil, sautéed leeks, pork linguica sausage and pecorino romano cheese on top of the perfectly risen dough, our pies turned out just as good as (and if not better) than what we’d enjoy in one of our favorite Bay Area pizzerias. And the good news is Allan made extra dough to freeze, so we can enjoy several more of these pizzas in the very near future.  

Viva la pizza!