On Pizza 🍕

an encouragement to make pizza this weekend & join Bread Club

Good morning!

Thanks to everyone for ordering bread again after I replaced my oven last week. I really appreciate you all. Pre-orders for Thursday pickup are available on the website right now.

For some time now my rhythm throughout the week has involved making large quantities of dough on Mondays and Wednesdays so that I can make bread for my community on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Tuesday I’m writing you this weekly email while I’m baking bread in the morning. Thursdays mornings are more personal time. I really cherish Thursday morning bakes for the quiet reflection time that they provide for me.

The other thing that is so special about Thursday mornings for me… is this is when I begin to make the pizza dough for our family’s Friday night pizza. #PizzaFriday has become so much of a ritual in our household, that when our kids start school I think they will be surprised to learn that it isn’t a holiday that everyone celebrates. But for us, it is our sacred family time.

Thinking back to when I first started making sourdough bread… a big factor for why I was excited about learning about the dough-making process was to improve the crust for our weekly pizza.

Anyway, my enthusiasm for pizza comes out in many situations, and I frequently find myself in conversations about how to make pizza at home. For the record: I believe that once you get moderately competent with home pizza making - you’ll have something that you can enjoy more than the average takeout pizza you could get from almost anywhere.

So I want you to make pizza at home… but where to begin? In a future letter, I’ll tell the whole story of how my journey starts from working backward from frozen pizza in college. But today I want to attempt to organize some resources that I think are useful starting places for anyone looking to start making pizza at home.

Of course, anyone who is already making sourdough bread can just grab 300-400g of the dough you mixed for bread and stretch it out for pizza. While I very much enjoy a sourdough pizza, these resources today will rely on commercial yeast rather than a sourdough starter. The reason for this is simply because I want everyone to make pizza. We’ll get you to work up to naturally leavened pizza later :)

Pizza recipes start with a good crust

King Arthur has a simple recipe for pizza dough. All you need is flour, water, yeast, oil, and salt. Start with a recipe like this, and plan to make your dough a day ahead of time. The dough resting 24 hours will result in it being easier to work with and better tasting.

Leo Spizzirri from the North American Pizza & Culinary Academy has a great detailed video showing how to make a New York style of crust here. And here he has a good Q&A video here where he just answers a few questions about pizza making at home.

As for topping your pizza… I really can’t over-emphasize how important it is to not stress too much about this part. Once you have the dough for your crust, you’ll put some tomato sauce on there, and some cheese and whatever else. The only major tip for this part of the process is that “less is more”. Here is a very short video that demonstrates proportions well.

If/when you decide to get more advanced with your pizza making, I want to heartily recommend the book The Pizza Bible. It is so detailed in its teaching of techniques for making various doughs and various regional pizzas. I really love this book! Also, below is a video where the author (pizza legend Tony Gemignani) explains his process of making pizza dough. He uses a fair amount of technical jargon in this video, but it’s a very thorough overview for anyone who wants to understand pizza dough in detail.

Soon enough you’ll be on pizza reddit, and you’ll be emailing me with other niche websites that you found full of pizza expertise. And then I’ll send you some of my other favorite pizza websites and my favorite pizza podcasts (What’s Good Dough? and Pizza City) and we’ll be nerding out pretty hard together about pizza. I can’t wait. 😎🍕🤓

Accepting July Bread Club members

Finally, if you have friends who you think would like to get bread each week… I’d love for you to forward this email to them and tell them about Bread Club. Bread Club is a monthly subscription to guarantee yourself sourdough every Tuesday of each month. This week we have a couple of spots opening up for the month of July. If you’d like to join Bread Club, or if you have any questions about it - please just reply to this email to let me know and I’ll send you the details.

the baker (🥖 & 🍕)