Baking bread is mysterious enough. But creating truly great pizza--the transformation of next to nothing into something extraordinary--is downright alchemical. It is for no small reason that there are distinct words in Italian for those disciples of these mystic arts who bake pizza and focaccia, pizzaiolo
. Peter Reinhart, he who gave us Brother Juniper's Bread Book
and the multi-award winning The Bread Baker's Apprentice
, takes the reader of American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza
right into the heart of the matter.
Reinhart begins his inquiry into pizza with his baseline palate memory for what a great pizza should be. As a teenager he had worked in a pizzeria, Mama's, and instinctively knew this pie to be the best. Returning as an adult years later, he discovered otherwise. Had he changed, or had the pizza changed? Both, it happened, were true.
So what is the nature of perfection, and where do you go to find it? In the case of Peter Reinhart, this journey includes travels through Italy and across the US. This is Part One of the book, called The Hunt. It's not the most enlivening travel writing, which would have helped elevate the insights into the nature of great pizza and the people who make it happen. But it's only a third of the entire package. The best is yet to come. In Part Two: The Recipes, Reinhart comes entirely into his own. Here is the master at work. Chapters include "The Family of Doughs", "Sauces and Specialty Toppings," and "The Pizzas." Reinhart gives you the building blocks, no matter what your kitchen, tools, and oven might be like. And then he unfolds the roadmap--pizzas from the strictly classical to the strictly whimsical.
Work diligently with American Pie and in time you will be able to call yourself, without hesitation or rising color, pizzaiolo and focacciaiolo. --Schuyler Ingle
From the Publisher
A fascinating look into the great pizzas and pizzerias of Italy and America.
Includes in-depth pizza-making techniques; more than 40 classic pizza recipes; and an engaging narrative of Reinharts pizza hunts with such food luminaries as Rick Bayless, Jeffrey Steingarten, and Joanne Weir.
Peter Reinharts last book, THE BREAD BAKERS APPRENTICE, was named Cookbook of the Year by both the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.