Final Step: Construction and Baking

BeforeAfter the hour of preheating and second fermentation, it was time to assemble, bake, and eat!  It is critical to make sure that the oven and the stone are hot, otherwise the texture will get thrown right out the door.

Assembly is simple once you get the knack for stretching the dough out by using your fists.  I initially dust the parchment paper (yes, I use parchment for these purposes…) with flour and shape the dough into thick disks.  Once those are formed, I take the disks and begin stretching them on my two fists, shifting the dough around and allowing gravity to do the work while I help it along.  It’s that simple.  Once the dough reaches a diameter of about 12 to 14 inches (and a relative thinness), it goes right back on the peel and the parchment.  I spoon the sauce on (careful to not be overly liberal with this) and top it with whatever I plan on doing.  For this first case, which I photographed, I made a pizza di formaggio: tomato sauce and mozzarella fresca.  In it went….

After …and out it came!  While it was fresh from the oven, I topped it with hand-torn basil and some shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano.  This pizza was the first of six for the evening (we had some guests, but most of the left-overs will be used for lunches and snacks for the next day or so).  I also made the following: Milanese (carmelized onion and sausage), Puttanesca (Kalamata olives and capers), Marinara (tomato sauce, no cheese, olive oil, and oregano), Margherita (sliced tomato, olive oil), and Siciliano (pepperoni and prosciutto).

Each time I take the time to enjoy and make my pies, I feel that it is all absolutely worth it.  The care and craftsmanship it takes to do this properly is rewarding beyond conception.  The food you consume is a statement of who are.  If you care for yourself, consume only things that require care and love (whether you make it or not…).  Why sacrifice the relationship between your senses, your hunger, and your soul?