I can’t believe it has already been a year. I’ll never forget the day, I had a simple dough (can’t find the recipe - dang!) that was just flour, salt, water and bakers yeast. No starter, no “00” flour, no magical fairy dust — just the basics. I remember mixing the ingredients and letting it rest for about 40 minutes, then kneading and doing a bulk rise while I watched Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. Perhaps that movie is the perfect length for ambient bulk fermentation! After the rise, I stuck it in the fridge overnight in some plastic containers and that was that.
The next day, I preheated my oven with my favorite quarry tile method and got the oven up to 650 degrees F in the pie-zone after about an hour. One thing I do remember about the dough formula was that I used particularly cold water that day. I have notes for every batch of dough I make (thanks to advice from my homeslice Jeff Varasano) but I can’t seem to find them at this moment. We’ll just have to rely on my iPhoto library. Thankfully, those notes are pretty solid.
The pies came out faster than ever and the crust texture was perfectly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The first pizza was incredible but I was nervous that pie #2 would prove to be a failure and dishonor the entire batch. I was totally wrong. Before I knew it, there were four beautiful Margherita pizzas sitting in front of me and they all looked like this.
Usually my roommates are more than happy to eat the results of my pizza experiments but on this particular night they were nowhere to be found. This resulted in a series of calls to my closest pizza buddies in which I would bite the crust just so they could be witness to the sound of my ultimate pizza making experience. It sounds pretty sad when I say it out loud as I’m typing but what-e-ver.
The night convinced me that high heat is necessary for this style of pizza because it forces a quicker bake and more differentiation between the outer and inner texture of the crust. I achieved lovely charring, perfect crumb structure and crust so soft you could poke it with your finger and it would just bounce right back. The flavor of this particular crust wasn’t 100% but I’ve made a lot of progress int he past year and I think it’s just about there. After all, it is a constant process and I learn more with every batch. The pizza I’m making lately definitely tastes better than the batch I made on May 25, 2010 but I will never forget the leaps I made on that blissful evening exactly one year ago today.