Posts Tagged ‘best pizza blogs’

Winter Wonderland of Baking


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Sometimes inspiration comes at the weirdest times. This last weekend, I decided to bake my ass off again just to ward off the winter doldrums. The weather was forecast to rise to a whopping forty degrees which in Ohio terms is beach weather.  During the week, I foraged for all the fodder I would need to make some great pizzas and breads. Joel Fair and Torrey Evans got the ball rolling to make some killer dough for the Athens Farmers Market and at eleven on Friday night the baking began.

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First order of business was to collect all the frozen chilies that were thrust upon me from various farmers this summer. This is a moment of the greatest questioning in my pizzeria; “Does this look like a Ghost or a Hab?” says I. “I don’t know?” says Torrey. “Fuck it, how’s about I toss six of dem in this mix?” says I. “Sounds good to me.” Torrey responds laughing and shaking his head, (He is my ‘hot-as-hell-sauce-taste-tester’.) This weeks ‘Beelzebub’ pizza had the following chilies in the sauce: Paper Lantern, Fatalli, Red Habenero, Pickled Jalepeno, Red Jalepeno, Green Ancho and those lovely little Ghosties swimming in our organic tomato sauce with roasted garlic and a little red onion. Then I blasted out some thin pizza crust and topped the pizza with some Asiago Cheese and a few pickled cayenne peppers.

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This week I was also particularly proud not only of the fabulous local spelt dough that Torrey made but that I could use it to make some fabulous vegan Napoletana pizzas. Here I topped the spelt with filets of San Marzano tomatoes, (DOP), fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, Trapani sea salt and a vegan mozzarella cheese that I have been working on for a very, long time. I baked these babies at 650 degrees. (You know you’re a pizza psycho when you just stare at the melt from any given cheese…like I did all weekend!)

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On the same spelt crust (Grown only 20 miles away and milled in our town by Shagbark Milling) I spread a bright San Marzano sauce then made a spoke with local polenta with pine nuts. This was finished off with another pickled pepper and local arugula from Green Edge Gardens. (Upper left). On the right I made a Cornetta with fresh spinach, curry-roasted cauliflower with macerated cashews and macadamia nuts and finished off with vegan mozzarella and roasted red peppers.

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I also made my favorite. I call it a “Scaletta” with ciabatta dough in which I slice and impregnated with Calabrian Chilies, Castelvetrano olives and local King Family Bacon.

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And last but not least, was a Turkish style Pide made with local spelt that was topped with a roasted garlic pudding, roasted leek and then local Yukon gold and rose potatoes.

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So, along with some killer sourdough boule, mushroom schiacciata, baguette and several types of fougasse, we were off to the races. Below is a video of our repertoire. I may seem a little out of it because I had to set everything up in 20 degree weather grumbling the whole while about my lousy little baking life…which I love!





Pizza al Filo (Pizza Napoletana with a twist…or two)


They say that variety is the spice of life. As owner of Avalanche Pizza for the past fifteen years I’ve surrounded myself with variety, (almost 60 toppings), forty specialty pizza, pizza oddities and combinations that no sane person would try. This definitely keeps us hopping but each day I still need something different to make my day complete. Call it a voice from the dark side or just a loose marble bouncing around this egg-shaped cranium of mine. Either way, it is an itch that has to be scratched.

chicken and waffle pizza

A few weeks ago, we had just rolled out our fabulous Chicken and Waffle Pizza to great applause from our pizza-loving fans. This pizza has it all; a béchamel cream, bacon, mozzarella, aged provolone, Belgium waffles and real fried chicken all baked at 500 loving degrees and then slathered with local maple syrup. It was on that same day that I was cleaning my pasta machine and decided to make the next little ditty.

After all, as John Cleese always says, “And now, for something completely different!

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I took a cold small dough ball, flattened and cut small strips, then sent it through my pasta machine thinking I would make a monkey-bread type of pizza. This would alleviate any bragging about cell structure or how high the cornicione got or the lack of gumline, just a cool pizza that had the mouth feel of a plate of pasta! The key to making this pizza was the temperature of the dough. Warm, proofed dough would never go through properly. This dough is about 60 percent hydrated and rolled out fabulously. I then put into an oiled ten inch pan to proof.

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I cooked the dough for nine minutes until it was just cooked through to the center. Then I flipped it over to reveal a wonderfully golden crust.

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Then I topped it with the traditionals: San Marzano tomatoes atop fresh basil and that arranged atop aged mozzarella instead of fresh, (to keep the pizza together). I then slathered the pie with Sicilian olive oil and Trapani sea salt.

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The pizza stayed together and was amazing with the strands popping here and there. It was quite the hit with my staff also who gobbled it all up in minutes except for the piece I had. As I bit into this wondrous slice, I realized that this was definitely one of the best pizzas I’ve ever tasted!