Pizza is something that has always been hit or miss for me. What Marc Vetri taught me on page 3 of this cookbook changed the way I view making pizza dough. Vetri says, “You have to get a feel for your dough.” So the first recipe I tried from this book was on page 72, the Single Naples Dough Ball at 60% Hydration. And, the first try was great, except I scorched the bottom of the crust a bit too much when I slid it onto a pizza stone in my Big Green Egg which was fired up to 700 degrees. So, the second time I made this recipe, the dough seemed too sticky. I tossed it out and tried again. Too stiff. Tossed it out. Yes, I wasted a lot of King Arthur Bread Flour but I was determined to get a “feel” for this dough, and on the third try it was perfect. Now I know what I’m looking for in terms of “hydration” with this 60 percent recipe. More water is going to make a sticker dough which might require a different cooking technique. But,I was looking for a formula that would work with a very hot Big Green Egg, and I found it. Now… pay attention to what Vetri says about the hydration level of his recipes and the cooking technique you intend to use. You might need a different ratio of water to flour if you are going to bake your pizza at 500 degrees in your oven. That’s the secret that Vetri imparts to his readers in this book. He knows what he is talking about. I have now made the most beautiful pizzas I have ever made in my Big Green Egg. (If you are also using a Big Green Egg, remember to dust your pizza slider with cornmeal, then set up the grill with a convector plate and a “riser” and TWO pizza stones… crank up the heat and WATCH it because it only takes about 6 to 8 minutes to produce a perfectly puffy and slightly blistered crust.) The picture below is my version of Vetri’s Lombarda pizza, page 161.
Ten Speed Press