Home > Pizza > …But How Good Was Your Last Pizza?

…But How Good Was Your Last Pizza?

As I’ve written about before, I’ve been spending time training in an awesome Neapolitan pizzeria in Brooklyn. Once a week I show up there after work to help cook. The problem with dropping in like this is that you’re jumping blind. You don’t know how the dough has been, how the oven’s been working, how busy they’re going to be.

Bread can be temperamental on a good day. Working with a wood burning oven only makes it harder. The problem isn’t getting a decent product, but getting consistency. Trying to make a style. If you like a pizza with a certain level of doneness, you’re talking about roughly a 3-5 second window where you’re not too pate and undercooked, but also not too black. You’re trying to get the top of the pie to finish the same time as the bottom. Your oven’s temperature can change from minute to minute as a burning log shoots embers and then collapses in on itself. And to top it off, you’re juggling 2 or 3 pies at the same time.

This is where it becomes hard to have a style. But not impossible. I do feel that I’m becoming more consistent the more I practice. You get to learn the little cues that let you time your cook precisely. You get a feel for how the dough works. Today it was woking against us. I believe that it had over-proofed, and the gluten was starting to break down a bit. Every pie you made there’d be a little hole in it.

It’s probably possible to figure out an exact formula for the perfect pizza. X floor temperature + y dome temperature + z minutes = transcendence.  Except for about 50 more variables. So many variables, in fact, that you’ll never be able to write it all down. What you have to do is trust your brain to do all of these on the fly. Art is just science done in your subconscious.

 

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Categories: Pizza
  1. October 6, 2014 at 2:39 am

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