The Pizza Experiments – Oct 9

October 13, 2008 · 2 comments

in cooking at Home

You may have read, pizza has been my love-interest as of late, and the experiments continue. As I’ve mentioned, Jeff Varasano (my pizza spiritual guide) has a site which details his 6 year odyssey into perfecting pizza making technique, particularly in regards to making the pinnacle of all dough. My latest attempts at using his techniques continue below…

But first, I wanted to give you a heads-up on tomorrow’s forthcoming post. I just heard about Pizzeria Fortunato in Creative Loafing’s Best of Atlanta, and I ate there last night. I promise the post it will be one of your top 10 time wasters tomorrow while you are pretending to work, and you will find out the official results!

Oh, also, I emailed Jeff Varasano and he responded on Friday, telling me the tentative open date for his pizza place at 2171 Peachtree is December 9. I will be the first reporter on the scene, I guarantee you this. 

Once again, I used the “wet knead” method that Jeff recommends. I mixed all the ingredients, using only 75% of the flour, then mixed it slowly while the dough was still more like a batter. After mixing, I let it rest. The yeast is working at this point. Then I slowly mixed and added flour until the ball formed. At that point I split the dough in half and put the two balls in gladware and into the fridge. 

I decided to try making my own mozzarella again, and once again, I pretty much failed. The mozzarella wouldn’t form a stretchy, shiny ball and resulted in ricotta. I am still trying to determine the reasons for my poor results, and Rebecca from Foodie with Family has been great in trying to help me figure that out. 

I just wanted to post this picture because I will admit it when I suck at cooking. Though, the dough came out better than ever. I did overcook it some because I kept waiting to see if the cheese would melt (which it clearly did not). The dough lacked in flavor, but had a great consistency. It was crispy on the outside and nice and chewy/airy on the inside.

Also, It was also much easier to work with. Last time I didn’t put it in the fridge and it wasn’t dense enough and tore apart when I tried to shape it. This dough was a breeze – it didn’t stick too much, it didn’t “pull back” onto itself, and had a suberb consistency. 

The next day I took out the other ball from the refrigerator and made a pizza for lunch. This dough was even better in terms of shaping/working! I took it out of the gladware, flipped it over, punched it down, and quickly shaped it.


This time I used shredded Sargento mozzarella. :-(

Oven had been at 550 degrees for 1 hour – that stone is brutally hot!

The final results! This cooked in about 4.5 minutes. 

Pros: The dough held together perfectly, it was chewy, thin in the middle, with a nicely sized crust. The cheese browned nicely and Jeff’s uncooked tomato sauce was stellar, once again. 

Cons: The dough was lacking in flavor (more salt and active yeast cultures will hopefully do the trick), and I used a poor excuse for cheese. Also, I need to remember to knock off some of the excess flour before I cook. I don’t like that flour taste on the dough. Lastly, the oven isn’t hot enough to get a good char on the bottom of the pie. 

I am very happy with the progress and will continue to report back to the waiting masses. 


Ate the pizza with the last of my dad’s tomatoes. :-(

Drizzled olive oil, balsamic, and hit it with some salt and pepper.

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