Thanks to the research efforts of DTV viewer Patricia Dorazio from New York, we’ve found a store that sells that little curved vinaigrette whisk I frequently use on the show. I purchased this whisk years ago at a home outlet store and have not seen one since. It is the kitchen tool most people inquire about. The web address for this store is www.fantes.com. Thank you Patricia!
New Pizza Tips
Every so often a viewer sends along some tips that I think may be of interest to my readers. Here is a great letter full of ideas and tips that may help all you pizza lovers get the desired results for your favorite commercial style pizza.
I just watched your Pizza Extravaganza show, it was great. I have enjoyed all the tips you have given me, I am now returning the favor.
To help a pizza slide off a peel onto a pizza stone, you can use cornmeal. By spreading a small amount of cornmeal on your peel before you put on your pizza dough, the cornmeal creates a barrier so the raw dough will not stick to the peel. Also use small jerky movements to work the pizza off the peel.
Of course, the cornmeal will change the favor of the crust, some people really love the cornmeal and some truly hate it. If all else fails, you can cook a pizza in a pizza pan or a cookie sheet on top of a
pizza stone. In my opinion, if you cook a pizza directly on a pizza stone, it is easier to burn the bottom, that’s all.
The reason why people throw the raw dough into the air is to make the center of the crust thinner and the edge thicker. Also, if you know how to do it, it is faster then rolling out the dough. Personally I use a rolling pin to roll out my dough and if I want to make a thicker crust, I fold over the edge of the dough. (pick up the edge of the raw dough and press down).
Another trick is to use a fork to poke holes in the raw pizza dough around the center. This will prevent the dough from rising too much as the pizza cooks. Just like a pie crust. This is called “docking.” Normally you don’t need to dock the dough because the weight of the toppings hold down the dough. You would dock the dough if you make a pizza with less sauce and toppings.
To make commercial style thick crust pizza use a 15 inch pan with 3 ounces of vegetable oil spread over the bottom of the pan.
You roll out the dough into a circle and then place your raw dough in your pizza pan. Allow it to rise until the dough looks like a small white puffy mattress that fills the pan. It can take about an hour in a 110 degree warmer. The trick is to cook the pizza with high heat. This heats the oil and basically deep fries the dough. I would recommend using a pizza stone at about 450 plus degree oven.
Pizza Hut’s thin crust is basically flour, water and a pinch of baking powder. Water should be mixed with flour until the mix barely comes together. The trick is to put the uncooked dough in a plastic container for a few hours to allow the flour to absorb the water. After sitting, roll out just like pie crust. (I would recommend docking this dough to keep it thin and crunchy.)
Commercial ovens have an adjustable top temperature and bottom temperature, that way you can control how cooked the pizza is. Since most home ovens do not work that way, that is why people use pizza stones, to change their ovens into a two temperature zone oven.
I hope you enjoy my tips as much as I have enjoyed yours.
Thanks so much for writing; I always appreciate tips from viewers. It sounds as though you either really like pizza or you work with it…or perhaps both.
I learned not to roll out pizza dough in Italy ages ago (I hate to admit it but it has been awhile)…so I still always hang and stretch my dough.
Pizza is generally thinner and well done in Italy, so the pan method doesn’t work as well as the direct tile or stone surface. While many use the stone as a vehicle for the pan, I really do like a nicely seasoned stone as my direct baking surface. The stone should never be washed. If there is any food stuck on the stone, simply scrape it off.
Americans are usually amazed at how different pizza (and most other Italian foods) are in Italy versus here in the states, sometimes the variations are like night and day, but of course, pizza and other foods can vary greatly from region to region in Italy as well. Although my methods may seem unconventional when compared to commercial, they do yield a result that is extremely close to traditional Tuscan or Neapolitan Italian pizza.
Thank you for your letter, I think you offer a great deal of good information and useful tips. And pizza is, after all, one of the most popular foods in the country. It certainly is one of mine – any style.
Thanks again for writing and feel free to stop by anytime.