With just a little effort, the home cook can really up their pizza game. Ten years ago, I moved to the suburbs and immediately realized all the pizza was mediocre at best and if I wanted to once again have pizza anywhere near as good as a place in the city (even a city like Boston with an Ok but not stellar pizza rep) I was going to have to make it myself.
Since then, I’ve tried many different flours, recipes, toppings, and dough. Top it with whatever you want, what will really elevate a pizza is a great dough.
Here’s my list of my favorite pizza types and pizza dough for any occasion.
My obsession with a simple, clean and great tasting sauce for my pizzas has nothing to do with being a purist or overly frugal. I didn’t learn the history of Neopolitan sauces until later. The frugality definitely appealed to me but wasn’t the primary reason either.
The reason I started exclusively making my own simple, better sauce in 2 minutes or less was that one day I became stuck in the local food store aisle desperately searching for a jarred or canned sauce that didn’t contain corn syrup, weird additives, or tongue-twisting chemicals that seemed better left outside the body.
As much as I love Ken Forkish’s Flour Water Salt Yeast for making bread, I just never latched onto his pizza book in quite the same way. Maybe it was because I bought them so close together. Or maybe the detailed instructions felt like too much for a Friday night dinner (They really aren’t). It didn’t make sense, but either way, the book made its way to the basement shelves and stayed there.
This week, I’m giving it another shot with his 48-72 hour dough. So far, so good. The process is very similar so far to FWSY. The dough came together quickly without all the folding, just a countertop rise, shaping and into the fridge. Why did I think this was complicated?
Some days the pizza craving comes on strong and fast. Too fast to think ahead and have dough prepped. Too strong to put off another day. You need the pizza and you need it tonight. If you find yourself suffering from pizza fever, for the love of god, don’t settle for mediocre (or worse) takeout pizza. Making pizza at home isn’t a big undertaking and the results (maybe with a little practice, but not much) are far, far superior to your average suburban pizza shop.
In the interest of full disclosure, I made poop pretzels last week. I am not joking, they bore a very strong resemblance to Mr. Hankey. I’m not totally sure what went wrong. Everything was going well right up until the end when I pulled the poop sticks out of the oven. I suspect my second proofing after shaping wasn’t quite long enough.
The silver lining? They were for Cecilia’s school winter carnival so the fact that my proposed pretzel braids came out looking like poop emojis might have actually made them more attractive to first and second graders. The other silver lining? I was planning on making them again for the church bake sale this past week. I’m not sure poop would go over so well there…..
I wasn’t really looking for a homemade dog biscuit recipe, I’ve got more than enough treats on my to-bake list already, but one came looking for me anyway and it proved to be a great father/daughter project for Ally, my dog lover. And judging by Dash’s reaction, it worked out alright for him, too.
I tried homemade dog biscuits with our first dog, Lola, twice when I was feeling particularly paternal (this was before the kiddos arrived making that a permanent feeling). I remember each time distinctly because I was in no rush to repeat the recipe. The first one involved lots of raw meat that had to be formed and cooked. The second attempt involved a smell so ghastly that it lingered in the house for days. It should be noted in neither episode did my discomfort stop Lola from snarfing down all the treats.
I can’t remember what made me think about butter first. It might have been the recent Bitten post, or the copious amounts of bread I’ve been baking or thoughts of making my own cheese. I’m pretty sure it was one of those. Turns out fixing the housing crises might be simpler. Making anything but the soft cheeses is a real pain and involves more patience and equipment than I currently can handle. Plus, Chelle barely tolerates the jars of sourdough starter fermenting in the fridge and wasn’t about to embrace active mounds of mold in the basement. Luckily, it turns out butter is a lot, lot simpler.