Though is was just published last month, Ken Forkish’s The Elements of Pizza: Unlocking the Secrets to World-Class Pies at Home is the homemade pizza cookbook I’ve always wanted. Educational on a number of fronts, I feel more competent having only read it, and I hope my practical skills increase in equal measure or more! The photographs of methods are easy to follow, and those of pizzas are inspiring and mouthwatering. Good stuff here!
Chapter 1 takes the reader on a journey through the history and methods of pizza making from Italy to the United States. (He even includes the unique pizza of Old Forge, PA—shout out to my in-laws!)
Chapter 2 provides a brief description of how different styles are made and a number of distinctive features to look for. This is especially helpful for someone wondering what kind of pizza to try (or bake!) next.
Chapter 3 gives the reader considerations in achieving any desired pizza crust, pointing out important ratios between moisture, heat, and time, climate differences, and fermentation processes, among many other details.
Chapter 4 discusses specific types of ingredients (e.g., flours, cheeses, and fresh vs. canned tomatoes and their myriad varieties and forms) and equipment used, including some pros and cons of some types (e.g., metal vs. wooden).
Chapter 5 takes 3’s considerations and provides step-by-step instructions in making one’s first pizza using the “water, salt, yeast, flour” method (order of incorporation).
Chapter 6 is full of amazing, detailed dough recipes for both the patient and impatient baker (but be patient and plan ahead!).
Chapter 7 takes those dough recipes and moves into complete pizza recipes. Among sauce recipes and ingredient suggestions for taking one’s own path, there are many tried and true traditional recipes (like my longtime favorite pepperoni, mushroom, and onion, pp.189–191), including some you may have never seen (the mortadella and pistachio needs to get in my belly!).
The book concludes with a couple pages of volume, weight, length, and temperature conversion charts for us ignorant folk.
If you want to get into making pizza at home, this would be a good place to start!
*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.