Friday, March 26, 2010

World's Greatest Pizza Dough

After finding the recipe that self proclaimed itself the "worlds' best pizza dough" I started there. With what I had in the kitchen is what I was going to use. I hadn't baked anything with yeast for over 30 years. My last attempt was a failure at baking bread over 3 decades ago because nobody told me yeast was a living thing! I know it sounds stupid now and how could I have not known that but yeast to me was just another ingredient like salt or pepper. People are living things. Trees are living things. Dogs are living things. Insects are living things and even germs are living things. But nobody ever said to me, "Vincent, yeast are living things." So I proceeded to bake bread with a yeast packet that had long since expired but I was OK with that. I have eaten potato chips that were older than my dog. As you would've guessed, the dough didn't rise. I figured it needed heat and then it would rise. So I had an inspiration. Bake it in the oven and then it will rise. It didn't, it had died.
Here I was some 30 plus years later and ready to jump back on the horse! I followed his instructions as I couldn't afford another failure at 56. I would be 80 before I could try it again at the rate I was going. This time the dough rose and I was elated. I knew I had a future in baking somehow.
The dough was so much better than all those Bisquick recipes I had used or canned biscuits I had used. Suddenly I am launched into a new world of baking. Baking with yeast that was fresh was a new world to me. I felt inspired and it was "game on."
Suddenly I wasn't saying to my wife, "that pizza was OK but let's get a real pizza tomorrow."
I had turned a corner in a BIG way. Who would've thought that living yeast could make such a big difference!
I had come a long way with that first glorious success but I had a long way to go. Tomato sauce in a jar that says pizza sauce wasn't going to do it either. At least I knew better than to use ketchup. I started with the canned and jarred pizza sauces that you buy off the shelf. Then I realized what I hadn't done. I had not googled the best pizza sauce ever. OMG a whole new world opened up to me. Pizza sauce recipes of every imaginable combination started popping up. I think there were some 8,440,000 recipes found by Google in less than 15/100th of a second. This was going to be a bit lengthy. I dug in. It was now starting to become a challenge of Man vs Food if I may borrow that phrase from the Travel Channel.
I have always enjoyed cooking when I wasn't in a hurry and now with my work being slow it was a good time to sort it out and see why everybody's pizza sauce recipe was the best.
The best thing I could have done was throw out the recipes from famous chefs like Emeril and Wolfgang Puck and the like. They weren't pizza experts. The experts in my mind were the Italian family recipes handed down for generations. That was where I wanted to go. Suddenly I began to see the quest I was on and understand why I had chosen pizza as my ally and foe. Anybody can make crappy pizza. I had done it numerous times to prove it. Only a few understood what pizza really was. These were the people in the recipes and blogs that I read and absorbed to maybe catch a glimpse of what I had been missing most of my life. Good pizza isn't a goal. It is a journey.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Vince:

    Love the metaphor of great pizza as a journey. Think you’ll find that there are many great pizzas and having had yours, I believe that yours is one of them. I think a menu is in order like at a pizzeria, listing your masterpieces with catchy names, a list of toppings and your comments on the flavor, texture and overall experience for the individual pie. Vince’s top 10 or 20 pizza attractions along the journey to nirvana.