Peter's Blog
Peter's Blog, News You Can Use!
Peter Reinhart

Hi Everyone,

There are a number of interesting events coming up during the next few months that I'd like to get on your radar. In June, our friend Molly O'Neill will be organizing  the First Annual (we hope) Minneapolis Bread Festival. If all comes together as we hope it will (these things never go totally smoothly, especially during the inaugural launch) I'll be out there along with Joseph Pergolizzi and his Fire Within oven rigs, and lots of serious wood-fired oven owners, bread bakers, and artisans of all types. We (PizzaQuest) hope to put a camera crew together as well, though it's too soon to tell. But mark your calendar for June 16 and 17 and we'll keep you updated when the event is confirmed and when we have a web link to it.

Closer to home and to now, we're just weeks away from the Seventh Annual Asheville Bread Festival on Saturday, April 2nd. I'll be doing a demo class on sprouted wheat flour--my favorite new product, one that I believe will totally revolutionize whole grain breads (for a taste of this flour in action, check out your local Whole Foods Market, where they have been recently using it to make delicious 100% whole grain breads unlike any other). In addition, two of the greatest bakers in America, Didier Rosada and Lionel Vatinet (yes, they're both French, but they live HERE now!) will be conducting workshops on traditional techniques for European-style hearth breads. Also, there will lots and lots of local bakers, from about a 150 mile radius, many of them small wood-fired artisans, who will be displaying and selling their products at Green Life Grocery during the morning hours, before we adjourn to the afternoon education sessions at A-B Tech, where they run a superb culinary and baking program. The Festival website is at: http://www.ashevillebreadfestival.com/

Most important, this year we will be featuring a tour of an exciting and important new project. Here's an excerpt from the project website, which you can access here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1139809766/carolina-ground-farmer-miller-baker-nc-grown-bread (if this doesn't get you there, go to a search engine and look under: Carolina Ground L3C -- there's a video on the site that explains it a lot better than I have done here).

Carolina Ground, L3C is a group of bakeries working to close the distance between the farmer, miller, and baker in the Carolinas through reviving the community mill. We will be producing fresh, stone ground whole grain and sifted flour-- a flour whose vibrance and quality will be recognizably local. For lovers of good bread, this means even better bread!! And for the farmer and baker, it means a tangible level of security and sustainability. Carolina Ground will enable long-term relationships to be established between farmers and bakers, giving us the means to build our knowledge base of local grains both in the field and in the bakery and in the process, improving our daily bread.
We need your help! We have received a grant for half the cost of our equipment, but it's a matching grant. We need to raise the other half or we lose the dough.
So please, help us make this happen!

What this extract doesn't say is that the mill was originally owned by master oven builder, Alan Scott, who bequeathed it to this project prior to his death. The mill has been brought, piece by piece over a number of years, from Australia, and is nearly ready to start grinding flour.  This is a landmark project and one that I hope will serve as a model for similar restoration mills across the country. Please check out the website for more details, and consider becoming a benefactor, which also makes you a partner in the future profits it generates.

One final note: Travel & Leisure Magazine just posted a story on its website about the top 25 pizza cities in America. If you follow this link, you'll see that they contacted us here at PizzaQuest.com before writing it for our insights, and quoted me a couple of times. Let us know what you think of their rankings -- it is sure to be a controversial topic!
http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/americas-best-cities-for-pizza

Okay, that's the news for now. Hope to see you in Asheville, Minneapolis, or one of those top 25 pizza cities. Things are buzzing and the Quest continues!!

Peter

PS If you read Tom Carrig's recent Guest Column on healthy pizza in our Guest Column section, you'll see that he struck a nerve with one of our favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver. Check it out.

 
Is Gluten-Free Here to Stay?
Peter Reinhart

I just returned from a project working on creating new gluten-free breads and I must say, gluten-free is the big buzz these days. A few years ago, when I tried to convince a large product company to produce gluten-free products they told me the market wasn't big enough. Then, a few years later, they called me back and said "Guess what--the market is there and we're ready to produce those gluten-free products." And they did!

My book publisher also told me that their gluten-free category is growing faster than any other

 
Top 25 New Pizzerias
Peter Reinhart

Hi Again,
If you are a regular here then it's probable that you all have your own list of favorite pizzerias. So here's a little fuel for the forno, a link to a recent Huffington Post posting of Food and Wine.com's Top 25 pizzerias. Bear in mind, this list represents what they call "New Guard" pizzerias, not the venerable oldie but goodies like Frank Pepe's or DiFara's. After you read about them, I hope you will then comment below on whether you agree or disagree with their choices.

Personally, I haven't been to them all, but I have been to many of them. A notable pattern in the list is the recognition of the use of local ingredients from sustainable farms, even by restaurants making classic or traditional pizzas. But really, isn't this the real hallmark of authentic Italian food? This is the the good news uber trend--we're getting back to how it's supposed to be done, not imitative (well sure, to some extent everything is imitative) but, as our guest columnists often point out, by doing it the right way not the copycat way. Looks like we've tipped over folks--the "pizza renaissance" is in full flower and it's nice to be along for the ride. Enjoy reading about these places and let us know who should have been on the list if you disagree. I'm sure there many more than these 25 who ought to be listed and I now have a few new ones to hunt down in this unrelenting, yet joyful journey we call our pizza quest.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/food-wine/food-and-wine-best-pizza-in-us_b_827096.html#s240077&title=New_York_City

 

 
Peter's Blog, February 22nd
Peter Reinhart

Hi Everyone,
We had a great demo today at Johnson & Wales University (JWU --JayWoo as we call it) by Chef Ben Roche, the Executive Pastry Chef at Moto Restaurant in Chicago. For those who don't know about Moto, it is one of the few molecular gastronomy restaurants in the United States, featuring a 20 course tasting menu (also a 10 course version for the less adventurous) consisting of wildly imaginative small courses that add up to a big WOW of a night (3 to 4 hours are suggested to properly enjoy the meal). Chef Ben gets to create the desserts, many made with liquid nitrogen or the use of a laser or other cool tools that have been adapted for cooking. He recently obtained a Pacojet, which is one of the most beloved of the new generation of cooking toys, able to turn frozen ingredients instantly into the smoothest, best ice creams and sorbets imaginable. Needless to say, Ben has a sweet, fun, but demanding job in which he must always be thinking outside the box and continually coming up with new, mind boggling dessert concepts. For our students, he

 
Peter's Blog, February 15th
Peter Reinhart

 

This past week has seen an historic change in the world. Aside from all the newsworthy drama related to the transfer of power and revolution in Egypt, a country I visited just three months ago, one thought kept coming to my mind about it: this is the first time in, perhaps, 7,000 years that the people of Egypt have not had a "Pharaoh" ruling them. Maybe the word Pharaoh hasn't always been used, but that's just a placeholder for King, Caesar, Emperor, Sultan, or Dictator. This isn't just a change in leadership, but a change in how leadership will now be done (assuming that the military honors its promise to hold elections soon and turn over the power--a big if, as we know). We've had two hundred years of elected leadership in the USA and that seems like along time; imagine changing to that kind of system after 7,000 years of one variation or another of only Royal, Imperial leadership. It's earth shattering!

I bring this up not because I want to write a political commentary; this is, after all, Pizza Quest, not CNN or Fox News or even The Huffington Post. But Egypt is also the civilization that gets credit

 
Peter's Blog, February 8th
Peter Reinhart

 

We’ve received a nice thread of comments on Michael Hanson’s Guest Column, To Be a Sacred Baker, so I think he may have touched a nerve. One thing I realized after reading the article is that we’ve been using the word “artisan” very liberally here at Pizza Quest to help define what our website is all about, which we characterize as, “A celebration of artisans and artisanship.” Frankly, though, I am concerned that the word artisan has lost some of its ooomph or mojo in the food community, through overuse and clever marketing by supermarkets and advertisers (“Try our new artisan bread…”). So, when Michael coined a new identity for himself, sacred baker, I immediately liked it because it’s too new to be diluted by the marketplace and, because it is so new, it causes us to stop and think and maybe to even ask, “What does he mean by that?”

Michael described himself in his article as someone who transitioned beyond artisan baking into what he now calls sacred baking because that is what he felt called to do with his life, to stop making compromises, and that the concept of artisan no longer took him to that deeper level of connecting with his sense of personal mission. I remember a number of years ago when I was

 

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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

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