Specialty flour is not a huge factor in this process. It's like when you see people arguing about the relative merits of 2 different tensions pulls on $1,000 tennis rackets, meanwhile they go out and miss the ball by 8 feet. Forget it. Maybe if you are making pies at the 99.8th percentile and you want to move to the 99.9th, then you should be worrying about this. Otherwise, let it go. Work on the BIG 3 factors: high heat, a good sourdough starter and technique (mixing and fermenting). This is where you will move from the 50th percentile to the 99th.
I'm constantly baffled by people who have $1500 bicycles but are... well, slow. I think in some cases, having expensive tools actually will make you WORSE. Are you going to train harder if you slip through 5 seconds ahead of your peer, or 5 seconds behind?
Don't buy cheap crap. Know how your tools work. But buying super-pro tools when you're intermediate is stupid.
Incidentally if you use a point and shoot, about half an hour of reading here (http://www.geofflawrence.com/photography_tutorials.htm) will do much more for your shots than an SLR would.
One day I will buy an SLR, but I'm not good enough (IMHO) nor do I have a particular preference for certain types of shot that justify it.
I've been using Digital cameras since I first used an old Nikon that took floppy disks (the first camera I bought was a Kodak DC215 that could play MAME roms) and the Panasonic is the best I've had.
0) crank your oven up as much as possible, and let it preheat for at least 20 minutes.
1) dough is super important - a slow rise in the fridge > 1 1/2 hour rise > 1 hour rise > store-bought dough.
2) Tomatoes in a can are always better than fresh tomatoes because they have already been cooked (trust me).
3) use the best mozzarella you can find, preferably mozzarella di bufala (made from water buffalo milk)
4) for the dough, use King Arthur Flour and bottled water - it makes a noticeable difference.
Completely true, but not just because they've been cooked: tomatoes in a can were usually picked ripe, so they actually taste like, you know, tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes from a grocery, even "vine ripened" ones, aren't truly ripe and will almost always be lacking in flavor.
I make my own salsa, and I typically use a mix of fresh and canned (diced) tomatoes: the fresh ones for the proper texture, the canned ones for flavor. It's not ideal, but it's better than either alone. The ideal solution would be to grow my own, but I inherited my mother's black thumb.
Lesson learned? As far as pizza goes, use whatever water you want. (...)
Clearly, the small differences that arise naturally in the course of
making a good pizza by hand far outweigh the minor differences that
water could make.
Letting dough sit overnight works wonderfully and people have been doing it with pizza dough as well: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/19/dining/19pizza.html
I tried it for pizza. It worked mostly fine, with one issue worth mentioning: the crust becomes too hard for pizza. I fixed that by reducing the baking time and the amount of water. Later on I bought Jim Lahey's book (the guy that created the no knead method) and hiss pizza dough recipe deviates from the no knead method in the same direction.
edit: oh wow I just got it, lol... I typed it in the right order and not using z^2 notation by coincidence.
(I am mildly disappointed that I cannot use <sup>2</sup> or something of the like. Are HN comments pto?)
Technique 1 involves using barbecue grill turned up high, oiling the grill rack, and grilling the pizza. Technique 2 involves using a wire cooling rack, a pair of pliers to hold it, and a gas stovetop, to toast or char the bottom of the dough.
My personal technique is to put a pizza stone in the bottom of the oven, turn it all the way up, and cook like that. 550F on a hot stone is not as hot as some people manage, but it will still cook a pizza in 4 minutes and produce a very nice char on the bottom, plus it's unlikely to set the house on fire. It's a dangerous enterprise, however, as any pizza mismanagement will set off your smoke alarms. My pizzas come out looking very much like Mr. Varasano's examples. Varasano's talk about mixing, resting, and kneading is very accurate and correct - it's technique, not ingredients, which produces good pizza dough. For home ovens at 550F, you want something less wet than Varasano's pictures, but still "wet" and slack compared to many doughs that you would normally work with.
I've tried Pizza Hacker's pizzas a couple of times. They're quite good; but just the fact that there you are, on a sidewalk, getting freshly-made pizza out of a Weber-grill-oven, makes it all worthwhile.
Plus he has "hacker" in his name, which must count for something. ;-)
Also, I never understood why most home ovens today have some complex timers, that not only can turn the oven off or ring some bell (which both might be useful), but also turn the oven on at predetermined time (what is that good for?).
If you expect that the oven will have a lot of smoke from crud being burned off at high temp, keeping the oven locked during that period probably seems like a safety feature.
As for turning the oven on at a specified time: if you want to cook something on low heat for 6 hours, there's no way to make that dish on a workday for most people without such an oven. But with that feature, you can just time it to be done an hour after you expect to be home, and all is well.
Too bad he's only known for his pizza (and his rubix cube). He is also a very good hacker and developed a pretty snazzy C++ application framework.
To me, an Australian, a pizza and a pie are completely different things. The idea of calling a pizza a pie is ludicrous, and vice versa. Anyone care to explain?
For the story of how pizza was introduced in the US: http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/2006/2/...
For "deep dish" pizzas especially they are even baked in a similar pan.
C'mon, it's not THAT much of a stretch.
How did it get in there? Nobody knows. Many tried, but none could discover the secret. Defeated, the Italians put the filling on top of the bread, and so invented pizza.
According to my dad, at least.
My dad's an electrical engineer; my mom busted a gut when I showed this to her :) Still one of my favorite recipe sites. And I love those recipe grids.
For the dough...
Instead of room temp water use cold water (even ice cold water). For the second rise, leave it in the fridge overnight, the idea is to let it rise slowly for a long period of time.
After 2 minutes of pizza being in the oven. Spray with water, I just use the garden water spray. You want mist rather than a pool of water. This will reduce the temp a little, but will give the crust, without having to burn the pizza.
Speaking from personal experience however, it is possible to make a good pizza with a standard oven with some experimentation.
Do a ctrl-f for, "I've got my oven cranked up to over 800 F," and read from there.
He was using a standard oven that he'd modified to cook using the cleaning cycle.
Seriously though, if you burn your house down pulling that kind of stunt I really doubt your insurance company will be amused. Over-clocking PCs is one thing, but ovens?
The difference is he modifies it so he can open the door when it's doing that. It's not a fire hazard, it's a burn hazard (well obviously there is a fire hazard, but stuff burns at 500 too).
Because if it would happen it would happen at 500 degree too.
Edit: I think it might be more common in electric ovens at a lower price point(?)
850° F = 454° C
800° F = 426° C
500° F = 260° C
"850F in celsius"
"850 degrees Fahrenheit = 454.444444 degrees Celsius"
This works well, and doesn't require oven hacking.
It is a bit intimidating though. I think I will leave this for the pros.
I am a amateur cooker & baker. And you just can't imagine how many times I failed in so many disastrous ways.
But getting a perfect bread or pizza right, once in a while, and having your wife saying "tonight, you really deserve good sex!" is just priceless.
FWIW "Tom's subjective best pizza place in the world" is a little restaurant in a back street in Urbino, Italy. Quite similar to this pizza, but with less sauce (mostly consisting of sundried tomato), a little garlic, mozzarella, pancetta and rocket. Cooked extremely fast in a brick oven and served drizzled with chilli flavoured olive oil.
It's a much less "wet" pizza than I've seen eaten in the US (and even the rest of Italy); the dough is quite moist to make up for it :)
FWIW, best pizza I've ever had was at Apizza Scholl's in Portland, OR. Second best was my own.
I can't find many videos online, only the results of the various experiments. For example chips (as in Fish & Chips): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCB9jIpNGzY
also, what's up with people calling a flat piece of bread with half a diced tomato, 5 slices of cheese, and a sprig of basil to make it look "pretty", pizza? that's not "pizza", that's a dressed up keema naan at best.
where's the meat? whole wheat crust? olives? bacon? onions? ham? sausage? shrimp? artichoke hearts? red/black beans? bell peppers?
May I ask where you live? In some US states it is tough to find pizza good enough to make you see why this type of pizza can be so amazing. If my first hamburger had been ordered in England, I'm pretty sure I'd think hamburgers were terrible and pointless.