Pizza book

Started by Smokedham, February 21, 2023, 02:40:37 AM

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Smokedham

Hi guys, between these books or any other options, what are your top two suggestions for becoming a pizzaiolo?
1_ The pizza bible
2_ The Elements of pizza
3_ The bread bible
4_ pizza_more than 225 recipe for delicious homemade pizza
5_ pizza and wine
6_ mastering pizza
7_ flour water salt yeas
8_ passionate about pizza
9_ passion for pizza
10_ what's your sign for pizza

Jackitup

I'd go with 1 and 7, and The PMF as number1!!!!!!
Jon

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JeffShoaf

If you're looking to get started with a high-temp pizza oven, I'd say to just rely on this forum to get started, then go back to any suggested books to get a firmer foundation in the science behind the dough. The few books I own are geared towards lower temperature home ovens and didn't help me much when I started getting serious about making pizza and got the 750° F Breville Piazziola.

Pizza_Not_War

Library, read all you can for free and buy what you think is best. It will help you sift out the high volume of things you read on the Forum.

jsaras

Definitely not 3-5 and 8-10. 

There's nothing better than the school of hard knocks and the accompanying joy of discovery.  I'd suggest making a Lehmann dough at 61% hydration (without oil or sugar at first) kneaded by hand.  You can move on to mechanical mixing in subsequent tries and add other elements until you arrive at what you're looking for in your ideal pizza. 
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Heizeenberg

I have 1,2,6,7 at home.

Flour Water Salt Yeast was definitely a kickstart for me in terms of bread making, then I purchased Elements of Pizza which was also great.

I love Ken Forkish's methods and I still use them to this day, but I gotta say that since joining the forum I started to change my techniques a bit to achieve more interesting pizzas. I think he's a more accomplished baker than he is a pizzaiolo.

The Pizza Bible book is pretty good, but I haven't gotten a chance to test the recipes yet.

But I will agree with Jeff - For those who own a pizza oven, these books might not give you perfect recipes for your situation, since they are leaning more toward lower temp home ovens.

TXCraig1

Nothing wrong with reading pizza books, but they will never be a substitute for experience which is far and away the most important element of great pizza.

This is to say, don't get so caught up in trying to learn how to make the best pizza from books, internet, etc. that you keep putting off making pizza until you think you have all the information. You'll learn more from making pizza when you don't know what you're doing that you ever will from a book. Use what you learn in the books to help make the adjustments to your process to get your pizza where you want it to be.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Davydd

Pizza books are not a substitute for experience but can be a shortcut from making mistakes.

Ken Forkish, Elements of Pizza, is a good book for beginners. It is heavy on home oven baking and most of the recipes reflect that. I haven't found a good book on home specific outdoor pizza ovens like the Ooni, Roccbox, Halo, Carbon, Bertello, Pizza Party discussed in this forum. Is there any?
Pizza and Pursuing breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches are my food passions.

I have and used a Chefman HomeSlice, Breville Crispy Crust, Pizzaque and Bertello Napoli, and of course a home oven range.

Samson

The Joy of Pizza by Dan Richer and Pizza Czar by Anthony Falco I find to be good resources. Pizza Camp is also good but I don't know if it's as instructional for beginners as the others, I think it's more recipe based.

I haven't read most of the books on that list so can't say if they are better or worse, but if you haven't looked into these yet you should consider them.

Howitzer21

UK's Scott Deley just put out a book specifically for Ooni ovens (but will work with any high-temp ovens)

https://scottspizzaproject.com/my-new-pizza-book/

It's not as detailed as Vetri's Mastering Pizza or any of Ken Forkish's books (FWSY, Elements of Pizza). But he has a few dough recipes (NP, NY, tonda romana, DSP) based on 24hr RT ferment (I think) and one sauce recipe. I haven't made the NP dough recipe, but have been wanting to try out a 24 hour RT ferment dough, so I'll probably give it a whirl soon.

+1 for Joy of Pizza by Dan Richer.
Also, Bread Science by Emily Buehler if you want to get into the science of bread/gluten/yeast. It's very technical but a good read, especially if you dabble with any breadmaking.
-Zack

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TXCraig1

I would say that it's all but certain that if you buy a book thinking it will have a dough recipe that will improve your pizza, you will be very disappointed.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Howitzer21

Quote from: TXCraig1 on February 21, 2023, 12:44:53 PM
I would say that it's all but certain that if you buy a book thinking it will have a dough recipe that will improve your pizza, you will be very disappointed.

I'm a super amateur, so if there's a recipe that introduces a technique that I've not tried, or am accustom to, it could improve my pizza. I haven't tried a 24hr RT ferment, so having a recipe geared for a high-heat oven is a nice place to start that experiment.

With that said, I know I'm not going to become Tony G or Chris B after reading their books. I am entertained reading the author's point of view, history, any technique tips they give along the way.

YMMV
-Zack

TXCraig1

Quote from: Howitzer21 on February 21, 2023, 01:01:41 PM
I'm a super amateur, so if there's a recipe that introduces a technique that I've not tried, or am accustom to, it could improve my pizza. I haven't tried a 24hr RT ferment, so having a recipe geared for a high-heat oven is a nice place to start that experiment.

With that said, I know I'm not going to become Tony G or Chris B after reading their books. I am entertained reading the author's point of view, history, any technique tips they give along the way.

YMMV

You don't need to buy a book for any of that. It's all here, and unlike a book that has to be written to give the best results for a wide range of users, people here can help fine-tune recipes and techniques to your unique environment.

Like I said above, there is nothing wrong with reading pizza books. Just don't expect any dough secrets because there aren't any - not in pizza books or anyplace else for that matter.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Davydd

If you know it all and just want to read a fiction murder mystery series centered on an amateur lady sleuth who happens to own a pizza parlour, Chris Cavender wrote a four book series, starting with Rest in Pizza.
Pizza and Pursuing breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches are my food passions.

I have and used a Chefman HomeSlice, Breville Crispy Crust, Pizzaque and Bertello Napoli, and of course a home oven range.

Timpanogos Slim

Quote from: TXCraig1 on February 21, 2023, 01:10:47 PM
You don't need to buy a book for any of that. It's all here, and unlike a book that has to be written to give the best results for a wide range of users, people here can help fine-tune recipes and techniques to your unique environment.

Like I said above, there is nothing wrong with reading pizza books. Just don't expect any dough secrets because there aren't any - not in pizza books or anyplace else for that matter.

One of my early realizations a an amateur baker is that your exact process, which is heavily dependent on your familiarity with the ingredients and tools, is at least as important as the recipe on paper, and your exact selection of ingredients.

Which is to say that just having some "good" or "the best" ingredients and a "good" or "the best" recipe isn't even all that good of a starting point if you don't have any experience.

Baking even the simplest of cookies has a launch-and-pray aspect that is unforgiving, that no amount of stove-top cookery can prepare you for. Add fermentation, hydration ratios vs. how different flours take hydration, fermentation, elasticity / extensibility? There's no replacement for practice, contemplation, and analysis. Nobody can tell you how to do it, let alone write a book that tells you how to do it.

So it's infinitely better if people start simple, take notes on what they did, what went well, what didn't, analyze it, and then pick something to improve for the next try.

National chain restaurants have armies of food scientists who can figure out how to get it down to a strict list of instructions and carefully regimented ingredients that will be as consistent as humanly possible, and even then you have to have people with some kind of actual capability of following those instructions.

There are many kinds of pizza, and *Most of them can be really good.
- Eric

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bjk

Quote from: jsaras on February 21, 2023, 10:46:32 AM
Definitely not 3-5 and 8-10. 

There's nothing better than the school of hard knocks and the accompanying joy of discovery.  I'd suggest making a Lehmann dough at 61% hydration (without oil or sugar at first) kneaded by hand.  You can move on to mechanical mixing in subsequent tries and add other elements until you arrive at what you're looking for in your ideal pizza.

Read all the books that interest you but only if you're following this advice first. I'm new to pizza as well and I'm approaching it the same way I've approached anything I've become very good at. Starting simple. Learning the basics and fundamentals. Building a foundation. I'm only using a home oven right now but making dough by hand and sticking to just flour, water, salt, and yeast at 60% hydration. When I feel like I know that well enough I will add something to see what it changes. I personally couldn't get into The Pizza Bible but really enjoy Mastering Pizza. Other than that, I have never read anything else on your list.

Timpanogos Slim

#16
Quote from: jsaras on February 21, 2023, 10:46:32 AM
Definitely not 3-5 and 8-10. 

There's nothing better than the school of hard knocks and the accompanying joy of discovery.  I'd suggest making a Lehmann dough at 61% hydration (without oil or sugar at first) kneaded by hand.  You can move on to mechanical mixing in subsequent tries and add other elements until you arrive at what you're looking for in your ideal pizza.

Are there some good resources online about mixing and kneading dough by hand? I literally don't know what to suggest to people.

In about 1985 i stood next to my dad in the kitchen and he showed me how to make bread in a Bosch Universal that looked just like mine, except his had a green knob and mine has a brown knob.

Of course i know how to knead dough, but the whole process with just hands in a bowl? Never done it.
There are many kinds of pizza, and *Most of them can be really good.
- Eric

foreplease

Quote from: Howitzer21 on February 21, 2023, 12:36:00 PM
Also, Bread Science by Emily Buehler if you want to get into the science of bread/gluten/yeast. It's very technical but a good read, especially if you dabble with any breadmaking.
This came well recommended by someone I respect here. If you purchase it, get it from Amazon rather than from the author's web site. I paid for an electronic copy at her web site primarily because I wanted her to get more of the proceeds. After several failed attempts to download it, I gave up. Soon thereafter I was distracted by a medical problem and forgot about it until I saw it mentioned here.
-Tony

fitzgen

Seconding the library suggestion.


When I first got my pizza oven I borrowed every pizza book my library had (this was before I found this site as well). Most are not great.


The best was definitely The Joy of Pizza by Dan Richer. Really rigorous. Includes grading rubrics for what he is looking for in olive oil, sauce, cheese, and finished pizza. None of the others have that kind of attention to detail. Also it actually has instructions for how to operate wood fired ovens and dough variations for high temp ovens (whether wood fired or otherwise) if that matters to you. Most everything else is assuming a home oven.


Most pizza books are topping combination encyclopedias, which isn't really very interesting or enlightening. The only pizza book from this category that I actually liked was Bonci's which was organized by season and had very inventive combinations and toppings.

jsaras

Quote from: Timpanogos Slim on February 21, 2023, 11:53:45 PM
Are there some good resources online about mixing and kneading dough by hand? I literally don't know what to suggest to people.

In about 1985 i stood next to my dad in the kitchen and he showed me how to make bread in a Bosch Universal that looked just like mine, except his had a green knob and mine has a brown knob.

Of course i know how to knead dough, but the whole process with just hands in a bowl? Never done it.


https://youtu.be/HoY7CPw0E1s
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

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