Written Recipes
"Upside Down" Margherita Pizza
Brad English

When I make pizza, it's always an event.  Baking in a home oven, I can't make an extra large pizza for the family, or friends and call it a day.  I'm limited by not having one of those large pizza ovens!  Frankly, I don't think I'd like to do that anyway.  Half of the fun in making pizza is trying a few different recipes, or letting the kids or guests build their own.


I usually make enough dough and toppings to have enough to ensure there will be left-overs.  I think this may be one of the main things I learned in college - cold, next-day pizza is an important part of life.  It's not as good as when you first have it fresh out of the oven, but it somehow isn't far behind. 

Another ritual that I have developed during my pizza making sessions is to come up with a few recipes and buy the ingredients for those, but leave a pizza or two to chance, or try something new and spontaneous.  I usually leave these pizzas till the end, to use up the ingredients, and to try different combinations.  This is how I came to play with Peter's Herbed Olive Oil and Cheese combination, creating a variety of great cheese breads, and "white" pizzas (no sauce). 

For this recent pizza session, I wanted to try to recreate one of Kelly Whitaker's pizzas that he created for us using Bel Gioioso's Fontina Cheese. 

 
A Wood-Fired Gas Grill
Brad English

This is Part II of my recipe pictorial of Jay Buonchristiani's Lamb with Fennel Sausage and Mushroom Pizza recipe. 

You saw the making of the the first pizza in the original pictorial.  I continued on, making 2 more pizzas since you can never just make one pizza anyway, right?!  But, the reason I split this pictorial up was because I sort of stumbled on something interesting.  I have had great results with the Forno Bravo pizza stone in my convection oven (which I posted about previously).  I also use a second stone on the top shelf, which helps retain the heat from above and can even be used to cook a second pizza as you alternate between stones, because the pizzas actually suck the heat out of them as you place a cold one in.  I usually tend to cook my pizzas between 8-10 minutes in the oven.  I'm very happy with this set up and have gotten great results that continue to get better.  Even still, it is nothing like the pizzas coming out of a super hot wood fired oven, as we all know. 

I was thinking about the earthiness of this pizza recipe - covered in lamb sausage with added garlic and fresh fennel and sauteed mushrooms, or Mushies, as Jay calls them.  I also thought I would try this on Peter's Country Dough, which I thought would really go well with the cheesey/earthiness of this recipe.

 
The Buonchristiani Lamb Fennel-Sausage and Mushroom Pizza
Brad English

Lamb Fennel-Sausage and Mushroom Pizza paired with a wonderful BUONCHRISTIANI 2006 Artistico Syrah!

Not long after we started the website for Pizza Quest, we received an email from a pizza enthusiast named Jay Buonchristiani who happens to be one of 4 brothers who own a Napa Winery of the same name (http://www.buonwine.com/).  He grew up in Napa and has fond memories of cooking large meals and making wine in the garage with his father.  He continued to build on his love of food while working as a waiter in many of Napa's premiere restaurants as he got older.  You can all guess the rest of "the dream" that he now lives!  After college he returned to Napa to embark on a successful wine career.  But, to make matters worse - at least for the rest of us not living "the dream" -- Jay also has a wood burning oven on his property.  I should stop here.  We don't like Jay very much do we? 

Of course I am kidding!  Without his love of food and wine, I wouldn't be sharing this amazing

 
The Stretch and Fold Method
Peter Reinhart

In some of the recipes that we've posted I refer to stretching and folding the dough, so I want to more fully explain it here, as I will continue to provide recipes that utilize this technique. The stretch and fold method (S&F from here on), is a remarkable way to maximize gluten development in a dough with minimum mixing time. It is sometimes referred to as "intermittent kneading" and also by the term "folding." All of these refer to a similar method, though the time intervals may vary from recipe to recipe. In short, it means to intermittently fold the dough over onto itself during the fermentation stage. What this accomplishes is to

 
NY Style Pizza Dough
Peter Reinhart

As we add to our continuing collection of fundamental pizza pantry recipes, I thought it would be important to include one for a New York style pizza dough similar to the ones you get at the many Ray's pizzerias (none of which seem to be related to each other--Famous Ray's, Original Ray's, Ray Ray's, Not Ray's--they just keep rolling out), as well as at so many college and family pizzerias across the country.  This dough makes a thicker crust than the Neo-Neapolitan dough -- such as found at Lombardi's, Totonno's, or Frank Pepe's and Sally's -- and is stronger and less sticky, so it can be stretched and tossed quite easily. If you can get high-gluten flour, such as King Arthur's Sir Lancelot, that's the ideal choice. If not, then use unbleached bread flour. Weights are always more

 

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