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Best rule for making superb pizza?: Don’t start


After I got Peter Reinhart’s amazing book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread, the first recipe I undertook was the recipe for sourdough bread. I swear that I can now make some of the best sourdough bread I’ve ever had.

I am a bit ashamed to say that the second recipe I undertook was the recipe for pizza crust. I swear that I can now make some of the best pizza I’ve ever had.

Compared with sourdough loaves, pizza crust is a snap. It’s so easy that it might as well be done right. Reinhart insists on starting the dough at least a day ahead. It rests in the refrigerator overnight. Stretching the dough on your fists, though it looks like a fancy trick, really isn’t. The dough will stretch, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. It may not come off your fists perfectly round, but that’s not a big deal, and within certain limits you can slide the crust into a rounder shape after you’ve put it on the baker’s peel and before you put on the toppings.

For a proper pizza crust, you’ve got to have a baking stone. If you bake on a baking stone, you’ve got to have a baker’s peel. That’s really all the apparatus you need other than a hot oven.

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