pizza!

There were two reasons that our pizza last night was so satisfying.

  1. the cheese
  2. our new pastry brush

It has been ages since we’ve made pizza. And we love pizza. We love the thin crust we make (pizza dough recipe) and how satisfying it is to build it on the peel and whoosh it onto the hot stone in the oven. And yesterday, we suddenly thought… pizza! Why haven’t we made pizza for so long??

And the answer came to us. It was the mozzarella cheese we had been buying. We had been getting “noname” mozzarella cheese for years. For years, it was really good – melted correctly, tasted right. And suddenly, some bozo in management decided to go with a different supplier. And the “noname” mozzarella was inferior. It took us ages to realize that it was the cheese that was causing us problems with our pizza too. We changed the dough. We changed the order of the toppings. We changed the oven temperature. We moved the rack to a different place in the oven. All to no avail. Because it was the cheese that was at fault. The new “noname” mozzarella was more like cheddar than mozzarella. It didn’t stretch when it melted. It just sat and bubbled in a hot puddle.

So, at long last, we finally realized that it’s okay to try a new brand. “Tre Stelle” 25% butterfat mozzarella was what we used on the pizza last night. I made the dough yesterday at about noon and left it on the counter to rise. It’s cool in the kitchen these days (about 15C) so it takes a while for dough to get going. But all was well and it was ready to be shaped half an hour before we wanted to bake it. In fact, it was PERFECT – not too slack but still nicely pliable. T actually spun it in the air and then rolled it out to finish. He laid it on the cornmeal covered peel and spooned on a bit of tomato sauce and poured a little olive oil. In the past we have used the back of a spoon to spread the sauce. But last night was the night for new things.

Not long ago, my sister gave us a Danesco silicone pastry brush. What a great great thing!! I’ve used it to brush water or melted butter onto shaped bread dough but we hadn’t yet tried it with something really saucy. We used it to spread the pizza sauce on the dough. Well, it’s fantastic. The sauce can be spread ultrathin(ly) without damaging the dough below. And the clean up!! Zowie! No sauce lurking at the base of the bristles. I love it!! Every kitchen needs one. (We can’t wait for barbecue season. It’s going to be terrific for spreading barbecue sauce!)

And the final result? It was exactly what we wanted!! Cheese was nice and stretchy. Crust was thin and light, crispy on the bottom. Toppings were juuuuuuust right.

And what toppings, you ask? Lightly spiced tomato sauce, a little olive oil, dried crushed basil and oregano leaves, sauteed mushrooms and ham, sliced (thin thin thin!) onion, capers, chilli flakes. Next time we’ll add a bit of spinach or maybe artichoke hearts.

This entry was posted in baking, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, food & drink, main course on by .

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  • I need to get a silicone pastry brush immediately. If I pick one more bristle out of whatever I’m making, I’m just going to scream.

    The last time we made posh pizzas, we used parma ham and roasted peppers- awesome. I like artichoke hearts, too!

  • ejm

    You do, Moira! I had no idea how great it was going to be when I first saw it. And it really doesn’t look like it’s going to be able to hold anything. But it’s really the best pastry brush I’ve ever had. It had gotten to the point that I was refusing to use pastry brushes.

    Yup, roasted peppers on pizza is great. Parma ham? Is that smoked or is it more like prosciutto and salt-cured?

  • Barbara

    Drool.

    I already had reached the screaming point with picking bristles out of food, and I was never completely confident that I’d got all the soap out of the old kind. I was thrilled to see they’d developed a silicone one.

    I’ve never made pizza dough, but your description … drool some more … makes me NEED some homemade pizza.

  • ejm

    Go for it Barbara! You won’t believe how much better your pizza is than storebought pizzas. Pizza dough is dead easy to make too.