Let's Talk About Food 2014: Baking Steel Pizza Demo

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This past Saturday, the Baking Steel took stage in our home city of Boston, Ma. The Boston Globe and Whole Foods hosted their third annual Let's Talk About Food Festival in Copley Square. The festival brings to light important conversations about cooking better and eating healthier using the resources around us. I was pumped up when I got the invite to join my good friend, Joe Gatto of From Scratch, on stage for a live pizza demo at the event. I am game for anything that involves spreading awareness about the quality of  the food we put into our body. Hence why I am so big on making my own dough, I like to know what exactly is going into my food.

Our live demo was awesome. We made a killer sausage pie. Joe made the mozzarella from scratch, something I am now inspired to do myself. The Baking Steel was used in place of a pizza stone and gave a killer performance. The char was spot on. We didn't pre-cook the sausage, a trick Joe and I both learned from Kenji Lopez-Alt. I highly recommend this method, as it greatly enhances the flavor of the pie.

We only ran into one minor speed bump, which isn't too bad for a live show! No, Joe didn't stab me...at least not this time. I did however, cut my hand on the knife I was using. I asked Joe to take over the stretching portion of the demo while the event crew helped fix me up. It was only a few minutes before I was back on stage ready to show off the power of the Baking Steel.

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Mark Bello: Pizza a Casa Pizza School & The Baking Steel

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Earlier this month we were lucky enough to have Mark Bello, of Pizza A Casa Pizza School, stop by the Baking Steel test kitchen. Mark teaches an iconic pizza class in the lower east side of New York City. If you haven't been, I highly recommend checking it out, people come from around the globe to take a class with Mark and learn the ins and outs of home pizza making. He knows his stuff.

I met Mark just after our KickStarter days. I visited him in NYC and of course, brought a Baking Steel with me. He tried it out and gave it his blessing. He was so impressed that he even began using the Baking Steel to teach his classes.  The same guy who Food and Wine called,  "the authority on how to make New York-style pizza at home" is using our Baking Steel to do so. How cool is that?

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I had made a couple batches of dough the night before so by the time Mark and his wife, Jenny arrived, the dough was ready to go. Mark showed off his stretching techniques and surprised us with a few dough tosses.

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We had a plethora of ingredients and no set menu. Mark layered the first pie with fresh mozzarella, then topped it with a ricotta and butter mix. After that, he shaved on some parmesan romano and launched it onto the Baking Steel. Once it was done, he topped it with a little oil and we all grabbed a slice. Unbelievable, I will have to make this recipe again.

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Next up, a simple margherita. I dare you to tell me that you arn't drooling over that picture. Margherita's are one of my all time favorites, so simple yet so good.

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By the third pizza, we were pretty full but we couldn't help but make just one more. Green onion, red onion and burrata cheese. It was killer.

All in all, it was a great day, I got to make pizzas and talk shop with one of the bests. Like I said, if you find your self in NYC I would highly suggest signing up for one of Mark's classes. He is a super down to earth guy who is going to help you get the confidence and skills you need to make some seriously good pizza at home.

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My Time with Jim Lahey

Sullivan Street Bakery
Sullivan Street Bakery

Last week I took a quick trip to New York City, for 24 hours of pizza dreams come true! First on my to do list, swing by Sullivan Street Bakery to meet with Jim Lahey.  Yes, you heard right-Jim Lahey, dough, bread, pizza guru! Last year, Mr. Lahey graciously granted me permission to share his sensational no-knead pizza dough recipe, with all of my Baking Steel customers.  If you haven't tried it, it is a must!  The simplicity is what makes this dough so amazing!  And when you combine his dough recipe, with the Baking Steel, you will be making world class pizza at home-guaranteed!

Now let's get back to NY.  So I went to visit Sullivan Street Bakery headquarters' in Hell's Kitchen, where Jim has catapulted to culinary fame not just for his bread, but for his Roman-style pizza, rustic Italian pastries and cookies and books. In the hour or so that I was there, customers flooded his counter, leaving happy with bags of goodies.  I was thrilled to be in his "house."  We had a great conversation.  We chatted about pizza dough, the ins and out of his business, and some of his future plans.  He invited me to join him that evening at Co., the pizza restaurant he opened in 2009.   He squeezed me in at 5.30 pm.  I arrived and was warmly welcomed to sit at the bar.  About 15 minutes later, Jim took me out back to his kitchen where he made me his famous Ham and Peas Pizza.  What a thrill to witness the master in action!  We shared the pie, a glass of wine and some insightful pizza conversation.  I am so grateful to Mr. Lahey for carving so much time out of his hectic schedule and making me feel like an old friend.  Thank you, Jim.  By the way, the pizza was out of this world!

As I mentioned earlier in the post, I was in for a full day/night of pizza fun so the next stop was Paulie G's at 8:00 pm.  Joined by a motley crew of friends, Mark Bello and his wife Jenny, of Pizza a Casa fame, Scott from Scott's Pizza Tours, and Jeremy Shapiro from Stir The Pots, I embarked on my second dinner of the evening.  Considering it was my first visit to Paulie's, Scott did the ordering which was basically two of every style of pizza on the menu!  My hunger for great pizza had been satiated earlier, but hey there is always room for more, right?!  One by one these amazing pizzas were delivered to our table.  Paulie was in the house, and took very good care of us.  Thank you Paulie!

After devouring at least one slice from every pie, sipping a few glasses of vino and enjoying more than a few laughs/pizza stories, I decided to head back to my hotel.  In less than 24 hours, I had had enough pizza for a month.  Cheers to creating some NYC pizza love and memories to last a lifetime!

Jim Lahey sharing the story of the no knead pizza dough
Jim Lahey sharing the story of the no knead pizza dough
his stretching technique
his stretching technique
topping the pizza
topping the pizza
working the oven
working the oven
the finished product, ham and pea pizza
the finished product, ham and pea pizza
JIm and Andris at Co.
JIm and Andris at Co.
Paulie G's
Paulie G's
The Greenpointer
The Greenpointer
The Delboy
The Delboy
The Regina
The Regina
Mark Bello and Andris
Mark Bello and Andris
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