PizzaManiac.com
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Welcome to PizzaManiac.com (aka Pizza Maker's Journal) where I document my journey to the perfect pizza! I have set out to create several pizza recipes that can be made at home, inexpensively and of the quality that you expect from a fine pizzeria. I hope you find my notes useful. Happy Pizza making!

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(the Pizzamaniac)


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    8/22/2007

    2007 Carlisle Pizza Tour

    Filed under: — PizzaBill @ 11:28 am

    This summer some friends and I have been enjoying a pizza tour of Carlisle, PA. With over 20 different pizza establishments (including chains) it’s been pretty interesting. We visit one restaurant each week. Here’s a map in case you would like to take your own pizza tour of the area. If I find any interesting pizza, I’ll be sure to report back.



    View Larger Map






    8/15/2007

    King Arthur Sir Lancelot Test Results

    Filed under: — PizzaBill @ 1:03 pm

    Sir Lancelot Test 001Sir Lancelot Test 002

    Well, after spending more on mail order flour than I have on pizzeria pizza this year, I finally had three wonderful dough balls ready to be stretched, topped and baked after a 24 hour rise in the refrigerator. It was time to bake pizzas using the dough made from King Aurthur Sir Lancelot flour rather than the hi-gluten Pillsbury flour that I have been using for almost three years.

    The dough blanks looked great out of the containers and still felt like they had a very high water content. In fact, when I began stretching them, it was apparent that they were quite soft. I carefully avoided the crust ring and stretched by hand from the center. When they had reached 16 inches, I placed them on pizza screens.

    The oven was pre-heated to 485 degrees. I had placed two pizza stones on the bottom two racks, forming a heat chamber between them. I topped the first pie with sauce and cheese only. The bake took around 10 minutes, which I think was longer than normal because of the two stones. It baked quite well and looked great when it came out. The tiny crust blisters that I love were present and the aroma was wonderful.

    The second pizza was topped with extra pepperoni and allowed to bake for the same amount of time.

    Sir Lancelot Test 003

    Both pizzas were cut and served to my hungry family. I have to say that I could tell the flavor difference with the first bite. The crust had a wonderfully soft texture with a crisp outer edge and slightly charred bottom. A friend who was visiting said that it tasted more authentic than other pizzas I’d made for him. I have to agree – the flour brings it’s own unique flavor which adds a great deal to the overall experience.

    Now that I know that King Aurthur Sir Lancelot flour has lived up to the hype, it’s time to find a cheaper way to get it. I’ve got a few more tricks up my sleeve for that, so stay tuned and enjoy the pics…






    8/12/2007

    King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour test

    Filed under: — PizzaBill @ 10:39 pm

    Sir Lancelot Test

    After much hype from my friends at PizzaMaking.com, I’d decided to bite the bullet and order King Aurthur Sir Lancelot flour directly from their web site and pay what amounts to $5 per bag in order to do a test. Among other home pizza bakers, this is by far one of the most popular flour brands being used. Despite King Aurthur flour being common in my local supermarkets, I had never seen this particular high gluten mix on the shelves. My only choice was to order from the King Aurthur online store.

    The flour arrived today with plenty of fanfare. I unpacked the box and noticed all of the auxillary junk mail that they send along (it appears from the marketing that they think I am a retiring woman who bakes constantly when not buying country furniture). The flour bags are small, containing about 7 cups of flour per bag and costing $3.50 each (plus lots of shipping) online.

    I couldn’t wait to give this flour a try, so I tore open a bag and got to making a double batch of Bill’s Traditional dough. The aroma of the flour was immediately apparent. It has a very rich smell which made me quite hungry. The mixing process went well. The mix seemed overly wet which I blamed on my use of measuring cups rather than weight measuring the flour. Once it had mixed for 4 minutes I removed the dough and made two 20 and one 13 ounce ball. I placed the balls into the refrigerator for the 24 hour rise. The dough had a great smell while working with it as well.

    I have high hopes for this flour based on the opinions of so many of my friends. It will be hard to justify the cost of this flour if we like it though. I am used to getting 50 pounds of the Pillsbury flour for $14 at the local bakery supply store. Stay tuned for the resulting taste test!

    UPDATE: Results can be found here






    8/8/2007

    Can you run your own pizzeria?

    Filed under: — PizzaBill @ 9:19 am

    Imagine this… you come to work at the pizza shop you deliver pizza for, only to find a note asking you to run the shop for a day! Can you handle it? Ok, so I’m not talking about real life, but rather a great new online flash game called Papa’s Pizzeria. The goal is to see how well you can take orders, make pizzas to spec, bake them just right and serve them to your customers. Multitasking quickly becomes the name of the game as you are required to flip between the various stations to get your orders completed.

    It’s great fun and has the potential to waste lots of productive time, so be careful! Check out the game here: Papa’s Pizzeria Game

    Here’s a tip – pay attention to where the customer wants the toppings on the pie! It’s not just half and half, they actually tell you top, bottom, left or right. Keep you eyes on your oder slip! Enjoy…






    8/4/2007

    Gas Oven versus Electric Oven

    Filed under: — PizzaBill @ 5:50 pm

    oven fight

    My family and I spent a few days in a rental cabin last week. Since no trip is complete without pizza, I packed my gear and ingredients. As I began preparing to bake, I noticed that the oven was a gas powered one. I hadn’t baked pizza in a gas oven before, but I didn’t think it would be much different. I was wrong! Being lazy while packing, I did not take a pizza stone, so the baking took place on pizza screens. I placed them on the bottom rack at 475 degrees for 8 minutes each. The bottom of the crust cooked much faster than normal and one almost burned (gulp)! The top crust edge remained very light and the cheese hadn’t completely cooked by minute 8. I learned a hard lesson about gas ovens that I won’t soon forget. If you use a gas oven, let me know if your experience is similar. I’ll be taking my stones next time for sure.

    We still enjoyed the pies, one cheese, one pepperoni and one buffalo chicken. Yum.




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