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Five Cheese Pizza


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 he’ll be making a beautiful five-cheese pizza using fresh mozzarella, crumbled gorgonzola, aged grana, creamy fontina, and super creamy crescenza (aka strachhino), with just a dash of fresh rosemary –simple and delicious!

We were fortunate during the conference to have a full array of Bel Gioioso Italian cheeses to work with. In the last few years, Bel Gioioso has emerged nationwide as a true leader in domestically produced Italian-style cheeses. We’ve already seen their burrata cheese in action in a video with Kelly Whitaker, as well as their fresh mozzarella and ricotta in other videos. What a pleasure it’s been to use their whole family of cheeses in these instructionals and, more importantly, to now be able to obtain some of the more difficult to find Italian cheeses without having to import them. When I wrote American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza ten years ago, I had to create alternatives to stracchino for the readers (such as blending mozzarella and mascarpone) because true stracchino just didn’t exist in an American version and the imported brands didn’t hold up well during travel. I was thrilled when I heard that Bel Gioioso was now making their own version, and especially excited because it holds up so well in the container. It spreads like cream cheese but is way way better.

Of course, fontina is well up the ladder of my favorite cheeses, and I’ve been finding myself increasing the use of it on my pizzas, while decreasing the amount of low moisture mozzarella (standard pizza cheese), every chance I get. It melts every bit as good as mozzarella but has a nice acidic edge to it and greater depth of flavor.

In other words, this is my way of saying thank you to Bel Gioioso for their generosity and also for their great cheeses. Over the next few months we’ll be featuring more of their cheeses in a number of other videos as well.

But for now, watch how easy Scott makes it look, and don’t miss the “money shot,” when his cheesy, bubbly pizza comes out of the oven and Scott and I dive into our slices. Mangia!!

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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
The Bread Bakers Apprentice
Brother Junipers Bread Book
Crust and Crumb
Whole Grain Breads

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