My Saturday night. Ms. J and I watched Elf—a very funny tearjerker, with great roles for elders Bob Newhart as Papa Elf and Ed Asner as Santa—with our daughter. We ate very fine stupid good homemade pizza. No bragging intended, but this was really, really good pizza. And the tricks?
First, I was inspired by Three Champagne Pizza Recipes at BakingSteel.com. I’m not a bubbles aficionado, whether the bubbles are in soda, beer, or wine, but my yeast likes beer and champagne. A lot. And happy yeast makes for very nice bread stuff. (I’m almost ready to simply substitute beer or sparkling wine for water in any sturdy bread dough. Not so much for brioche or anything else which is delicate.)
The champagne made the dough a touch softer than it gets with water, or even beer. It’s also faintly sweeter—use less sugar—but not sweet enough to affect overall taste.
And the second trick, of course, is the Baking Steel. Without it I don’t think I’d do another pizza post. With it? Well here they are:
P.S. I’ve been at this pizza gig for just shy of 40 years. Really! We all want to improve, but I expect improvements to be incremental/marginal over time. Not so much of late, and I do truly believe it’s a “tools” issue. So, if you’re a pizza maker or a bread baker, you really need to consider the Baking Steel. I see imitators, finally—a slab of steel is not rocket science—but I’d go with the real deal. $75.00 gets you the quarter-incher, it’s been more than adequate for me, and moving it in and out of the oven will challenge smaller people.