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pizza stones
Jul 13

Best Pizza Stones & Baking Steels [Buyer’s Review Guide]

By admin | Review

A good baking stone is key for delicious homemade pizza.

A quality pizza stone or steel takes your oven to the next level, absorbing and radiating intense heat to create a flavorful crisp crust on pizzas and bread. The biggest knock on homemade pizza is the crust is always lacking. The key to a crispy and flavorful crust is intense high heat over a brief period of time. Meaning, you need a good pizza oven, or a surface (steel or stone) that will radiate the ideal heat for a crust.

Your oven alone won't cut the mustard...

In the good 'ol days pizzas were prepared in block stoves, so they didn't generally require a heating stone or steel. When broilers were introduced into the pizza making crowd it provided better heat and convenience than traditional brick ovens. That’s when the pizza stone turned into a necessary cooking device. 

What most people overlook when making pizza at home, is thinking their oven alone will be enough to yield a good final product. The problem is, at best, the average oven will heat to around 500°F; sounds hot right? But consider a brick fired oven, it will burn at around 800°F.  That's right, the key to you're delicious thin crust pizza is 800°F for about 90 seconds. It's no wonder why the conventional oven alone falls short.

The stones and steels in this lineup are highly recommended in tests conducted searching for the best favor and crust texture. Products came out uniformly crusted and evenly cooked – I'm getting hungry thinking about it.

Pizza Stones VS Baking Steels

Instead of mulling over installing a wood-fired oven in your backyard, cooking on a pizza steel or pizza stone will work wonders for making a crispy pizza that levels with your favorite pizza place.

amazing crust

Now, that's a crust.

Pizza stones or baking stones are commonly made from ceramic or cordierite. They may be good conductors of heat but they don't transfer heat nearly as quickly as pizza steels. However, foods cooked on a pizza stone will cook evenly but they will require longer cooking.

Pizza steels are nearly indestructible, very durable and can last a lifetime. However, they require some level of care. It benefits from being seasoned from time to time. Steels are immune to thermal shock and won't shatter or break.

Stones

pros

  • Burns hotter that steels
  • Holds stable temperatures
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    Affordable
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    Little maintenance/upkeep
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    Light weight

cons

  • Susceptible to thermal shock
  • Proper cleaning is a must
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    Takes a while to heat up

Steels

pros

  • Preheats quickly
  • Transfers heat quickly
  • Good over various heat sources
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    Durable
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    Cools quickly

cons

  • More expensive than a stone
  • Requires precise seasoning
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    Heavy

All in all, we like steels over stones

When it comes down to it, I prefer the crust from a steel over a stone.

A quality steel will yield a more bubbly crust with the a hint of the charred flavor you get from a brick oven. With that being said, it's not all upside when working with a steel, it does require that you have a good understanding of proper seasoning methods. Without a precise season a steel will under-perform. Additionally, they are heavy, really heavy; some weigh in at upwards of 20 lbs. Now as it relates to cost, a steel will cost you about three times more than a stone, but it will outlast most everything in your kitchen. 

5 Best Baking Steels & Stones

Old Stone
Oven Rectangular

This pizza stone is made of Cordierite clay which heats up quickly and evenly.

Old Stone is the ultimate, and the only homemade pizza buddy you’ll ever need. If you’re making the perfect pizza for a movie night or date night at home, you can’t just throw in the pizza dough in the oven.

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Rules to make the best homemade pizza
May 30

Rules to make the best homemade pizza

By admin | Pizza

Pizzas are pizzas and nothing else can be its parallel. It is one of the fastest growing industries in the world of food. Statistics on pizza consumption have experienced dramatic increments with the progression of time.

However, commercial pizzas are not the only thing we can enjoy. Homemade pizzas are getting immense popularity with a multitude of recipes showing up every now and then. The best part about homemade food is that we can add our own creativity into it.

Nevertheless, here are some rules that must be followed in order to get the best homemade pizza you can ever have:

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What are the different kind of pizza flavors?
May 30

What are the different kind of pizza flavors?

By admin | Pizza

The Most Popular Pizza Flavors and Styles?

The beauty of pizza is that it comes in so many topping variations you are free to create the flavors which best meet your momentary cravings.

Pizza may originally come from Italy (in one form, or another), but it’s now one of the most popular dishes in existence – all over the world. In fact, the worldwide pizza market is estimated to be about $128 billion; not bad for a meal that usually has just three basic ingredients.

Pizza is one of those foods where there is nearly no consensus on which of the many, many styles and toppings out there is the best. Sure, most people are happy with the tried-and-true cheese pizza, made of dough, sauce and cheese only. Maybe throw some pepperoni on there if you want some topping but don’t want to get carried away or too controversial.

But there’s really an endless amount of options for pizza styles out there – almost too many to choose from. And virtually wherever your travels may take you, you’re likely to come across a new style of pizza you’ve never tried before.


Popular toppings by country

India: pickled ginger, minced mutton, and paneer (a form of cottage cheese)

 

Russia: mockba (a combination of sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon, and onions), red herring
Brazil: green peas

 

Japan: eel, squid, and Mayo Jaga (mayonnaise, potato, bacon)

 

France: flambée (bacon, onion, fresh cream)

 

Pakistan: curry

 

Australia: pineapple, shrimp, barbecue sauce

 

Costa Rica: coconut

 

United States: pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage, green pepper, onion, and extra cheese

 


In appreciation of the simple, gourmet, savory, and endlessly-customizable delicacy that is pizza, here are some of the most popular types of pizza out there, from the classic to the adventurous and innovative.

Nevertheless, pizza itself comes in a variety of flavors. Gone are the days when it used to come in limited amount of flavors committing itself to the old traditions. Now we have countless options to choose from. Here are some of the flavors that people all around the world can enjoy:

Plain Ol’ Cheese

Okay, this is so easy it’s almost not its own style…but for many people, cheese pizza is the only real kind of pizza out there.

Consisting of dough, tomato sauce and a bit of mozzarella, provolone or even Parmesan, it’s the tried-and-true rendition of the Italian pizza we’ve all come to know and love – a hot, chewy, slightly gooey classic you can get at the local pizza joint, at a fancy gourmet shop, or frozen. Extra cheese makes it that much gooier and tastier.

Pepperoni

A classic. Just throw a few (or a ton of) slices of pepperoni on top of the cheese, and you’ll soon have a greasy, slightly spicy and delicious pizza that you simply can’t go wrong with.

traditional pepperoni pizza

Pepperoni Pizza

Tastes good both from the local pizza joint and as a gourmet meal – and super easy to make at home. Pepperoni pizza is specifically famous in the West (America, Canada, and Mexico). Pepperoni is an American version of salami – made from cured beef and pork – and you’d probably never find it in Italy –  but that doesn’t mean it’s any less good. This meat is cut into circular pieces and placed on pizza as a form of topping.

Double cheese pizza

This is one of the most popular pizza flavors all across the globe, preferred particularly by vegetarians that comes with a double thick layer of cheese. It is even preferred by cheese lovers. Extra layers of cheese is what makes it appealing, delicious and lip smacking. It fits in perfectly with the definition of pizza since originally they were meant to be ‘cheesy’ in nature.

Neapolitan (and Margherita) Pizza

Neapolitan pizza is the classic Italian pizza we all think of – the original, and the one that led to the rise of the classic New York-style.

marghertia style pizza

Margherita Pizza

Originating in the city of Naples (where it gets the name), it’s made with San Marzano tomatoes and Mozzarella Cheese, on a wheat flour pizza dough with high protein content. The mozzarella cheese must also be Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, which is made from the water buffalo that live in the marshlands of Campania and Lazio, Italy.

The Margherita is a popular variation found throughout Italy, which uses San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella fior di latte, and topped with fresh basil leaves, salt and a drizzle of olive oil. If you’re looking for the most authentic Italian pizza style, this is it.

California Style

California style pizza (sometimes called Gourmet) is another popular one in the US but is unique in that’s not one combination of ingredients; instead, it follows a California tradition –topping the pizza with fresh, in-season ingredients sourced locally, often the day-of.

Gourmet

Gourmet Style Pizza

Some popular toppings might be fresh hand-picked tomatoes, red peppers, lettuce and other greens, capers, and gourmet cheeses such as goat cheese. More adventurous types might like the heat of jalapenos and other hot peppers. This style of pizza was invented at Chez Pannise, a famous California eatery, and led to the rise of the famed California Pizza Kitchen.

This is another flavor popular amongst vegetarians. 

Peppy paneer

Peppy Paneer is a popular style in South Asian cuisine; paneer is a cheese cube made from pure milk, and peppy paneer pizza pairs it with spicy red peppers, onion and other vegetables, as well as flavorful and spicy sauces. It can be eaten on its own – as pizza usually is – or as a starter, alongside fried rice.

BBQ chicken

This is one of those flavors that pizza purists hate, but BBQ chicken is popular in the US. First invented at California Pizza Kitchen, this variety of pizza sees Hot BBQ Chicken sliced up and spread on the pizza, paired with drizzles of barbecue sauce on the cheese. In the Southern and Midwestern US, you might even eat it dipped into Ranch dressing.

Mushrooms and Onions

Some people like onions on their pizza alone, but the classic combination is mushrooms and onions together is even better. These two savory toppings create a delicious, aromatic and robustly-exquisite pizza that might send the more risk-averse pizza lovers running but rewards the gourmet types among us.

Hawaiian Pizza/Pineapple

Pineapple pizza is, like BBQ chicken, one of the more controversial choices in the pizza world.

pineapple pizza

Hawaiin Pizza

Some love the juicy, tropical sweetness that chunks of pineapple add to the savoriness of sauce and cheese. Others can’t stand the total clash of cuisines and flavors. True Hawaiian pizza also includes back bacon or – more commonly outside of Hawaii – ham. Talk about some contradictory, unusual flavor combinations. While Hawaiian pizza can be found at virtually any pizza shop or restaurant, and has some dedicated fans, it’s also often voted as one of the least-popular pizza flavors out there.

While this is a fairly extensive list of pizza combinations, it is not a catchall collaboration. When it comes to adding toppings to pizza feel free to experiment. Take some of these topping combinations and create a hybrid version of pizza all your own. Remember, when creating something new there’s no limits! Happy trails as you create your very own Artisan Pizza!

The hype behind artisan pizza
May 30

The hype behind artisan pizza

By admin | Pizza

Pizzas are everywhere. In fact, it is one of the most successful industries amongst the arena of food and within them lies the exceptionality of artisan pizza. It has become so popular in the food world then we cannot even consider it as a trend anymore. But the real question is: what makes a pie artisan?

Some may answer that artisan pizzas require a fluffy crust, organic sauce and a lot of tomatoes. But the reality lies in the diversity of artisan pizzas. There is number of ways in which it can be made and different people follow different recipes. This is why it is so popular, it is creative! However, here are some aspects that must be taken into account:

Change up the crust

Pizza’s base is known as the crust. There is a lot to experiment with the crust but you need to be sure from where to start. Since artisan pizzas can be all about being gluten-free, many chefs make pizza crust using cauliflower, broccoli and quinoa. One can even try sourdough for pizza with addition of some tang. Pretzel bread can be used as well.

It is all about baking

Traditional chefs are stuck towards traditional ways to make pizza but it is fortunate to know that conventional ovens are not the only solutions for baking. Brick ovens are very popular when it comes to baking artisan pizzas. This style infuses a smoky flavor and gives crust an amazing char. Other methods that one can take into account is to use a pizza stone in traditional oven or even baking pie on grill. There is a lot that chef can do that doesn’t comply with the traditional standards. One thing that can be said about artisan pizzas: be creative, be delicious!

Cheese is the essence

Pizzas without cheese are not complete pizzas and the world accepts this fact. Mozzarella has always been the essential item as a pizza topping, however, artisan pizzas have forced chefs to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. It has encouraged them to add soft cheese like ricotta and try other personalized methods as well. However, there is one rule that needs to be complied with. When mixing and matching cheeses, it is imperative that a variety is used that melts well. Choose cheese that has the ability to add its own flavor.

The hype behind artisan pizza is genuine. The reason why it is so popular are mentioned above in an indirect manner. Artisan pizzas are not in line with the old traditions and conventions and it encourages pizza-makers to try something new. Something that is not in line with the current pizza-industry trends. This is what makes it so unique relative to other types of pizza. Its popularity is justified. Moreover, there is more room for personalization and innovation. Even though there are some set rules, it is possible for chefs to infuse new things, and this is why there is so hype about it.

real mexican pizza
Jun 25

ELOTES PIZZA + A REVOLUTIONARY PIZZA COOKBOOK REVIEW

By admin | Recipe

A True Mexican Pizza 

real mexican pizza

There’s something pretty amazing about corn in all it’s summer glory, smothered in a creamy sauce, fresh herbs, cheese and butter, am I right? What is amazing on it’s own in this case translates itself to one brilliant pizza. If  I’m honest, any pizza that also has loads of  cilantro, cotija cheese, a squeeze of lime and sprinkling of chili salt  is going to be my friend.

This recipe, found in the newly released, Revolutionary Pizza: Bold Pies That Will Change Your Life… And Dinner by Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau of Chicago’s famed Dimo’s Pizza has kind of revolutionized the way I’m looking at pizza these days. The book full of unique and mind blowing recipes for pizzas named, “Vindaloo”, “Build Me Up, Butternut”, “Blueberry Chipotle Figs”, “Chicken N Waffles”, “Poutine” (OMG!!!) “Falafel” and “Rodeo Burger”, has some serious chops.  Short of a visit to Chicago, I have every plan to immerse myself in the Dimo’s experience and think I’ll be making more than my fair share of these lovelies this summer.

The beauty of the book lies in it’s simple yet super creative use of toppings and is so approachable that anyone, regardless of your skill in the kitchen can make a pizza that leaves you gobsmacked at the first bite.

book cover

I strongly urge you to get your hands on it and get crackin in the kitchen this summer. Pizza is quite simply a food for all seasons, and if it’s too hot where you are to turn on your oven, move it on outside to the grill and get your grub on. The only trouble you’ll have is seriously choosing which of these pizzas to make first.

Elotes Pizza Recipe

Servings
4

Ingredients

  • For the pizza dough
  • 1 C. plus 1 T. cold water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 C. high-gluten flour
  •  Cornmeal and flour for rolling
  • For the topping:
  • 4-5 ears of corn, shucked and brushed with olive oil
  • 1/2 C. Mexican crema (sour cream)
  • 2 T. fresh lime juice
  • 2 bunches fresh cilantro (divided)
  • 1 tsp. chili salt
  • 1/4 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 T. melted butter
  • 3/4 C. cotija cheese

Servings: 

Instructions

Dough Instructions

  1. Prepare the dough first. In a mixer combine the water, salt, sugar and oil. Whisk together by hand. Add in the yeast and quickly whisk, then immediately add the flour. Mix a medium speed using a dough hook for 10 min. until dough ball forms.
  2. Add a small amount of additional flour if the dough is too sticky. Cut the dough into two equal sized portions and knead with your hands about 10 times to get out any air bubbles. Shape into a ball as you knead, the surface should be smooth.
  3. Set aside and cover it with a moist towel. Repeat with the other portion. Let rise for a minimum of 2 hours. They should rise to twice their original size. Use one of the portions to make the pizza and refrigerate, freeze or make another pizza with the remaining dough. Shape and stretch dough into a 12-14 inch round and place on a pizza peel lined with parchment. Preheat your oven with a pizza stone at 500 degrees, while making the toppings.

Pizza Instructions

  1. Grill the corn until it blisters about 10-15 minutes total. Let cool and cut off the cob.
  2. In a food processor combine the creme, lime juice, 1 of the cilantro bunches and chili salt.
  3. Sprinkle the cheese over the pizza evenly then spread 1/4 to 1/2 of the sauce over the top depending on how saucy you like your pizza.
  4. Distribute the corn evenly. Carefully move the pizza from the peel to the preheated stone and bake for 10-12 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.
  5. Remove from the oven, drizzle over extra sauce and the melted butter. Scatter the remaining bunch of cilantro over the top, with the cotija cheese, more chili salt and an additional spritz of lime if you desire. Slice and serve.