Getting closer to perfect pizza

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Everyone’s idea of “perfect pizza” is slightly different.  (Go over to slice.seriouseats.com to see the huge variety of American pizza styles.)  Personally, I like lightly topped, neo-Neapolitan style or true Neapolitan pizzas best, and I’ve spent years trying to make my ideal pie at home.  (See just a few of my previous attempts involving sheet steel, toaster ovens, the Big Green Egg,and  the broiler.  I just realized I probably have more posts about pizza than any other topic.
This week’s pizza attempt used a straightforward, 65% hydration, bread-flour dough (see a recipe over at Forno Bravo’s website).  I baked it in my Big Green Egg, which was loaded full of fresh charcoal and heated for an hour before I started cooking.  The pies were cooked on a pizza stone, balanced atop two firebricks placed on the Egg’s platesetter (a ceramic heat diffuser/shield).  All of that ceramic thermal mass takes quite a bit of time to reach maximum temperature, hence the long preheat.

The cooking setup yielded great results–browned, bubbly tops and edges, with evenly browned bottoms.  Now, it didn’t merit as perfection, as I didn’t achieve the speckled, leopardy charred spots of a true Neapolitan pizza.  Still, it was good. Really, really good, as in “I would pay money for this” good.  The goodness was largely due to lightly applied, quality toppings:  Creminelli calabrese dry cured, thinly sliced sausage, a tiny bit of marinara, whole milk mozzarella, capers, and a sprinkle of grated pecorino; another pie topped with portobello mushrooms, whole-milk ricotta, and dried italian herbs; and a final pizza of coppa, marinara, and mushrooms.

A bonus to cooked-on-the-grill pizza:  no heat generated in the kitchen….oh so important in mid-July!

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4 thoughts on “Getting closer to perfect pizza

  1. YUM! Where do you get the sausage and the fresh mozzarella? Did you make the marinara? THanks for sharing your pizza making adventures with us.

    • The mozzarella was not technically fresh: it was whole-milk Belgioso mozz pearls, from none other than WalMart. The calabrese & coppa came from St. James Cheese Company, though Whole Foods & Martin’s Wine Cellar also sell Creminelli, Fra Mani, and Molinari dry cured stuff. I did not make the marinara–I use Newman’s Own marinara, straight out of the jar. Only because I didn’t have crushed tomatoes on hand; ordinarily I prefer plain, crushed tomatoes on my ‘zas.

  2. Amazing. I’ll check out all of those places for those items. Except the St. James Cheese Company. I’m not allowed to go in there any more. I make a cheese-buying spectacle of myself the second I’m in front of the display counter.

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