If you loved Jim Lahey's first book, this is a must! Brand new way for us to make pizza and it turns out amazing everytime. We've been eating it at least twice a week since we got the book. The chocolate chip recipee is great too.
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
You can all go home now, the position has been filled.Sept. 20 2012
Jennifer L. Rinehart
- Published on Amazon.com
I made Jim Lahey's pizza dough and my quest for perfect pizza dough has now ended. Just a little recap of the events that lead up to this quest. The setting, Tuscon, Arizona, 2004, an ugly, tiny kitchen and a pile of pepperoni. I'd finally mastered the art of yeast dough, thanks to a recipe from the Bread Bible and I thought, 'pizza will be so eeeeasy!' and it was.
The basic ingredients were the same (let's be real here, the basic ingredients for most yeast doughs are the same) water, salt, yeast and flour. I mixed them all, set the dough in the hottest place in my apartment (anywhere, it was Tuscon in June) and waited. While I waited I carefully shredded fontina, sliced mushrooms and stirred my homemade marinara sauce (recipe courtesy of Batali).
But the pizza was meh, edible but nothing to flip your skirt over. Mostly because of the dough. It wasn't right, too crispy, too soft, too hard, too salty, not chewy enough.
So I tried another recipe and then another. Over the years we ate a lot of pizza. I'd become obsessed. I tried spelt flour, rye, organic honey, natural yeast made from organic grapes and wheat bread flour ground locally. I added wine, kosher salt, black salt and bought a pizza stone. I dusted the baking stone with cornmeal and flour.
My husband and son became concerned, they begged me to stop, 'think about your health, honey, all this cheese it's not good for you! Let's eat burgers instead, please, mom!'
Sometimes I could stop, weeks would go by and I wouldn't think about pizza at all. Then something, usually a sale on mozzarella at the grocery store would jar me right out of my pizzaless complacency and then wham! Back in the kitchen, baking again.
But this pizza dough is the perfection I was striving for, the crazy thing is, it's the easiest dough I've ever made. No heating water, no kneading, no poolish, I didn't even use a pizza stone (mine broke when I threw it out the front door, turns out they are not terribly durable). I've gotten pretty lax about following the recipe, sometimes I sub a little whole wheat flour for the bread flour and I put a tad more salt in (gotta be careful with the salt, it can retard the yeast and lengthen the proofing.) But no matter how many little tweaks I throw at it, this dough turns out EVERY time! And it is delicious whether I smother it with prosciutto, dolaner gouda and walnuts or a thin coat of garlicky olive oil and a few sprinkles of rosemary. Alsom and this is last but not least, it looks frigging fantastic, when I make it for people they shower me with praise (I act humble and say it was nothing, but secretly I'm doing a victory dance and feeling entirely too pleased with myself).
There are a lot of interesting recipes in this book other than the all important dough, for bechamel sauce pizzas, cheesless vegan pizzas (don't turn your nose up at these, some look delightful), some really interesting looking meatballs that use mashed potatoes instead of bread crumbs as a binder and the most delicious looking charcuterie pie (I want to make it so that I can say 'charcuterie' over and over again to everyone I meet).
So, for me, this book is a life changer.
70 of 78 people found the following review helpful
Great collection of pizza ideas and bonus recipesApril 2 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Jim Lahey, of no-knead bread/ Sullivan Street Bakery fame, has published a gorgeous book he calls "My Pizza". In it, he describes his no-knead approach to pizza dough which is, not surprisingly, practically identical to the bread approach that brought him fame in 2006 when the NY Times food columnist Mark Bittman first wrote about it. While I appreciate how many more people are making good bread at home since they heard about this technique, I have to say I don't entirely understand the no-knead mania. To me, it is a bit like getting excited to find shoes you don't need to tie. A small time savings perhaps, but neither shoe tying nor bread conditioning ever seemed terribly onerous to me. Perhaps this is because I use a middle of the road approach that I learned from the Tartine Bread book. By resting the dough without salt for an hour or so, the amount of time spent conditioning the dough with a few stretches (not kneads) is minimal and sufficient.
I tried Lahey's dough recipe and I had to resist the urge to give the dough even a few stretches. The resulting dough, while acceptable, was still a bit uneven and I am certain even 30-45 seconds of stretching would have improved the dough structure and consistency. Is that too much to ask of a home cook? Mercifully, Lahey devotes about one page to this no-knead dough approach and then moves on to the task at hand: making great pizza.
I'm sounding overly critical of an excellent book on pizza. Jim seems as obsessed with flavor combinations as the best of us pizza cooks. While never fussy with the preparation of the toppings, he is specific about the how and why he has made particular combinations. For example, in the giardinaiera pie, he balances tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, hot chili flakes, arugula and fresh sweet corn. This exquisite vegan creation is purposeful in the things it omits like meat, cheese, and herbs in order to allow the included items be better perceived. Lahey follows few traditions when it comes to pizza. His "pepperoni pie" for example, has no actual cured meat product. Pepperoni is the italian plural of peppers, you see, so this pepperoni pie includes a variety of sweet and hot peppers. Lest you think he has created a book of vegetarian pizzas, I can assure you every other pizza has meat in some form. The charcuterie pie, for example, is a béchamel sauced pizza of knockwurst, bratwurst, sauerkraut and mustard. Prosciutto and lardons make frequent appearances in the book as well.
In trying to re-create the high temperatures of wood fired ovens, he encourages the home cook to pre-heat the pizza stone to 500 degrees or more and then bake the pizza with the broiler on. He aims to cook the pizza in less than 5 minutes this way. You will need to play with your oven to see what it is capable of. Mine seems to work best on the convection setting of 500° as the broiler was not as efficient for me. The pictured pizzas he creates embrace the black char one might associate with using a broiler but not quite the more reserved mahogany char that I get in the wood fired oven. I suppose black char is superior to doughy white pizzas, but it seems a bit excessive at times; for example, the pizza bianco photo on page 112 might more appropriately be titled pizza negro.
In general, his suggestions for pizza toppings are spot on. The balance he suggests in his broccoli rabe pie, for example, with the blend of two cheeses, the broccoli rabe, the béchamel and the heat of the thai chilis is perfect. The commentary next to each pizza about his thought process developing each recipe gives insight into this chef's creative mind.
Also excellent are the recipes he includes for soups, salads, and desserts. A whole section is devoted to "toasts" and the spreads that can be created for them. As a bread baker, I'm always looking for ways to use up my week old bread. I could see a dinner party of nothing more than salad, toasted bread, and toppings like "Garlic scape and lovage pesto" or "White bean and mirepoix spread".
The photos in My Pizza are stunning and mouth watering. Every page made me either hungry or want to cook. There were a couple of photos where the food styling slipped into distracting affectations. For example, on p. 78, the "cauliflower pie" is served on newspaper (who wants ink on their food?) and four pages later, the "corn and tomato pie" is shown sitting on hand made japanese paper (what a waste!). I suppose these indulgences are to be expected in the food grooming world of cookbook photography, but I think they're best when they aren't noticed.
Whether you are hoping to improve your pizza game or this will be the latest addition to your pizza library, you won't be disappointed in "My Pizza" by Jim Lahey. The pizzas are refreshingly new and well conceived while the extra recipes for salads, soups and other courses are an unexpected bonus.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic Collection of Pizza Recipes, Simple MethodApril 21 2012
B. A. Chaney
- Published on Amazon.com
Jim Lahey, the man famous for no knead bread, has a new cookbook, this time dealing with pizza, the main ingredient that has made his NYC restaurant Co. such a success. Jim's recipe for pizza dough is so simple it literally takes 2 minutes to make--flour, water, yeast and salt, all mixed in a big bowl and left to rest overnight. The dough is phenomenal--crispy and chewy with a wonderful taste and texture. Jim also takes the home cook through a technique, using a pizza stone and the broiler, to get restaurant style pizza crusts at home. The results are wonderful and fast--I never thought I could have hot pizza after 4 minutes in the oven!
But what really makes this book fantastic are the flavor combinations on the pizzas in the chapters following the crust. The book has three chapters of pizza--red sauce, white sauce, and no sauce. I cooked from this book with a group of friends and we made pizzas from each chapter and there wasn't a bad one in the bunch. From a simple margherita made with fresh hand crushed tomato sauce (again, a super simple recipe), to ham and cheese pie with prosciutto, to a stellar caramelized onion pie with lardons, the flavor combinations were all stellar. The book also includes a salad and dessert section, although these almost feel like an afterthought compared to the detail and attention in the pizza chapters.
All in all this is a winner. I would definitely recommend it to pizza fans!
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
so worth itMay 20 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
this book is worth it for the basic dough recipe alone, and just gets better from there. i've tried more dough recipes than i can count in the years after i realized almost no take-out pizza would do (certainly none here in cabo san lucas). all were too sweet, too bread-y, too crunchy, too flavorless... the author REALLY loves pizza, and shows us foodies what makes authentic pizza authentic, like what you get in italy. if you need buckets of sauce, pounds of cheese and layers upon layers of toppings, i urge you to try these relatively spare but so delicious proportions before adding more of whatever you like. great book for any pizza-holic.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
He did it again!March 21 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
When I ordered this book I wondered whether I would be able to make pizza that looked like this....well, Jim Lahey has done it again. He has succeeded in translating a restaurant/professional recipe into home kitchen language. I tried the basic tomato first and it looked and tasted incredible. I then added a few slices of mozzarella to the next one, and it was as good as any that I have ever eaten out. Thank you Jim Lahey.