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Customer Review

56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid book, extensive pizza recipes, September 23, 2011
This review is from: Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I also own the original "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes," so I was looking forward to seeing how they adapted it for pizza crust. I love, love pizza and am constantly in search of the perfect thin, crispy, Italian-style crust for homemade pizza.

Like the original artisan bread book, the killer feature of this book is the ease of making the dough. You literally mix five ingredients together, either by hand or using an electric mixer, let it sit for at least 2 hours, then use it regularly for up to two weeks. It just doesn't get easier than that. (The trick is to make a very wet dough. If you haven't made a wet dough before, you may be surprised at how sticky it really is, but you'll get used to it quickly.)

After introductory sections on equipment, ingredients, and general tips (including helpful ones on how thick to roll out the dough for different effects), they give a series of thin crust recipes. They start with ones using unbleached flour, which I guess is supposed to be the easiest basic crust, and then move through a couple of variations culminating in using low-protein "00 flour," like you can get from King Arthur Flour.

Like I said, I've been in search of a great homemade pizza crust for a long time, so I ordered the 00 flour from King Arthur on the first day. It hasn't arrived yet, but they also give a recipe for making a low-protein flour crust using a combination of cake flour and unbleached flour. I tried that first, since I'm way beyond needing another basic unbleached flour crust recipe.

So how did this first crust turn out? It was definitely a more tender dough because of the cake flour than I've been used to with pizza dough, and the result was, indeed, crispier than I've made before. I'm encouraged. The taste was a bit flat, but I think that is because I used the dough right after the 2 hour rise. Based on my experience with the Artisan Bread book (and they point it out in this one as well), the flavor deepens over time. I'm excited to try the recipe with the 00 flour to see if I can get it even lighter and crisper. I use a lodge cast-iron pan to bake my pizzas, btw. I like the result much better than either a pizza stone or without anything under it in the oven. I also blind baked the crust for a couple of minutes on each side, something they offer as an option as well. It improves the crispness.

The authors are weak, IMHO, on tomato sauce recipes. It's the most prevalent sauce used on pizza, and I would have preferred more discussion and variation. However, they have a few other interesting sauce recipes including a pesto recipe (the traditional one) and a unique homemade BBQ sauce recipe, which I like a lot. Later chapters in the book include recipes for flatbread, deep dish pizza, and even dessert pizzas. They also include a couple of chapters on alternative uses for the dough, like in making pita and naan. They even provide some dip recipes to go along with those breads, which is a nice bonus, and they included a random curried lentil soup recipe. It's not what I would have expected in a pizza book, but the recipe looks fantastic, to tell you the truth. I'm definitely going to make it.

One thing I love is that they include ingredient weights in addition to measurements. Besides being more exact, weights make cooking *so much easier.* You just put the bowl on the scale and add the ingredients by weight. You don't even need measuring cups or spoons. Love it.

I own Reinhart's "American Pie" book, as well as sundry pastry/baking books that all include pizza crust recipes. I'm excited to have this one in my collection, and it's the first to recommend the low-protein flour that I've seen. The tips are great, the pizza topping recipes are interesting and varied (except for the tomato sauce recipes!), and the ease and benefit of making dough once and using it regularly for up to two weeks cannot be overstated.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 11, 2011 4:59:23 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 11, 2011 4:59:41 AM PDT
Joanne says:
I have the authors' two previous books; in those books, they continually state that the bread dough recipes can be halved if need be. The bread dough can also be frozen if you cannot use it up soon enough via the refrigerator storage method. I presume that this can be done with the pizza dough recipes as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 11, 2011 5:50:37 AM PDT
lapis says:
Yes, definitely. Halving is very easy, especially with the weights, and they do give tips on how to freeze, and later unthaw, the dough.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 11, 2011 6:17:55 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 11, 2011 6:22:03 AM PDT
Joanne says:
Thanks for your added info above. I am glad to see they use weight measurements now too. So much easier and more precise. I see another cookbook in my future! I like the idea of breakfast pizza too as I may be having family staying over for the Christmas holidays. Have you tried the "OO" King Arthur yet? I have some already and used it for a foccaccia and I preferred the AP flour. I am now afraid to use it again! I was thinking of halving the OO flour with AP flour for safety.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2011 9:00:10 AM PST
Carole Lewis says:
Also, since I use the Olive Oil Bread dough from ABin5, My absolute favorite for everything pizza and dinner rolls. I've discovered that adding herbs and or spices to the water before adding other ingredients will add flavor to all breads. (even soup mixes) Italian seasoning is my favorite and sometimes Spinich & Feta. Just reduce the amount of Kosher salt when adding mixes with salt.

Posted on Nov 15, 2011 9:35:49 AM PST
To clarify, there are 2 large sections of color photos in the book.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2012 7:58:11 AM PST
GREAT Review! SO nice to see from a Vine Voice. So many Viner just give a standard 3 line "it was great, I loved it yammer yammer" review so they can get more stuff. So happy you took all that time to share SO MUCH wonderfully useful info. I will buy this book now!
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Location: Chicago, IL United States

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