Webisode Intro #1: Pizza and Obsession
Peter Reinhart

Note: We always leave this webisode at the top of the Home Page for newcomers as well as those who want to share this "teaser tape" with others. All new content follows immediately below and, eventually, rotates out to the various category archives as new content is posted.

Hi everyone, I’m Peter Reinhart, your Pizza Quest guide, and this is our first ever webisode. We're going to leave this opening segment on the front page for all newcomers to the site, but please feel free to navigate over to the Webisode page if you really want to catch up on all the webisode segments.

We’ll continue posting additional webisodes that will take us to some of the stops our traveling team of pizza freaks made on our inaugural quest. With each posting I’ll provide a short written introduction to set the stage and bring you “onto the bus” with us. As new webisodes are posted we’ll retire earlier webisodes to the "webisodes" section, where you can watch them all as often as you like (as the numbers grow, some may be listed at the bottom of the page as archived, but they will all be available at all times). We encourage you to share them with your friends and even import them to your own blogs or sites. We know there are a lot of fellow pizza freaks out there and we’re happy to have them all come along on the journey, which promises to be a long, fun ride. We set out on a search for the perfect pizza but, as you will see, we discovered a lot more than we ever imagined.

This opening webisode is kind of a highlight reel of a few of our first stops, just to give you a taste of what this quest is all about. Here are some of the people you will see in this video:

  • Pizzeria Mozza: You’ll see Nancy Silverton, of Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles (along with Russ Parsons of the LA Times and Kristine Kidd of Bon Appetite Magazine, fellow questors who joined us at Mozza for an interesting conversation on all things pizza—we’ll have more of that conversation in a future webisode)
Upcoming Classes
Peter Reinhart

Hi Everyone,

Still a few seats left for this Saturday's class, "The Bread Revolution," on unique breads made with sprouted flour, at Southern Season Cooking School in Richmond, VA (June 20th -- their website says Friday the 19th but that is incorrect).  Also, the same class will be offered in their cooking school in Charleston, SC on Saturday, June 27th.  To register, go to www.southernseason.com and navigate to the appropriate location and class schedule. Hope to see some of you there!

Just got back from teaching these classes in Cleveland at The Western Reserve School of Cooking and also at The Loretta Paganini School of Cooking, and they were really well received.   While there, I ate at a fabulous pizzeria in Kirtland, OH (just outside of Cleveland) called Biga. I plan to post some photos and a little about my adventure there in the next few days (www.bigapizzeria.net ). Definitely worth the trip! More soon....


I'm in a Vera Pizza Napoletana Kind of Mood
Brad English

I don’t think I need to explain what the Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN) certification is in detail, but to anyone who’s just wandered by our site, who may not know, the VPN was established as a denomination of control (DOC) by the Italian government to designate and identify pizzerias who meet and follow strict requirements that respect the traditions and art of true Neapolitan Pizza making.vpn ready for wood fire

What the VPN does is work to try to maintain the origins and traditions of Napoletana pizza by establishing rules and guidelines about the use of ingredients and processes in creating pizzas in the age old Neapolitan traditions.  I don’t know about you, but I crave this connection and dedication at times.  The doughs are simple and yet sooo delicious!  There’s nothing complex to the dough:  “00” flour, salt, yeast, water.  Yet, producing a brilliant dough in this style out of my own oven has been a difficult task.  I’ve made some good pizzas and maybe even some “great” ones in this style, but by my definition none of them came close to the most brilliant doughs I’ve had by so many master pizzaiolos that we've met here on Pizza Quest.vpn dough

Every time I make a pizza I learn something. I surpass my expectations with one aspect of the pizza and probably dash my dreams over another. A week after I made the best dough I think I’ve ever created the next batch falls terribly short.  The topping ingredients are the easy part.  There are true artisans, craftspeople, artists out there who have perfected their products.  I can buy a truly inspiring salumi, fresh artisan mozzarella, local farmers market herbs and vegetables, the best tomatoes etc.People like Rob DiNapoli and Chris Bianco are out there focusing on producing amazing tomato products.  But the one aspect we have to perfect at home, all by ourselves, is the dough!

Pizza isn’t easy for that reason.  The dough is a living, breathing entity.  If you haven’t seen it, watch this presentation Peter Reinhart gave on TED about the life of bread. *LINK It’s really fascinating.  Pizza dough is the same.  It’s an ever changing, evolving thing that starts as dry ingredients, is transformed into a wet dough ball that grows as the yeast and sugars in the flour interact, and then is cooked and dried again in the oven creating a pizza.  That’s a difficult process to get right - especially with consistency.shaped dough

Then try working in a Wood Fired Oven!  That adds a whole lot of variables, but what I love about it is that you can’t just dial in an exact temperature or place your pizza, salmon, veggies, steak, or pork roast into the oven and walk away while a digital timer ticks down to “DONE”!   You can’t even repeat what you did the last time you cooked.  Each fire is different.  Each day is different.  Each time you go into your wood fired oven it’s a dance between you, your food and the wild elements at work. To me, that’s brilliant.  I never follow a recipe to the letter. Instead, I like to use most recipes as a guide. Making pizza in a wood fired oven is the same.  Success requires your past experiences and current senses to guide you and that is so much fun and the pay off is awesome.

Pizza is always a dance to be sure. Even when cooking in my home oven, where the temperature can be set to an exact temperature and I’ve rigged my oven with 2 pizza stones and a baking steel to help regulate the heat distribution, I still have to dance the jingo-jango to coax the best pizza out of the oven!wood fire vpn pizza

Following are some photos of my VPN dough using a 00 Flour and my roaring hot Primavera Oven.  I’ll do some recipes for the pizzas in another post.  I normally would just post a recipe about each pizza I made, but, for now, let me just say that I came close to pure pizza joy and perfection -- and close is pretty pretty good!


Peter on the Road
Peter Reinhart

Hi Everyone,

We're getting closer and closer to relaunching the site with more videos and recipes, but are still in the final tweak stage. In the meantime, I just want to keep you updated on developments as they come up.

I'm getting ready to go out on the road again during June to teach and would love to have you attend if I'm in your area. I'll be doing a series of "Bread Revolution" demo classes (on the "new frontier" of sprouted flour) on these dates:

June 6th: Chapel Hill, NC, The Southern Season Cooking School

June 8th: Cleveland, The Western Reserve School of Cooking

June10th: Chesterland, OH, The Loretta Paganini School of Cooking

June 20th: Richmond, VA, The Southern Season Cooking School

June 27th: Charleston, SC, The Southern Season Cooking School

In addition, I will be offering a few other classes in Cleveland and Chesterland:
June 9th: American Pie: Making Perfect Pizza, Western Reserve School of Cooking, Cleveland

June 11th: Whole Grain Breads From Whole Milled Flour, Loretta Paganini School of Cooking, Chesterland, OH

June 12th: Sourdough and "Next Frontier" Specialty Breads, Loretta Paganini School of Cooking, Chesterland, OH

Contact and schedule info for the schools is as follows:

www.southernseason.com/  (Southern Season, all locations)

http://www.wrsoc.com/ (Western Reserve School of Cooking)

www.lpscinc.com (Loretta Paganini School of Cooking) or phone 440.729.1110

All details and times are on their sites. Hope you can make it -- should be a lot of fun! As of today there are still a few seats left, but no promises as we get closer to the class dates. Please introduce yourself to me as a PizzaQuest follower if you come.

More coming soon here on PizzaQuest. Thanks for hanging in there with us these past few "reboot" months.

All the Best,





Good News!
Peter Reinhart

Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for continuing to log in during this time of transition for us. Here are a few pieces of good news:

--The new web platform is now under construction and we should have it up and running soon. Our partners at Forno Bravo are working really hard to make this happen, so thank you to everyone there. In the meantime, we'll keep posting as we can. I am working on my report from the amazing dinner we had with Craig Priebe, author of the upcoming "The United States of Pizza" (Oct.), and will tell you all about it, as well as some guest columns that we'll get posted asap.

--On a personal front, I was just notified that I have been selected to the Dessert Professional Magazine's Hall of Fame. Here's the link to the article, which also features their Top Ten Bread Bakers of the Year, some of whom may look familiar to you and some may be new ones to add to your "must visit" list when traveling.  Thank you to Dessert Professional for this wonderful honor. 


--Don't forget to put May 2nd down on your calendar for the 11th Annual Asheville Bread Festival, where I will be doing a new presentation on sprouted flour, along with an all star line-up of bakers. Here's the link: www.ashevillebreadfestival.com

More coming soon, so please keep coming back.

All the Best,





Chicago Event, Feb. 28th
Peter Reinhart

Hi Everyone,

I'll be in Chicago for the next few days to attend the Baking Tech Conference and also, to speak to the Culinary Historians of Chicago on Saturday, Feb. 28th. The talk is open to the public and will begin at 10 AM at Kendall College. I'll be speaking about my new book on sprouted flour, "Bread Revolution," and demonstrating how to mix dough using sprouted wheat flour. We'll also be tasting one of my favorite recipes from the book, Sprouted Corn Bread.

I know this only applies to a few of you who read Pizza Quest but, if you are in the area, come by. There's a small charge for non members (I think it's $5) but it will be a great chance to meet some serious food writers and historians. Be sure to tell me if you read about it here.

I'll write more when I get back about the conference and a special pizza tasting I'm attending on Tuesday night. More soon....


Nice Review
Peter Reinhart

Hi All. Just got a great review on my new book, "Bread Revolution" at the following site:


Looks like a great site for lots of good recipes and commentary, so I'm just passing it on and, thanks to the folks at TheKitchn.com for their kind words.




Bob Radcliffe's Tomato Test
Bob Radcliffe

Note from Peter: Many of you have read Bob Radcliffe's entire Pizza Quest series on his search for the perfect tomato pie, and some of you have even been to his extraordinary tomato pie events at Lynch Creek Farm in rural North Carolina. You can see some of the testimonials as you read through the Comments section of his articles (most of the articles are further down on this home page, or can also be found in the Guest Column archives).  For more details on Bob's Ben Franklin Society and the BreadWorks events at Lynch Creek Farm (seating is limited and it's a hot ticket!), check it out at: www.BenFranklinSocietyNC.org  or write to Bob at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   (you can also check out his bio in the Contributor's section).  You can also find him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BenFranklinSociety

As always, we are once again grateful to Bob for this latest contribution in his never ending quest, fueled by a passion that many of us share -- but few have Bob's tenacity. Bob did send along a number of photos to help tell the story but, while the website is undergoing renovation, we are still unable to load them, so I will just run the story now and we'll add the photos later. I didn't want to delay getting this out now, as both the information and Bob's writing is really excellent. So, enjoy Bob's Tomato Test!


Bob’s Tomato Taste Test
I cannot believe it’s been more than six months since I concluded my “Tomato Pie, Rocky Ford and Me” series for Peter Reinhart’s Pizza Quest. Well, I’m back with another story, about a taste test I conducted to determine which canned tomatoes have the best flavor for a tomato pie. I must admit, now that I’ve done it, I’ve learned it’s a lot harder to conduct an unbiased taste test than I ever imagined.

The old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” rang true for me. After two failed attempts, I finally managed to complete a Tomato Taste Test. My first attempt was at an outdoor BreadWorks Event (Aug. 23, 2014) that a thunderstorm washed out. My second attempt (Sept. 13, 2014) was stymied when some of my prepared tomatoes inexplicably molded, and most certainly could not be used. At last, the stars must have aligned. During a holiday open house for the Ben Franklin Society on Dec. 28, 2014, success! Christmas was certainly an unlikely time of year for a tomato taste test, but I had promised Peter and Brad English. So, I guess folks will eat a good Tomato Pie anytime you are willing to prepare one.

I selected three different tomato brands for this Tomato Taste Test. Here’s what I used, along with my comparison commentary:

1.    Rob DiNapoli’s - California Bianco brand – one 102-ounce, unlined can of Whole Peeled, Vine Ripened Organically Grown, California Plum Tomatoes with Basil. Medium to large fruits (3” or larger). Noticeably dense and seedy. Ample basil leaf. Thick sauce.

2.    My imported Philadelphia favorite - Rosa brand – three 35-ounce lined cans of San Marzano Italian Peeled Tomatoes, All Natural with Basil Leaf in Tomato Puree. Medium to large fruits (3” or greater). Less dense with some seeds. More basil leaf. Thick sauce.

3.    An imported New Jersey rival - Cento brand - to challenge my belief they were similar to Rosa – three 28-ounce lined cans of Pomodoro San Marzano Certified Peeled Tomatoes with Basil Leaf. Small fruits (2” or larger). Little density, mushy and few seeds. No noticeable basil leaf. Thinner sauce.

I prepared each of the sample tomatoes identically. Just as I described in my article, “Try It, You’ll Like It.”  I sugared each sample individually to even out the sweet/acid balance of each product. The prepared tomatoes were refrigerated overnight, brought to room temperature, then tasted again, and adjusted if needed, to ensure an even balance between brands before using them in the Taste Test. Surprisingly, each uncooked sample looked and tasted quite different, even though they all were plum-type tomatoes. Because the Tomatoes cook on the pie, and I add no other seasoning to the tomatoes, when baked, their taste is enhanced by evaporation to reveal their distinctive tomato flavor.

Each sample piece had both tomato, cheese, mushroom and sausage on it. Making those rectangular pies for me was a struggle. Quite a challenge. You know I cannot make round pies. Keeping the crust thickness and applying the toppings uniformly was tedious.

Each tray was labeled as either Sample “A,” “B,” or “C.” I baked the pies in an electric oven with a pizza stone (not my outdoor, wood-fired oven) – so the samples lacked that smoky aroma. After serving, I asked each person to take one piece of each Sample “A,” “B,” and “C,” and rank how the tomatoes tasted – with no hint of which tomato brand was used. I asked them to fill out a form to serve as a score card. Everyone was free to sample more Tomato Pie, but this was not a typical buffet-style Tomato Pie Event where I bake 40-50 pies in my wood-fired oven.

About 45 folks attended, and some couples submitted only one score card. I asked everyone to rate the tomatoes on each of the three samples, and write comments as well. Here are the raw data findings from the twenty-one score cards completed:

Tomato brand            1st         2nd        3rd
Sample A (Rosa)         11         2            8
Sample B (Bianco)        8         6            7
Sample C (Cento)         2        13           6

When conducting a Survey, you hope a clear winner emerges. In this case, one did not. Here’s my take on the results – based upon the scores above, along with anecdotal remarks at the event, comments written on the forms, and practical considerations important to me:

1.    The Biancos were rated as being “earthy with a full, plum tomato taste.” The fruits were large and fibrous, but somewhat harder to cut into pieces.

2.    The Rosas were rated as “sweeter.” The fruits were large and meaty, not fibrous, and easier to prepare.

3.    The Centos were obviously good with 13 votes for 2nd place, but not great with 2 votes for 1st place. The fruits were very small and stringy with a lack of pulp.

I recommend the Bianco brand
I prefer to continue using the Rosa brand
I would not recommend the Cento brand

4.    Unlike the Taste Test, from my cost perspective, the winner was clear-cut:
Rosa     $0.10 per ounce
Cento    $0.15 per ounce
Bianco   $0.30 per ounce

The Bianco brand is readily available in California and may be purchased online, but shipping costs are prohibitive. East Coast availability may be limited. These are a Made-in-the-USA product and are not imported. They are a plum tomato, and would say they are not, a San Marzano - but they are delightful nevertheless.

I am unsure of the availability of the Rosa brand tomatoes nationwide. I believe they are only imported from Italy into the Eastern port cities of Philadelphia and Baltimore. Kerry, my wife, actually buys and picks-up Rosas in Philadelphia at the Rosa Grey’s Ferry warehouse - when she regularly travels to work in our old Spring Garden neighborhood.

The Cento brand is broadly available at most food stores and big-box grocery retailers. The price varies, but is marketed as a premium product. I was disappointed in the fruit size and lack of texture and pulp. The fruit size in all three cans I purchased was uniformly small. I found them difficult to work with when preparing the product as I do.

Well, this Tomato Taste Test may not be the END-ALL of taste tests. I do hope I’ve added some value to the process of choosing the best tomatoes to use when making a Tomato Pie. I don’t claim that Rosas are superior, but on a taste, cost and availability basis, they remain my preferred choice.

If a better brand emerges, rest assured, I will happily begin using it for my BreadWorks Dining Events at Lynch Creek Farm in rural North Carolina.

Until my next Taste Test, or other food-worthy experiment  .  .  .  Happy trails! – Bob

Happy New Year
Peter Reinhart

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to 2015!! We're still here and are looking forward to a big year on Pizza Quest.  The site repairs and renovation, which have prevented us from posting photos and videos, are still ongoing, but I plan to keep posting words as I uncover new and interesting things. For instance, I'm heading to Philadelphia next week for the annual Philly Chef's Conference, where I'll be speaking and leading some panels on publishing and also on, what else, pizza.  Here's a link to the conference info: http://drexel.edu/now/archive/2014/November/Chef-Conference/

While I'm there, I hope to visit two of the hot new pizzerias in town: Pizzeria Beddia and Pizza Brain (not as new as Pizzeria Beddia, but I understand they have a cool pizza museum there in addition to great pizza). I'll report on all that when I get back.

In the meantime, I'll keep you apprised as to the repairs progress and we look forward to bringing you all sorts of fun recipes, posts, and videos in the coming year.  On behalf of Brad, Jeff, and the whole Pizza Quest team, I wish you a Happy New Year!!!


We're Back, More to Come
Peter Reinhart

Hi Folks,

Sorry we've been absent for a while. The site has been down for repairs and it's still undergoing a makeover but we hope to be back soon with more postings. Hang in there with us and have a wonderful holiday season!  See you all here again soon....

Best Wishes,


Typo in new book, Yikes!
Peter Reinhart

Hi Folks,

An Amazon reviewer found a typo in one of the recipes, found on page 63.  The water amount by weight is correct but the volume measurement should be 1 3/4 cups, not 3 3/4 cups!  If you already have the book, please make that correction. Sorry about that. We'll get it fixed for the next printing.  Thanks!


Peter's Blog, "Bread Revolution"
Peter Reinhart


Hi Everyone,

On Oct. 21st my new book, two years in the making, will at last be available.  The following is an interview I did with myself in order to give an overview and provide background on the book.  I won't be selling these directly, but encourage you to support your local book store or, if you prefer, purchase it online.  I'll be at King Arthur Flour's Baking School this weekend (Oct. 24-25) for the first official class based on the book.  Also, at Sur la Table South Park (Charlotte) on Nov. 8th for a demonstration class.  Please check with both of these venue to see if places are still available. I'll post future classes right here, so please check back from time to time. Thanks!


Ten Questions and Answers with Peter Reinhart, author of Bread Revolution: World Class Baking with Sprouted and Whole Grains, Heirloom Flours, and Fresh Techniques (Ten Speed Press, Fall 2014)

What is this book about? A few years ago, I realized there was a growing movement for bread using flour made from sprouted wheat and other sprouted grains. One of the few millers in the country making this kind of flour asked me to test his sprouted whole wheat flour. I was extremely impressed by the flavor. It was better than any 100% whole wheat bread I’d ever made, even those using advanced bakers’ tricks such as preferments and slow cold fermentation. It was smoother (no rough, scratchy taste in the back of the throat), sweeter, and softer than the usual whole wheat breads, yet I made it with only the sprouted flour, salt, yeast, and water. I started playing around with it, along with other types of sprouted flours, such as gluten-free versions and even sprouted bean flours, and felt that this represented a new frontier for bread bakers.

In my explorations, I also learned about other new developments in the world of bread, such as using sprouted grain pulp, regional-specific heirloom flours, and even flour made from dried coffee cherries, grape skins, and grape seeds. Just when I thought the baking community had explored pretty much everything there was to know about bread, I saw that we were actually in the early stages of yet another revolutionary phase. This book explores some of these developments through formulas and profiles of some of its pioneers.

What is the difference between sprouted flour and sprouted pulp?

For the past 50 years, there has been a popular alternative bread on the market made with sprouted grain “pulp” or “mash.” The two most well-known brands are Ezekiel Bread and Alvarado Street Bakery. The grains are soaked, germinated, and then slightly sprouted. It is then ground into a wet pulp in a machine similar to a meat grinder. Other ingredients are added--yeast, salt, sweetener, and pure wheat gluten--and a very tasty bread emerges that is, technically, made without any “flour.” The sprouted pulp requires pure wheat gluten (also called Vital Wheat Gluten) to replace the gluten that is destroyed during germination and grinding. It was assumed that any bread made with sprouted grain would require this additional gluten in order to be light and airy.

When a few millers decided to try drying the sprouts without grinding them, and then milling the dried sprouted grain, it made a very fine flour that tasted different from non-sprouted grain. To everyone’s surprise, the gluten wasn’t destroyed in the sprouted flour and, when reconstituted as a dough, it performed like regular bread but tasted better and contained the health benefits brought about by sprouting. Now we have two ways of using sprouted grain in bread--dry flour and wet pulp—both of which provide the benefit of better nutrition and better flavor.


Can you explain more about the nutrition? It has long been known that when grains, seeds, and beans are sprouted, their nutritional value increases dramatically. Not only does the mineral and vitamin content increase but the starches are also affected by enzyme activity, releasing their natural sugars, and digestibility improves while lowering the glycemic load.

Now, just how much of the nutritional potential that survives the baking process is still being studied, but we’re seeing a lot of anecdotal evidence that shows positive digestive benefits. Of course, the fact that the sprouts are also whole grains is already a positive from a pre-biotic sense because of the increased fiber. I expect to see a lot of encouraging new studies emerge in the next few years.


What about the flavor? Why does it taste better? A seed or grain kernel is a highly concentrated package of nutrition designed to nourish new growth. Enzymes, which are small proteins that act as keys (or scissors) to break up carbohydrates or long protein chains, begin to activate when the seed is hydrated and germinated. There are a lot of implications of this activity but one is that nutrients are freed up, as are various sugars that can serve as food for both yeast and lactic bacteria (the good kind), resulting in better flavor and a richer color (that is, better eye appeal, not to be taken lightly when it comes to how we enjoy our food).

Do you address the gluten-free movement in Bread Revolution? I did not want to repeat what I wrote in my previous book, The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking, but Bread Revolution does offer a few new gluten-free recipes that feature sprouted gluten-free flours and nut flours. New information is coming out every day to clarify some of the misconceptions and false assumptions surrounding gluten and other allergens, so this category will continue to be an important part of the bread revolution.

Any new discoveries about sourdough bread? I keep learning more and more about the micro-biology underlying sourdough bread, so I included my latest findings in this book. As the research shows, there is something very different about bread made with natural wild yeast starters (aka natural leaven) as opposed to commercial yeast. I think that even more information is still to come that will show the health and digestibility benefits of naturally leavened bread, both whole grain and white flour versions.

Besides sprouted grains, what other “new frontiers” are happening in the bread world? The book takes a peek at flours made from grape skins and grape seeds, as well as varietal grape seed oils. In addition, I profile a new grain product called ProBiotein that serves not only as a healthy pre-biotic fiber supplement but also acts like a sourdough starter when added to bread dough. Flour made from the dried outer husks (called the “cherries”) of coffee beans also shows great promise in both culinary application and also in the natural healthcare market. In the last chapter, I explore the next new frontier by profiling a baker who has come up with a unique method of creating one-time-use starters.

How big do you think these new frontiers will get? Gluten-free went from a fringe movement to a multi-billion dollar industry, but not every new bread frontier tips over into something major. Sometimes a small wave can lead to a larger one later on, though; for example, I’m not convinced that grape skin flour will make a huge impact in bread baking, per se, but it clearly has many other nutritional and flavor implications that could inform health care products. I do believe sprouted grain flour is going to be a game-changer, which is why it’s the focus of this book.

You also wrote about an unusual sourdough bread method. Can you give us a little preview? A baker friend taught me a new method that involves making a starter using hand-squeezed (through a cheesecloth) apple, pear, or peach juice added to flour. He influences the flavor by resting various ingredients on top of the starter bowl to draw out particular micro-organisms. He uses parmesan cheese, coffee beans, and different types of fruit to create subtle flavors. He uses the starter only once, instead of feeding it to keep it going, because he worries that the starter will change its flavor profile if it is refreshed, which will cause him to lose control of the taste. A very interesting chapter.

What’s next? Are there bread frontiers not yet seen; any predictions? Considering that humans have been making bread for at least 6,000 years, it’s amazing that we’re still learning new ways to make it even better. Enzymes, bacteria, new strains of yeast, selective and directed seed breeding, small regional mills using locally-grown flour--the growth never seems to end. I think we’re actually headed into a golden era for bread. I’m thrilled to see what’s next!



"Bread Revolution," my newest book
Peter Reinhart

Just a quick announcement to let you know that on Oct. 21st my latest book will be released. I'll post a Q&A about the book on the 21st, so please check back then for that.

Last week, I did a fun teleconference with PMQ Magazine (aka Pizza Marketing Quarterly) as part of their "Think Tank" section.  It aired live via Skype but I believe it will also soon be posted as a podcast. In it we discuss the new sprouted flour options and other developments in the world of doughs.  Check at pmq.com for more details, but I'll post here when I know the podcast is up and running.

There may still be slots available for my upcoming demo class at Charlotte's Sur la Table Cooking School. Call the store for details if you live in the Charlotte area. I'll be in Vermont on Oct. 24th and 25th for a hands on workshop based on "The Bread Revolution" at King Arthur Flour's Baking Education Center. There may still be a couple of slots available so contact them directly via their website if you are interested (and to get their great catalog!).

More next week when I post the Q&A. Have a great week!!


Interview with Liz Barrett
Peter Reinhart

Note from Peter: Liz Barrett is the Editor at Large for PMQ Pizza Magazine, one of the world's major sources of all things having to do with pizza. Her new book just came out and Liz agreed to answer a few questions for us.  I wanted to post some of the photos from the book, including its great cover shot, but our technical problems are preventing that for now, so I suggest you link over to her website and Facebook page to see more or, better yet, buy the book, which is chock full of American pizza history, folk-lore, and guest interviews with many pizza luminaries (including one by me). Enjoy!

--Tell us about your new book, “Pizza: A Slice of American History,” and about that fabulous cover shot.

I was approached by Voyageur Press to write the book, and I happily accepted the challenge. We tossed around a couple of ideas for the book but landed on one that would tell the history behind the different pizza styles that exist across America as well as the ingredients used in each. The book is written for anyone who loves pizza—which should be just about everyone. At the same time, the book honors those in the industry who have dedicated their lives to crafting the pizzas we’ve all grown up with, no matter where we live. The cover shot was chosen by the book’s cover designer, Diana Boger. It’s a 50’s-style pizzeria located on Catalina Island in Avalon, California. Oddly enough, right before the book was released, my sister Shannah went to Catalina Island and posed in front of the pizzeria, not knowing it was on the cover of my book. Talk about a small world!

--What has it been like being a writer and editor for a major pizza magazine? What are some of the most unusual stories you’ve covered and who are some of your favorite pizza heroes?

Well, being able to write about something you’ve loved your entire life is a true blessing. Folks always ask me if I get tired of eating pizza, and honestly, I can’t imagine ever getting tired of it. I consider pizza a blank slate; you can have it so many different ways, how could it ever get boring? The pizza industry is full of interesting characters, which also makes it fun. I learned early on that every pizzeria has the BEST pizza, and that the debates about pizza can get as heated as a political debate, so make sure there are  no sharp objects around if you’re going to disagree with someone about where the best slices are. As far as pizza heroes, I think that anyone who is brave enough to embark on their own pizzeria business, putting out a delicious product and quality customer service, is a hero in my eyes. There are too many to list here.

--You’ve seen about every kind of pizza that has been or can be made. What, in your opinion, are the keys to crafting a great pizza?

At the risk of sounding “cheesy,” it really does have to do with the love that goes into a pizza. And when I say love, I mean the human touch. When I see a pizzaiolo behind the counter who is kneading the pizza dough, carefully applying the tomato sauce, and meticulously applying toppings, that pizza tastes exponentially better than a pizza that goes through a pizza press and an automatic topping machine. This isn’t to say that those other pizzas are bad, they’re just different.

For folks who are interested in competing on the U.S. (or any) Pizza Team, what are the things judges look for when determining who makes the team? In terms of the pizza itself, how much is about the crust and how much about the toppings?

There’s an acrobatic and a culinary division of the U.S. Pizza Team. For those competing in the culinary trials, the pizzas are judged on taste, appearance, and commercial viability. When I was running the competitions, I usually advised competitors not to overthink their pizza, and just keep it simple. When you’re working in a competition environment, using ovens you aren’t used to, with fluctuating temperatures, you don’t want to worry about a loaded pie not cooking all the way through. From my experience, one of the main reasons pizzas received low scores was because they were not cooked thoroughly enough, and the majority of pizzas that won, were topped with simple ingredients.

--Everyone has a favorite pizzeria, or maybe a few, so we know this is a subjective, debatable question, but can you tell us about five or six of the best pizzas or pizzerias you’ve ever experienced, and what makes them so?

I agree that this is a subjective question, which is why I usually don’t answer it. My tastes are always changing, since I’m always discovering new and wonderful pizzas and pizzerias. With that said, I have certain pizzerias that I revisit when I’m traveling….some of which include, but are not limited to: Keste, Motorino, Grimaldi’s, and John’s in New York; Spacca Napoli and Coalfire in Chicago; Varasano’s in Atlanta; Sally’s in New Haven, CT; and I’m sure I’m leaving out some great ones, which is why I avoid that question. Luckily enough, I have an award-winning pizzeria, which I adore, just 30 minutes from my house, called TriBecca Allie Café, in Sardis, MS. I like it so much that I even had my wedding reception there this past July. After all, everyone loves pizza!

--What do you see ahead as the most important new trends in the world of pizza?

We’ve seen more and more general restaurants adding pizzas to the menu in the form of flatbreads and personal-size pizzas; it allows consumers to enjoy pizza in more places, but also takes away from the traditional pizzeria experience. Additionally, the build-your-own (fast casual) pizza craze has taken off, with restaurants such as 800 Degrees and Top That! Pizza offering a Subway-esque way for customers to build their own pizzas. And, while I don’t consider it a trend, online ordering continues to grow and advance, with options to order via the press of a button on your smartphone, something that was unheard of just a few years ago.

--Finally, how can our readers get your book and access your web site and travel schedule if they want to get their book signed?

The book is available in bookstores and at all of the online booksellers. I’ve set up a page on my website with more information about the book, signings, and a link to the Facebook page at:  www.writtenbyliz.com.


Beer Sauteed Lamb Merguez Sausage Pizza
Brad English

Note from Peter: We're still having some major problems with the photo upload and may have to do a major overhaul. But I didn't want to delay sharing this great post by Brad English, so we're breaking with tradition and putting it up without the usual mouth-watering photos. Just let your visual imagination roam and enjoy the story. Take it away Brad....

Note from Brad: I'll post a couple pictures on our Facebook page.

Lately, I've been playing with my wood-fired oven while it comes up to pizza temperature. There's a lot of usable heat to make side dishes, or in the case of making pizzas, some toppings.  Once there is a good fire going, after 20-30 minutes, there is plenty of heat radiating out onto the hearth.  This is the perfect time to throw something together in a cast iron skillet, or in the case of peppers or chillis, you can just throw them onto the hearth stone at the foot of the fire and roast away.

This is one of the more interesting things about cooking with a wood-fired oven, or even a charcoal fire instead of a home oven or gas grill, which are both much more accurate and controllable.  Open fire cooking is more interactive.  You can't just start the oven and set a timer.  You have to work with the heat/fire which is constantly changing.  You also have to build your fire with a well thought-out plan of how hot you want it, when you need it that hot, etc.  As a home cook/food geek, with what I suppose is basically a cooking hobby, open fire cooking feels somehow more connective.

I've been sautéing my sausage this way for some time now.  I've also been creating a variety of sausage "sauces" lately.  I'll throw in some onions, garlic, or other ingredients like fennel, or jalapeños with my sausage and cook them, hopefully, until just before they are done, so they can finish on my pizza.  The more I play with this sausage sauce idea, the more saucy it's gotten. The juice/sauce left over is a really great drizzle for the pizza, with lots of flavor!

I met a pizzaiolo named Chef Joseph Boness, who owns and operates a Mobile Wood Burning Oven business called Vella Pizza (www.vellapizza.com) in Torrance, CA.  I was at one of our new local breweries in Torrance, CA, called Absolution Brewing Company, with some friends.  It turned out that Chef Boness was there with his WBO.  Naturally, we hit it off!  He made some great pizza and I got to spend a bit of time with him talking shop!  Fun stuff.  I'm hoping we'll be hearing more from him in the future.  Stay tuned.  Long story short - and to the point -- one of the toppings he used for a delicious calzone he made for me was made with a beer sausage.  He used one of the beers at the brewery to make this sausage.  It was so good that, later that week, I decided to play at home in my Primavera.


Lamb Merguez Sausage and Sauce Ingredients:

- Lamb Merguez Sausage

- olive oil

- Leeks

- chopped garlic

- sea salt

- black pepper

- beer

Lamb Merguez Sausage and Sauce and Roasted Chilis:

Build a fire!  This could be done on the stove top also, but we've got a Wood Burning Oven. So…

As the fire was getting going I threw some nice red and yellow chilis onto the hearth in front of the burning almond wood.  Keep turning them while they roast to make sure to evenly cook on all sides.  This worked great.  As soon as these were done, the oven was pretty hot and ready for my sausage pan.

Heat up the pan and add your olive oil.

*I use a lot of olive oil because I want to make sure there is a "sauce" that I can drizzle on the finished pizza.

Thinly slice up your leeks and chop a few cloves of garlic and place in the pan and sauté.

Break the sausage up into pieces about twice the size you will want on your pizza and place them into the leek/garlic sauté.

*Once cooked, I pinch them in half to place on the pizza which exposes the middle which should still need a little cooking to finish them, or at least have a little cooking left in them since they are going back in the oven on your pizza.

After a minute or so, add some beer to the pan.

*I use a good amount to help create the sauce.

Saute until the sausage are almost done and a good amount of the beer/sauce has been reduced.

Set aside to cool.  Can be used right away to top a pizza, or used after it's cooled.  This can also be done on the stove top ahead of time.


The Beer Sauteed Lamb Merguez Sausage Pizza:

- Your favorite Pizza Dough

- Can of Bianco DiNapoli Whole Peeled Tomatoes - if you can get them! If not, use the best you can find

- Lamb Merguez Sausage and Sauce

- Roasted Chilis - peeled and sliced into strips

- Fresh Mozzarella

- Fresh Basil


Spread your dough.

I used my tomatoes whole by simply pulling the top off where the stem connects and opening the tomato, pulling it in half.  Lay the tomato halves around the pizza.

Add your lamb sausage and leek mixture.

Tear some fresh mozzarella and place around the pizza.

Add the sliced roasted chilis and then drizzle with some of your sausage sauce which will blend with your tomatoes to make a great super sauce.

Into the oven. Bake till done, about three to four minutes if your oven is set just right (not 800 degrees, as in Naples but more like 650 - 700 degrees F.

Out of the oven.

Top with some chopped fresh basil.

This pizza was delicious!  The leeks where a nice variation on using onions and went well with the bold earthy lamb Merguez sausage.  The mild chilis added a nice texture and subtle chili note.  I could see heating this up a bit with some roasted Fresno Chilis or Serranos, but it was nice letting the Merguez sausage take the lead note on this pizza also.  The milky simplicity of the fresh mozzarella let all of these ingredients come forward and gave it a really nice balance.

*Note:  I may try to marinade the sausage in the beer prior to cooking next time to give them more time to get together.


WheatStalk this Weekend
Peter Reinhart

Hi Everyone,

I'm on my way to Chicago for the bi-annual WheatStalk Conference, our version of Woodstock, where 250 serious "bread-heads" gather for workshops, lectures, demo's and all things bread. I'll be leading a wood-fired pizza workshop.  Lots of fun!!!  I'll blog about it right here when I get back. (And I'm sure at least one pizza quest adventure awaits us in the Windy City -- not yet sure where we'll go, but how can anyone be in Chicago without hunting down some Chicago-style?)

Unfortunately, we're still having technical issues with loading photos, so Brad's post is still waiting in the wings. We may have to start posting some of these things without the photos, at least until we get it worked out. Believe me, we're trying. In the meantime, thanks for your support and hang in there with us.



Peter's Blog, Quick Update
Peter Reinhart

Hi Everyone,

We have a new posting from Brad coming soon, all about a killer Lamb Merguez sausage pizza that he came up with in his Primavera 60. However, we're having some technical issues with our photo posting service. As soon as we clear that up, we'll post it.

Also, I have an interview coming up with Liz Barrett, Editor at Large and writer for PMQ Magazine (Pizza Marketing Quarterly) about a new book she just released called, "Pizza: A Slice of American History." The book just came out, and can be found at Amazon and other book stores if you want to check it out and order it now. I'll post that interview as soon as we put it all together (and also get the technical issues ironed out that I mentioned above).

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that more great content is on its way, so keep checking back.  More soon....


Rest in Peace, Robin Williams
Peter Reinhart

I first saw Robin Williams perform about a year before his career took off, when he was doing stand up in San Francisco, where I lived at the time. I was about 28 years old and I went to a comedy club, called The Boarding House, with a friend, having heard rumors of this hot new comic. About ten minutes into his frenetic routine my friend and I looked at each other, our mouths agape, and simultaneously said, “Unbelievable!”  It was unlike anything that anyone else was doing; spiritual, profane, gross, sublime, full of popular culture and also arcane historical references, like someone took the lid off the universal Pandoric subconscious and just let the genie out to roam at will (and this was years before he played the genie in Aladdin, which was the most perfect casting in the history of cinema). He acted out a slow motion tai chi dance in one of his routines, while spouting witty one-liners in concert with the movements, to illustrate how he could manipulate time, perhaps giving us a glimpse into how he experienced reality and how different his experience was from ours, like an athlete in the zone. “Reality, what a concept,” was a getaway line for him.

I’d long been a fan of Jonathan Winters, who was clearly one of Robin’s main inspirations, but that night was like watching Jonathan Winters on steroids to the tenth power (of course, we later learned it was probably fueled more by cocaine, but in those innocent days I’d hoped it was au naturale).

After the second time that I saw him perform I tried to send him a note, via one of the club managers, to ask if he would let me interview him. I was, at that time, a seminary student and a regular contributor to a theological magazine called Epiphany Journal and I believed that Robin Williams was operating about as close to the “Eternal Now” as was humanly possible, and I wanted to know more about his process. There was an Icarus-like quality to his ambitions and I feared that the wing-wax might soon melt but, as a performer, he flew as close to the sun as I’d ever witnessed; it was both inspiring and scary. I never got a reply to my interview request and I doubt that he ever received it, but it was as near as I ever got to him, though I followed his career earnestly till the end.

I saw him perform a few more times during that break-out year, and when I went to catch his set at a different club, about twelve months later, just as he was about launch Mork and Mindy (he’d already done a legendary HBO special, so he was no longer my/our little San Francisco discovery), he was clearly off his game. Normally, (if such a word could ever be used in association with Robin) he had a very clever way of pulling out of a bad joke sequence by stopping the show and directly addressing the audience with a straight face, declaring, “So this is what must be known as Comedy Hell.”  Then he’d go off on a comedy hell riff, invoking demons and inner voices that would magically turn things around and win back the crowd. (He also had a “Comedy Heaven” routine that he’d use when the audience was too easy on him, admonishing us by saying, “Now you’re laughing at nothing.” Brilliant!) But on this night even the Comedy Hell trick wasn’t working, so he kept sputtering, working hard to turn it around, sweating profusely, drinking lots of water, knowing that it just wasn’t happening, a little panic entering into what seemed like his coked-up bravado.  It was hard to watch but I was glad I got to see him in this situation, though disappointed that he wasn’t as mind boggling as before, because everyone knows that these are the situations that really test a comic’s mettle. It was painful but, by now he was a veteran trouper and he managed to pull out of the tailspin enough to leave us hungry for more, applauding for him wildly; an A for effort. It was on that night that I began to wonder how long he could keep going at this pace before imploding. Amazingly, it took thirty five years, though who knows how many crash and burns he went through along the way -- we do know of a few, but probably not all. Every time he got clean and sober I breathed a sigh of relief and hoped he could keep bouncing back. But his resilience, as we now know, had its limit.

There’s no way to know just how much each performance took out of him, but if any of you have ever laid it all out there (“Left it all on the field,” as they say in sports) -- and I know many of you have -- you know how it is both exhilarating and draining, how there’s always a cost. When I heard of his death I became profoundly sad and it hasn’t surprised me that so many others were equally saddened. Great artists have a way of becoming transparent to and sharing with their audiences their deep longing for something always just out reach. Robin’s performances, at least the early ones I got to witness, and also some of his best film roles, caused us to believe that, even while still out of reach, the things longed for were nearer than ever to our grasp, maybe even achievable but, oh my, at what a cost. The sadness I now feel is a kind of melancholy, putting me in touch with my own longing for what C. S. Lewis called the great “I know not what.”  When Robin performed, the “I know not what” seemed almost graspable. But, because it is, in reality (yes, what a concept), still always just out of reach, the quest for it can sometimes wear you out. I wish we had another twenty years of him, but that’s just selfish.

I’ll find my own way to stay renewed in the quest of my own longings, and wish I had been able to help him keep bouncing back. A lot of people are wishing that, even those of us who never knew him. But what a joy it was to live, if even vicariously, in the slipstream of his unbelievable energy.

Peter's Blog, Aug. 1, 2014
Peter Reinhart

Hi Again,

I'm about to head out with my wife SUsan for some long-awaited R&R, so will just post a quick one today and do a more substantial posting when I get back. I want to tell you then all about The Kneading Conference that I just attended in Skowhegan, Maine, a true fantasy camp for serious bread-heads, but still need to gather my photos and collect my thoughts. I learned new things about sourdough starters worth sharing, and had some pretty righteous wood-fired pizza and, of course, breads, breads, breads (including my own demo, featuring sprouted wheat flour). Still to come....

Also, wanted to suggest that you check out my friend Dede Wilson's terrific website, www.Bakepedia.com where she recently did a pizza posting featuring me, and also posted my "How to Re-Heat Cold Pizza" trick.  This should get you there but if it doesn't just go to the website and type my name in the search box: http://www.bakepedia.com/?s=peter+reinhart&submit.x=0&submit.y=0 . But there's a lot more there than pizza there -- a great resource for all aspects of baking. Enjoy!

More when II  get back....


This Zucchini Pepperoni Pizza
Brad English

You only thought you didn't have any pepperoni in the fridge!

They say pepperoni is the most popular pizza topping in the United States.  I'm sure that the vast majority of that comes on delivery pizzas and your local town or chain pizzerias.  When we think of artisan pizza, pepperoni isn't the first thing that comes to mind.  In fact, it's the opposite…you'll almost never see pepperoni on any artisan pizzas.  Instead you'll see a variety of salted cured pork delicacies on the menu such as seasoned Salumi like Calabrese or Finocchiona as well as sopressatas, prosciuttos or other gourmet cured items.

When you think about your favorite wood fired pizza, or artisan coal fired, or brick oven pizza, it's the dough and the charred bubbles on the crust and then the amazing "new" variety of gourmet toppings that will lay on top of the deliciously warm, soft and crusty dough.  When I am ordering at my family's favorite local pizzeria I will almost always choose salami instead of pepperoni.  Truth be told here, I do lose that battle with my kids once in a while.

When I do, I'll admit I secretly love my pepperoni pizza!  I particularly love when the edges get crispy and fold up giving a little crunch to the salty spicy bite you are enjoying.  I also love how the pepperoni juice becomes part of the sauce of the pizza. When I have a pepperoni pizza I always remember why it's the number one topping in America.  It's good stuff.

So, what do you do when you have a pepperoni craving and no pepperoni?  You improvise!  I made some home made pepperoni one time and then had the idea to use those spices and seasonings to make up pepperoni flavored broccoli stalks.  *Link to recipe here.  Why stop with just broccoli stalks?  They were great, but let's give it a whirl with some zucchini I have sitting here.  For this pepperoni pizza, I also thought about gourmet-ing it up using "artisan pizza" ingredients.  Check it out...


The Zucchini Pepperoni

- 1-2 Zucchinis thinly sliced

- Olive Oil *Approx. 1-2 Tablespoons

- Rice Wine Vinegar  *Approx. 1/2 Tablespoon

- Paprika *Approx. 1 1/2 tablespoons

- Garlic Powder *Approx 1/2 Tablespoon

- Ground Red Pepper Flakes *Approx 1/2 Tablespoon

- Ground Mustard Seed *Approx 1/2 Tablespoon

- A little Cayenne Pepper

- Ground Black Pepper

- Salt

*Note:  I have been making this by "eye".  These amounts are approximate.  Start with less and add more of each as needed per your taste.  Mix it all together and taste one.  Adjust and taste again until you have it where you like it.  I simplified this a little from my broccoli pepperoni where I used a few more ingredients.  *LINK

Slice the zucchini.  Add the olive oil and spices and mix.

Saute them in a pan, or in the oven for a few minutes to get them on their way.  They will finish on the pizza.  Set aside.


To keep things interesting and not vegetarian ("Not that there's anything wrong with that!"), I slipped in some Italian and Andouille Sausage I had in the fridge!


A little sautéed Sausage, Mushroom and Red Onion for good measure:

- Olive Oil

- Chopped Garlic

- Sausage broken into bits

- Sliced Mushrooms

- Chopped Red Onions

- Salt and Pepper to taste

Place in the oven, or in a pan and sauté until the sausage is just cooked through.  Leave a little room for it to continue to cook on your pizza.  The mushrooms and onions will also cook down, but have something left for the bake on the pizza.


This Zucchini Pepperoni Pizza:

- Your favorite Pizza Dough - It better be one of Peter's recipes!

- Olive Oil

- Peter's crushed tomato sauce

- Grated Mozzarella

- A little sliced fresh mozzarella

- Sauteed Pepperoni Zucchini

- Sauteed Sausage, Mushrooms and Onions

- Chopped Italian Parsley to finish



Spread your dough

Cover with the tomato sauce and grated mozz

Layer with a little of the S-M-O mixture and the pepperoni zucchini slices

Tear some of the fresh mozzarella to add a little creaminess to the cheese. *I love the way the hard mozzarella blends with the softer fresh mozzarella giving it two textures and a creamy milkiness you don't get with just grated mozzarella.

Into the oven.  In this case, I was using my Primavera WFO.  Writing this I can smell the wood and smoke as the pizza began to come to life in there!  In a few turns in the oven, about 90 seconds and a lift into the dome this pizza is ready to go.


Tasting notes:

The savory sausage and mushrooms went nicely with the juicy spicy zucchini pepperoni on this pie. There's also a subtle milkiness that the soft mozzarella brings through the cheese layers giving balance to the toppings and sauce.




Tomato Pie, Rocky Ford, and Me, Part 7 (conclusion)
Bob Radcliffe

Note from Peter:  This is the final installment of Bob's series, which has been a huge inspiration for many of us. Bob has shown that where there's a will (and serious fire) there's a way. Please note in the narrative below the link to Bob's video, which was professionally filmed by a local crew for television -- really terrific! And feel free to subscribe to his newsletter and stay connected with The Ben Franklin Society and The BreadWorks events. Here's a link, also, to a recent news story about Bob and his work:


Remember, you read about him here first!!  Thank you Bob for a great series. When you come up for air we'd love to hear more from you.

And now, the final chapter, full of useful tips for any of you with that same passion and fire within to pursue your own quest or, simply, make your own delicious tomato pies!



When I left Philadelphia 15 years ago to begin anew in Carolina, I created a “Philly-in-the-Woods” in my adopted home.  It has a log cabin, and overall I’ve tried to combine the genius of Ben Franklin with the practicality of a small farm. This Little Philly on my Lynch Creek Farm now serves as a get-away in the middle of Franklin County, a special gathering place to dine and entertain with your friends. Who’d of thought an idea like that would work? Me. I just believe you can sometimes will things to happen - with enough hard work and determination.


As part of creating my Little Philly, I wanted to develop a signature pizza reminiscent of Delorenzo’s Tomato Pie. A recent BreadWorks event at my farm attracted 65 folks and confirmed for me that each attendee, in their own way, experienced “Philly-in-the-Woods” – tasty food, coupled with live music and great friends – in a most unlikely Carolina venue.  We’re not Asheville, nor the Outer Banks, but just as special and exhilarating for those who came. Watch my video called BreadWorks Tomato Pies with Bob Radcliffe on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjLTiSLj02A.
It’s no coincidence this installment shares the same title as my monthly BreadWorks newsletter, and similarly conveys the notion that for every ending, there is a new beginning.

My starting point was understanding that to make a great Tomato Pie, I first had to master open-fire cooking.  There is no modern digital or even mechanical control over the temperature – just primal fire, heat and smoke – a near religious experience. Grilling comes to mind, but we’re talking about wood-fired, oven baking here!  Have you surmised the fate of my sacrificial pie? My first test dough is usually destined for ruin in an oven too hot, but serves as a necessary quality check before I begin food service. Another essential first step is to clean the oven floor of all debris first, initially from wood embers, and later from burned semolina flour. Always use a natural bristle brush, never a brass, metallic or plastic brush. That avoids introducing metal or plastic fragments into your Pie. Natural bristle brushes burn up over time and I discard them. Wrap the brush with a wet cloth and wipe the oven floor to remove any remaining grit.

Next, insert the Tomato Pie in the oven with a short-handled wooden peel. Once in the oven, I manage the pies with a long-handled metal peel, the flat-ended kind you may have seen in pizza restaurants. This approach works best for me. Also, clean the oven floor every four to six pies. You want to capture the smoky oven flavor, not the burned residue on the oven floor.

Clearly outside ovens are disadvantaged in cold and wet weather. My shed roof provides working cover for me in the rain, and I prepare pies inside my warm cabin when it is cold, then walk them outside to cook; otherwise the dough is unworkable. Even in the dead of winter, my oven still registers over 200 degrees F after cooling down overnight (a great time to roast or braise a sizeable cut of meat).

When I am cooking a large number of pies (40+ for a BreadWorks event), I partially cook the pies ahead of time, cover them with foil, and store them on metal serving trays in a rolling baking rack. When patrons begin to arrive and food service begins, I reheat the pies quickly, add the toppings, cut and serve continuously without undue delay - with the help of my aiuto pizzaiola or assistant pizza maker - April Hitchcock.

I prefer classic-style aluminum trays to serve my Tomato Pie - preferably ones generously decorated with cut marks – like those I remember from Delorenzo’s. Although I recall a short-bladed knife was used to cut the pies into irregular shapes, I prefer a rolling cutter. To each his own. There was nothing better than sopping-up the last drips of olive oil and bits of tomato from those metal trays with a piece of crust. The cardboard forms and boxes used today ruin this experience altogether. And yes, I always serve retro glass-bottled soda - never cans, plastic foam cups, paper plates or plastic cutlery – Philly style demands the real thing.

If you ever have leftovers, wrap the slices in foil and refrigerate. For the best taste, reheat in a hot cast-iron pan without oil. Just drop the slices onto the pan and heat until they gently bubble. The slices will taste like they just came out of the oven. I’ve heard it put this way: “It’s the iron pan – stupid!” By all means never use a microwave.

By the way, in May, my favorite TV show, “The Mind of a Chef,” received the James Beard Foundation’s Broadcast Award for Television on Location (www.jamesbeard.org/#home-awards ). I must sadly note, it beat out “A Chef’s Life” featuring Vivian Howard of the “Chef & the Farmer” (www.chefandthefarmer.com ) in Kinston, NC – my home-state TV food telecast.

Gosh, (drawing my Pizza Pie story to a close), it has certainly has been an incredible journey, as Peter envisioned when the Pizza Quest website was launched. I believe my story is one of many testaments to the “amazing things” revealed when artisanship flourishes. Thank you, Peter, for the opportunity to tell my story, and for understanding that “If at first you don’t succeed, try again.” Above all, it’s been fun!

Thanks to each of you for reading along and providing comments and suggestions. My odyssey continues - there’s the looming Potato Pie story, flavored cheeses, other toppings, seasoning-wood alternatives, and who knows what the mind of a chef will conjure-up – roasts, casseroles and even desserts.

I hope to have honored my promise not to bore you with my story. I have shared a lot of my techniques in the belief I could encourage you to make your first Tomato Pie. You will hear from me again, but until then, by all means cook with the mind of a chef - YOU CAN DO IT!  If you ever need help, know you can always contact me by email.

In the meantime, keep up with my latest adventures by subscribing to my monthly BreadWorks newsletter (www.benfranklinsocietync.org). Better yet, attend one of my upcoming BreadWorks events, or stop by to see Molly and me, and of course take a tour of downtown Rocky Ford.
Call ahead though, so I can remember to leave the light on. Happy trails!

P.S. A note of special thanks for the backstage help I have received during the publication of this series of articles and my BreadWorks events from: Marion Blackburn, Dennis and Jane Radcliffe, Brad English, Pat Washburn, Dave Debonzo and Gloria Urbano.

Peter's Blog, July 2014
Peter Reinhart

Hi Again,

It's been awhile; crazy summer, going way too fast.  Just a few quick items for you:

--First, we'll be running Bob Radcliffe's final installment of the Rocky Ford Tomato Pie series in a few days, so please do check back. It's been a very inspirational story, full of useful tips for anyone who loves pizza and also for those of us who still have a dream or two to pursue and need to know that it's never too late.

--Also, my friend Dede Wilson, who created an amazing website called Bakepedia.com, just ran two pieces about me and pizza. Here are the links and, after you check them out you might want to check out the rest of the site and revisit it often:


and:   http://www.bakepedia.com/tipsandtricks/reheating-pizza/

--Brad English is working on another crazy fun recipe and we should have that ready to post soon too. I don't know how he keeps coming up with these but he's a big, hungry guy who loves to feed people. Brad is the personification of what Pizza Quest is all about and his recipes are awesome!

--One final note: for any of you in the Skowhegan, Maine area, I'll be there next week from July 23-25th for the annual Kneading Conference (a fun and informative gathering for serious bread heads), followed by the Maine Bread Festival on Saturday the 26th at the Fair Grounds that is open to the public. Come over and say hi if you're there.

Thanks so much for your support and loyalty, and for continuing to visit us here. Lots more still to come....

Happy Mid-Summer!!!!








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Vision Statement

Pizza Quest is a site dedicated to the exploration of artisanship in all forms, wherever we find it, but especially through the literal and metaphorical image of pizza. As we share our own quest for the perfect pizza we invite all of you to join us and share your journeys too. We have discovered that you never know what engaging roads and side paths will reveal themselves on this quest, but we do know that there are many kindred spirits out there, passionate artisans, doing all sorts of amazing things. These are the stories we want to discover, and we invite you to jump on the proverbial bus and join us on this, our never ending pizza quest.

Peter's Books

American Pie Artisan Breads Every Day Bread Baker's Apprentice Brother Juniper's Bread Book Crust and Crumb Whole Grain Breads

… and other books by Peter Reinhart, available on Amazon.com