The Pizza Bible by Tony Gemignani
$17.54 at Amazon ($12.79 Kindle)
Although I’ve had a pizza stone for years, I’d never actually made a pizza. The whole process just seemed a bit more involved than I was ready for.
This book does a great job of telling you exactly what to do; with no pizza-making experience whatsoever I had no difficulty in following along and making my first pizzas. I did end up making some substitutions (I used the bread flour I had on hand rather than the specific flour types the author recommends, and just used mozzarella cheese instead of multiple types) but the pizzas still turned out great. I also used just one pizza stone, rather than the
two he suggests. I did end up having to buy a few newitems – all the measurements are given in grams, and a digital scale (which this book pushed me into finally buying) and palm scale (that will register down to 0.01 grams) are both helpful if you’re trying to be exact. Aside from the scales, you’ll need at least one pizza stone, a pizza peel, and a stand mixer; any other specialty equipment you lack can be worked around (but I think the straight-edged dough cutter is going to be very worth it). More troublesome was the list of ingredients – semolina and diastatic malt weren’t to be found at my usual grocery store, and I had to order the malt off Amazon – but the basic ingredients weren’t too outlandish or expensive. Just be aware that you may have to do a little bit of hunting around before you can get started.
After an introduction to the tools and ingredients, the first chapter teaches you two make two pizzas over three days. The rest of the book is filled with recipes for various styles of pizza, plus a few other things you can do with pizza dough (such as calzones). It’s a very personal book, with frequent asides from the author about why he does such and such and his experiences at pizza competitions around the world.
My first pizzas weren’t the best I’ve ever had (and certainly weren’t perfect circles!), but they were pretty good. I expect to get a fair bit of use out of this book, and have no trouble recommending it.
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book through the Blogging for Books program.