Instructionals
Welcome to the Pizza Quest Instructionals
Peter Reinhart

Welcome Everyone,

This is where we will be posting recipes and instructional videos by many of the guests featured on the Pizza Quest webisodes. It is also a place where you can comment and share your own thoughts or questions regarding the featured recipes, as well tips and tricks of your own. Considering the collective knowledge and wisdom possessed by the Pizza Quest community, this should be a very exciting and dynamic section. We'll keep adding new video pieces as we get them edited, so check back from time to time to see the latest. Our hope is to inspire you to create your own amazing pizzas (and not just pizza, as we'll be showing some other great dishes too), and to give you some new tips and tools to add to your culinary tool box. Mangia!!!

 
Joseph's Provolone Pizza
Peter Reinhart

As a special welcome to The Fire Within, our newest sponsor, here is a video we shot last October at an oven owners conference hosted by Joseph Pergolizzi, the owner and founder of The Fire Within.  We shot a number of these instructional videos at the end of the conference with various attendees, asking each of the oven owners what kind of pizza they wanted to make, and Joseph chose this one and a couple of others, including a killer clam pizza. In this video, though, we not only get to make a simple yet beautiful pizza with pesto, two kinds of cheese (with a special tribute to Provolone, which both of us love), and local cherry tomatoes, but also talk about the oven rigs themselves.

Note that the crust is a little puffy in this version, almost like a round Sicilian or focaccia style dough, but you can always make the crust as thin or thick as you like when you do it. The dough was so delicious (recipe in the PQ Instructional archives), and the combo of fresh tomatoes, pesto, and cheeses are so perfect that, when the cameras stopped running, we devoured this little pie in about 30 seconds.

For more details on these oven rigs, click through to The Fire Within website on our home page. Joseph and I are already talking about doing another conference in Boulder next autumn and would love to have you there.

 
A Couple Tomato Pies
Brad English

I have been drooling and laughing and hoping to meet Bob Radcliffe some day as we've been posting and reading the wonderful articles about his Tomato Pie journey here on Pizza Quest. Keep them coming Bob!  Don't stop when you've run out of things to say about your Tomato Pies -- let's see about getting you into some cheese making next!  Or, perhaps let us in on some of your other wood burning oven activities out there on your farm.  I can smell the wood smoke coming from your chimney now.

Bob has taken things to another level.  He is the type of true artisan we're all so lucky exists! He takes that unprecedented time and focus that it takes to move things beyond good and into the category of being great, or perhaps insane.  Of course, I use the term "insane" more as a form of praise for his drive rather than one to declare his true levels of sanity. Lucky for us, he is also sharing his passions.

My brother was just out for the weekend, and he hadn't ever had one of the pizzas from my new Primavera 60 Wood-Fired baby…I mean oven! We had plans to go out to dinner his last night here, but he kept looking at the oven sitting on the patio and asking questions about it or, as it turns out, hinting questions that would lead to the obvious change of our plans.  When I clued in, the plans changed.  I "decided" to make a couple of pizzas for him that night.  With Bob's stories running through my head, I thought I would play ball…take the plunge and pull a few of my own attempts at the Tomato Pie game.

 

I didn't do it by the "book", but the results were so good I will definitely continue to bring this pie into the line up when I make pizzas.  In a way, this could be the starting point for any pizza night. It's the simplest ingredients that often come together to define a dish.  For pizza the basics are: great dough, great tomatoes, great cheese and a few other ingredients as you wish.

 

A Couple Tomato Pies:

- Peter's Neo-Neopolitan Dough

- Canned San Marzano peeled tomatoes  (*I had a #10 can of the Bianco Dinapoli Peeled California Plum Tomatoes!)

- Mozzarella

- Basil

- Olive Oil

- Salt and Pepper to taste

- Chili Oil  (Just assume this is around if I ever forget it in a recipe.  It's really not part of the recipe, but at the same time, it is part of THE Recipe!)

So, I opened my Bianco Dinapoli can - after refrigerating it because Bob tells us that's what he's found works best for him.  Hello tomatoes!  I have to confess, sitting over the counter and sink as I cut the tomatoes I started drooling.  This was a lucky circumstance because the object of my desire was right there in front of me.  I picked up one of these "plums" and leaned over the sink, tilted my head and dropped the fruit/vegetable into my mouth like a servant feeding Ceasar.  I took most of it in my mouth and bit holding the top of the tomato.  It oozed a little out of my mouth -- since I was over the sink and I was feeling a little decadent I let it drip down my chin as I savored the tomato. Holy Moley --  so simply good it was amazing!

Back to cutting the tomatoes after I digressed for a taste.  Ok, I digressed two more times as I made the pizzas.  What?  It was a #10 can!  There were a lot of tomatoes.

 

The Tomato Pies:

You'll see two versions of my Tomato Pies in the photos.  The first was the basic:  Dough - Tomatoes - Cheese - Basil - Oven.  It was great!  As I went to make the next one I thought I could use a few more tomatoes.  I varied my construction: Dough - Cheese - Tomatoes - Cheese - Tomatoes - Basil.  A double double as it turns out is good for a pizza as it is for a fast food hamburger.  Come on!  You know those are good!  How about Animal Style?  The secret menu at my house is developing.

These were amazing pies.  Peter's Neo-Neopolitan Dough is always a great performer.  It's always light and puffy and allows the ingredients to shine.  They shined!  I'm sure I'm way off the mark of where Bob is when pulling pies out of his oven, but I'm here to tell you to jump on board Bob's Tomato Pie Express.  Delicious!

I'll be playing with this for awhile.

 

Enjoy the photos...

Tomato Pie #1:

 

Tomato Pie #2 - The Double Tomato Pie:

 
Five Cheese Pizza
Peter Reinhart

Scott Thorsen was my wing man at the Fire Within Conference in Boulder last October. Together, we mixed and shaped enough dough to crank out over 200 pizzas during the weekend, and we managed to save a few Country Doughs for this video demo. Scott, who has his own wood-fired rig in Sacramento, California, and a pizza and catering business that he runs out of the rig called Bella Familia, ably backed up all the presenters at the conference by doing much of the prep work and a lot of the heavy lifting. So, I wanted to give him a chance to get in front of the camera before he headed home and show us his pizzaiolo prowess. In this video

 
Pizza R-o-P
Brad English

I hope you had a chance to look at my Rack o' Pork recipe.  If not, I'll wait a second to continue here.

Go on, go back and read it.  I won't wait for you to make it, but I hope after reading that recipe and this pizza recipe that you'll be making plans to pick up a rack this weekend.

It isn't easy coming up with pizza recipes to make and write about.  Actually, it's probably easier to come up with the recipes to make and eat than to write about them.  Actually, as I am writing this, my mind wandered and I just stumbled on an idea for the next firing of my Primavera oven. That part is easy.  The ideas pop into my head.  I imagine the sum of the parts, the hot pizza, and that first taste of crusty cheesy goodness and know the pieces will come together nicely.  I then have to force myself to sit down and ramble on about my successful pie.  Fun stuff.

So, back to this baby.  I had found that recipe for the Roasted Rack of Pork on a website called Chef Dennis and thought that it would be an interesting meal and mostly a new challenge to cook in my wood burning oven. *Link to Recipe.  Pizzas are relatively easy.  Get the fire really freakin' hot and slide the pizza in and keep a close eye on it - turn it a couple of times over about 90-120 seconds and you're a genius.  It's not that simple to come out with a great pizza in the end, but falling off those rails of perfection starts when you make the dough and continue right up until you pull it out of the oven.  Pizza is simple, but because it's so simple I think that's what makes it so hard to perfect.  I've been at this a while and whenever I get one that rises above the others approaching "better than normal", I am amazed.  It's not that I did anything different - at least not anything I can really nail down as the moment that made the difference.  It's just a lot of little things that went right.

Anyway, I opened my fridge a couple of days after making the rack of pork and saw the left overs. The light bulb went off.  Why not?  Let's see how this stuff will groove on a pizza.  I've got dough. How about some herb oil and some of my ever-growing and ready garden cherry tomatoes for the sauce.  I've got some English White Cheddar and some soft "fresh" mozzarella and even some fresh basil on hand.  When making one pizza, there is almost always a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th on it's heels.

This first rack of pork pizza is going into the regular oven.  The next into the Primavera WFO.  Don't even begin to think I have too much time on my hands! It's just about taking advantage of small windows of time!

 

The Pizza:

- Peter's Neo-Neopalitan Dough

- Peter's Herb Oil

- Brad's Garden Cherry Tomatoes sliced in half

- Grated English White Cheddar

- Fresh Mozzarella

- Left over Rack-o-Pork with Montreal Seasoning - thinly sliced *Recipe Link

- Chopped fresh basil

- Salt and Pepper to taste

- Chili Oil if you so desire as a finishing touch

 

To the Pizza:

Spread your dough

Drizzle with a little herb oil and add the halved cherries.  If you haven't noticed this combination appears on a lot of my pizzas.  It's become a favorite for a couple of reasons.  First, I have these two tomato plants that won't stop producing these beautiful little tomatoes.  Second, they are fresh and as "local" as I can get - being only a few steps from my kitchen.  Last, but not least, the tomatoes are a great topping, but also become essentially a sauce with the herb oil as well.  Delicious!

 

Spread some grated cheddar and add a few pinches of the fresh mozzarella to blend with it, which also serves to smooth the cheddar out as it melts.  The cheddar is not as smooth when melts as grated mozzarella, so the creamier texture and milkiness of the fresh soft mozzarella is a nice addition to the cheese blend.

Lay the sliced pork around the pizza.

 

 

Into the oven!

 

I have my oven producing well browned pizzas in about 6 minutes.  I have a few pizza stones and a pizza steel sitting in there, which I think helps concentrate the heat around the pizza (along with the convection function of the oven).  This crust came out nice and even and almost starting to char in a few places.

 

Time to go...

 

Add a little Sea Salt and Pepper to taste and sprinkle on the chopped basil.

Drizzle some chili oil on the pizza and enjoy!

 

*As always send me your emails, comments on the site, and some pictures of your own pizzas!

 

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