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July 1, 2024

Another good video from Adam Atkins of Peddling Pizza on how he started his pizza business (YouTube).

I've been following Peddling Pizza for years because it's something I've been dreaming about doing for a long, long time (it'll never happen - but it's fun to dream). It was interesting to learn exactly how Adam bootstrapped everything to get to where he is now.

May 30, 2024

Bake with Jack on YouTube: How to easily handle Bread Dough

This vid came up as a suggested video, and it's pretty good! Are you dough balling skills lacking? Is your dough tearing or lumpy? You should watch this video.

May 17, 2024

Gozney is having a "Summer Sales Event", where you can save $200 on a Dome, $150 off a Dome S1, and $100 off a Roccbox. I goes from May 14th - 28th.

I don't get a kickback or anything for mentioning this, I just think Gozney makes great pizza ovens.

(Wait! I do get a kickback if you purchase a Roccbox from Amazon. So there is that, and it's at the discounted price as well.)

And then over on YouTube, Gozney has been putting out a series called "How To Pizza". They are up to three episodes at this point, and it's part of their GozneyTV playlist. They also have a short trailer up for it.

April 22, 2024

Adam Atkins, aka @PeddlingPizza on Instagram, has a YouTube video up:

Yo! So this one gets asked a lot. “What can I earn as a pizza truck owner?” Well here it is. I’m laying down loads of information of how it started, how to get started and how much I have spent whilst chatting all things business and even make a pizza.

I've always wondered how much folks can earn with this, and I'm super happy he's sharing this with everyone.

February 6, 2024

Gozney, the folks who make the Roccbox and Dome (of which I have one of each and love them both) has two new pizza ovens coming out in March: Arc XL & Arc. The smaller Arc will be able to make 14" pizzas and will sell for $699, while the Arc XL does 16" and will go for $799.

I find these ovens pretty compelling, especially the way the burner is placed and the shape of the flame from it. The Arc is like a big Roccbox with the asthetics of the Dome for half the price. I (probably) won't be purchasing (see above), but I can't wait to try one out. If the quality of these ovens are anything like their current ones, it's going to be great.

See also: a fun video on YouTube where Tom Gozney introduces the Arc & Arc XL. He's a character for sure.

December 15, 2023

Eater on YouTube: How a Massive Bread Factory Produces 150,000 Loaves per Week.

The amount of flour and the machines they are using is a bit mind boggling to me. But I guess I shouldn't be suprised. I wonder what the Hostess factories look like?

Also, the ovens at the end of the video are pretty neat.

Link via Wordloaf.

October 18, 2023

It looks like Gozney has a new pizza oven based off the original Dome (which I still need to write a review of some day. Spoiler: I love it). It's called "Dome S1"

From what I can tell, it's just like the gas Dome but without the airflow pocket for wood burning, and the pipes steamer attachment. It's also $500 USD cheaper. Looks like a nice savings if you wanted to grab the original Dome for a pizza truck or something where you'd be using gas only.

No news on the smaller "Arc" oven that's expected to come out next year.

October 18, 2023

Andrew Janjigian has an excellent interview Addie Roberts, author of 'Secrets of Open Crumb':

I also stopped comparing my doughs to other bakers’ doughs. I would do six hours bulk fermentation because I read somewhere that his or her bread took six hours to ferment. But then when I’d look at my dough after six hours, it didn’t look ready yet. And I would end up with under-fermented bread all the time. So I little by little I would push it 30 minutes more, 30 minutes more, 30 minutes more. And I noticed that the more advanced the fermentation was, the better fermented the bread was. To me “open crumb” [really] means well-fermented bread.

In the sourdough baking community, bakers talk all of the time about [the dangers of] over-fermentation, but nobody [really] talks about under-fermentation. I think that's why people end up with under-fermented bread—because they're afraid of over-fermentation.

You can also follow Addie on Instagram via @breadstalker_.

Pizza Vespa

I kind of want a pizza vespa now. The Pizza Pilgrims got a have very nice setup there.

September 2, 2023

The Washington Post has a trio of articles on pizza:

First up is The Best Pizza in America, Region by Region.

We set out to find the country’s best pizzas, from slice shops in New York City to fancy California-inspired pizzas, gathering favorites from experts, historians and pros around the country. For a more populist view, Washington Post data columnist Andrew Van Dam analyzed 7.5 million Yelp reviews of pizzerias to see which regional-style restaurants attract the most and highest ratings. But who has the best? Well, that’s for you to argue.

The article goes on to list the top five pizza shops in the US for five different styles (NY, Chicago, Detroit, New Haven, and Neapolitan(ish)):

We set out to find the country’s best pizzas, from slice shops in New York City to fancy California-inspired pizzas, gathering favorites from experts, historians and pros around the country.

Next up is an article slicing and dicing a ton of Yelp reviews to try and map the popularity of styles across the US:

Department of Data: The most popular pizza style in every state, mapped

At the other end of the scale, our maps emphatically paint the American South, especially the Deep South, as a pizza desert — though we’ll point out again that we’re ignoring Pizza Hut, Domino’s and other huge, national chains. It’s possible that Alabamians love pizza as much as Pennsylvanians — they just prefer it standardized, homogenized and delivered in 30 minutes or less.

There's a ton of gems in there, and the page provides plenty of maps detailing all kinds of pizza related things in the US. And it of course touches on the "pineapple controversy". (My stance on pineapple - if you like it, go for it. Who am I to judge? It's not like you're putting Swiss cheese or anchovies on a pizza).

And finally, the Washington Post has a map to find the best pizza in your state, by style.

I'm delighted to see that My Friend Derek’s shows up as the #1 Detroit style pizza for Washington State, and as second place overall. (Derek is a former Omni engineer and I'm super jealous of what he's got going on these days). His pizza is top-notch.

However I'm slightly annoyed that The Carlson Block didn't make a showing for Washington. This only goes to show that the method they've used for determining the best pizza can't be completely accurate. These lists are always meaningless when it comes to actual quality, but it does provide a great resource for places to check out.

July 12, 2023

Andrew Janjigian, writing on Wordloaf: Stiffed.

There's a ton of great stuff about starters in here that I wasn't aware of.

More importantly, stiff starters also favor yeast growth over bacterial growth, which means breads made with a stiff starter (particularly one maintained regularly that way) should be milder in flavor/tang than ones made with a liquid one. They can also gain greater lift and/or proof more quickly/reliably, since their yeast populations can be so much more robust.

And later on:

Liquid starters have higher enzymatic activity than stiff ones, which means they can confer greater extensibility to a dough. This makes them the better choice for breads that require extensive manipulation during shaping, like baguettes, bagels, or pizza.

I generally use a stiff starter at around 80% hydration because I've found it's easier to maintain. Maybe I should bump up that hydration a bit to see if my dough does get a bit more extensible.

June 21, 2023

First up is an interview with Anthony Mangieri (of Una Pizza Napoletana) on Special Sauce: Anthony Mangieri & Brian Koppelman Redux. This is a classic Anthony interview, and like all his other interviews, I always pick out some interesting little tidbits or inspiration.

For instance; in the interview Anthony mentioned a new pizza on his menu called "Cosacca". It bakes with tomato sauce, salt, basil and olive oil. And out of the oven it is topped with pecorino romano. I've never tried one of these, but it's now on the list.

Next up is an interview with Sergio Porras of Panned (aka, @PannedFresno on Instagram): Build A Local Following & Sell Out Your First (or Next) Pop Up on the What's Good Dough? podcast.

Sergio Porras is nuts. He's making up to 40 panned pizzas in an Ooni oven, by parbaking them first. I admire the tenacity he's thrown at his business.

June 14, 2023

Here's a a couple of quick pizza reviews since I have them on my mind.

First up, the Margherita from District in San Jose, CA. The pizzas are described as "Made to order using a blend of 00 Caputo and locally milled flours with house-made ingredients".

I believe the part about locally milled flours, but whatever amount of Caputo was in there, you couldn't really find it. The crust was uninspiring, pale, and suffered from large amounts of cornmeal on the bottom. The toppings had no magic and were exceptionally bland. It was one of the worst pizzas I've ever had.

I give the Margherita from District a 1 out of 10.

Next up, and thankfully better, is the Prateria from Vivi Pizzeria in Woodenville, WA.

The Prateria from Vivi
The Prateria from Vivi

While the crust was better than what I had in San Jose, it still wasn't amazing. It certainly could have been cooked longer. And again, the dough was uninspiring, a bit too thick, and nothing to write home about.

The toppings were OK, but too much, and weighed down the pizza in the middle causing it to turn into a bit of a soggy mess. Had the amount of cheese been lighter, and the artichokes cut thinner, I think it would have made a better pizza. Though Vivi doesn't claim the pizza to be Neapolitan style, I got the feeling they were going for it. I feel like it's almost a mass-market style of Neapolitan pizza.

The pizza didn't make me angry or disappointed. It just left me with a complete lack of interest to ever come back.

I give the Prateria from Vivi a 6 out of 10.

June 13, 2023

This hacked together neapolitan oven came across my Instagram feed from (@lilla_napoli) and it instantly made me happy. There's so many choices in ovens these days and they are all mostly great - but there's a special place in my heart for DIY high temp pizza ovens.

May 11, 2023

NYT: New York’s Most Inventive Pizzas Are Cooked Up at Pop-Ups

In a sense, pop-up pizzerias are a byproduct of new technology. The ovens they use, including the electric Breville Pizzaiolo and several models made by Ooni that run on propane or wood pellets, were designed for home use and introduced during the past decade, at prices under $1,000. (Most commercial deck ovens cost many times as much.) These devices have allowed a batch of self-taught pizza makers to storm a tradition-bound business that hasn’t always been easy for outsiders to break into. Two of the most avidly followed pop-ups in the city are run by women, which is still unusual at brick-and-mortar pizzerias.

Kind of weird not to see Gozney ovens like the Roccbox or Dome mentioned, since I see their pizza peels in the photographs and my instagram feed is full of popups using Gozney products. But, maybe it's not a New York thing?

Dominos and Dark Patterns

Dominos (and Pizza Hut) use dark patterns, UX tricks and design psychology to overcharge customers.

Forget 'Big Pharma', I'll demonstrate how (and why) 'Big Pizza' do the following:

From Wikipedia:

A dark pattern (also known as a "deceptive design pattern") is "a user interface that has been carefully crafted to trick users into doing things, such as buying overpriced insurance with their purchase or signing up for recurring bills".

April 23, 2023

I've never made Detroit style pizza before, up until yesterday that is. I'm not sure why I haven't before or why I decided now was the time, but it finally happened, and it was good! Also, very filling.

For the dough I used Cairnspring Mill's Trailblazer at 72% hydration, 2.5% starter, and 2.5% salt. Made the dough 24 hours before, and let it rise in a couple of pans about 4 hours before I cooked it.

Detroit Style Pizza

The oven was at 550° when I cooked the first pizza, and it came out a bit burnt (I used a 8"x4" pan. No, it wasn't a Lloyd's pan. Yes, I know all about them).

Detroit Style Pizza

But even a little burnt, it was super tasty. The edges were amazing, as they were supposed to be. I added a bit of cheddar around the rim so that the extra fat would go down and give it … well the Detroit taste.

Detroit Style Pizza

A bit too much dough in this size pan though (290g).

I lowered the temp of the oven to 525° waited a little bit and threw the second one in (290g in an 8"x8" pan):

Detroit Style Pizza

Less burning, but still not 100% where I wanted it as there was just a bit too much char on the edges.

Detroit Style Pizza

But I mean, it looked good! And it tasted good!

Detroit Style Pizza

I only had two pans to pre-make the dough for, but I still had some dough balls for my usual neo-style pizzas, so I took one of those and threw it in the 8"x8" pan and stretched it as well as I could. I also lowered the oven temp down to 510°. I threw on some basil, a little bit of salami, and then mushrooms. This one came out almost where I wanted the pizzas to be. Honestly I was a bit surprised they all turned out as well as they did considering this was the first time I've tried it (and I was basically winging everything).

Detroit Style Pizza

The only thing that felt off about it was the corners. Since the dough didn't have time to proof any in the pan, it didn't get to spread out enough IMO. But - after having the first bite, it was my favorite of the night.

Detroit Style Pizza

Do I prefer it over Neapolitan style pizza? No, but it was still pretty awesome and I'll try it again. I'm also curious if I could bake it in my toaster oven and have it come out just as good? That'll be a test for another time.

Devoured Pop-Up

Kansas City, small communities, a couple of Rocbox, and pizza. Chef Jhy makes it happen.

March 15, 2023

We've got a yellow Playdate, a yellow Rivian, a new yellow iPhone, and now a limited edition yellow Roccbox:

I'm sensing a trend.

February 15, 2023

I made a couple of amazing loafs yesterdy inspired by Maurizio Leo's Dark Chocolate-Cherry Sourdough Bread recipie (inspired, because I was too lazy to follow his instructions).

Dark chocolate cherry sourdough

It's mostly whole wheat, I've already forgotten what hydration was (maybe about 85%?), and mostly Cairnspring Mills flour. I say mostly, because I dumped a whole bunch of leftover flours together and … tada! Bread.

I'm already planning on my next bake with dark chocolate chips + cherries. It was sooo good.