January 16, 2003
Pizza Redemption
posted by Carl
sardine pizza

Just to assure myself that I'm not a complete klutz in the kitchen, I went ahead and made pizza again, correcting my mistakes of the past. This time I didn't put the oven on broil, I left it at 500°. I made sure that the pizza stone was on the bottom rack of the oven instead of resting on the oven floor. If you remember last time, I also had a problem with the cheese slipping off the pizza. I solved this problem by making sure that the layer of cheese extended beyond the layer of sauce which would bind the cheese to the crust rather than having it slide willy-nilly over the sauce.

Another reason to make pizza was to try out our new decorative pizza stone that Nadia got for Christmas. Our existing one is just a plain square clay tile, but this new one is round, made of soapstone, and is ringed by a band of copper with handles. (Actually, it's this one.) It has a slight lip around the edge, so instead of plopping the assembled pizza onto a hot stone in the oven, we assembled the pizza on a warmish stone and then put the whole combination into the oven.

There was enough dough for two pizzas and the comparison between the two stones proved interesting. The clay stone put out a standard pizza whereas the soapstone one produced more of a thin crust pizza. The dough was exactly the same but the pizza on the soapstone hardly rose at all in the oven. I'm guessing that this is due to the soapstone not being as hot as the clay throughout the cooking time. Fortunately, this difference proved to be very much in line with our choice of toppings. The traditional stone got a "traditional" pizza of tomato sauce, cheese, and sardines -- not everybody's tradition, but no less delicious. The fancy soapstone got a modern topping of mushrooms, goat cheese, garlic, and olive oil which would have been out of place on anything but a thin crust pizza. I've been looking for a way to make flat bread pizzas -- the kind made famous by Al Forno of Providence, RI -- and I may have found just the thing with this new pizza stone.