Thursday, June 02, 2016

Review: The Elements of Pizza

The Elements of Pizza: Unlocking the Secrets to World-Class Pies at Home Hardcover – April 19, 2016
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (April 19, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160774838X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607748380
The Elements of Pizza is a new book that shows the history, making, and varieties of pizza -- traditional and artsy.

I seriously now know more about the history of pizza and the making of pizza than I ever dreamed of. The question is, of course, "Will I commit to all this knowledge?" I mean, that's what knowledge is about, right? Just how much of one's learning one actually uses.
For instance, in the section on dough-making, detail four states, "Mix your pizza dough by hand, not by a machine." So yeah, I won't use a machine. But....Sorry, I'm not going to be making pizza dough by hands either. I am just that lazy. Neither do I see myself getting perturbed over the varieties of good pizza cheeses. I might buy some of the recommended equipment though.

The chapters are:
The Soul of Pizza
Pizza Styles
Eight Details for Great Pizza Crust
Ingredients and Equipment
Methods
Pizza Dough Recipes -- with subchapters: Saturday Doughs, Refrigerated Long Doughs, Naturally Leavened Doughs, Specialty Doughs
Pizza Recipes -- with sub-chapters: Sauces, Italian and Italian Inspired, New York and New York Inspired, Ken's Artisan Pizza Classics, Trifecta Flatbreads, Vegetables and Just Because
Measurement Conversion Charts
Acknowledgments
Index

The book has many wonderful photo illustrations (although for some reason at least one of these photos was repeated, which seemed odd to me.) Like any great recipe book, the photos are often enough to spur a cook's creativity. But still, all that said, the recipes are very detailed. I'd almost say a tad too detailed. I prefer all the steps of a recipe to be given as distinct different steps. The writer of these recipes numbers each steps of the recipe yet each step is often a collection of two to three different steps lumped into one. This makes prospective cooks have to re-read each numbered step. I would've liked things broken down a bit more so I could easily tick off each step.

I'm a lover of pizza but I simply refuse to make dough. I tend to buy dough made from the store. So the sections in this book that showed how to make various doughs is totally lost on me. I will however use their sauce recipes. The fun of this book for me is that it widens my horizons about what kind of stuff I can add on top of the dough. But for people who want to experiment with making traditional and perfect pizza, this is the perfect book.

For people who like their foods healthy and who wish to avoid processed foods or foods they are allergic to, for folks who want varieties in their pizza, and to folks who want to avoid processed foods and for folks who want to stop eating out so much.

So I recommend this book, especially if you're a baker or if you fear casein, soy flour, etc in your pizza. You'll also learn how to make your own version of traditional pizzas. Which is always good. Store bought pizzas are generally pretty crappy.

I got this book free in exchange for a fair and honest review. 
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