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Pizza Camp: Recipes from Pizzeria Beddia Hardcover – April 18, 2017
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Often times you'll see people complain that the author doesn't use Active Dry Yeast or sugar at their shop. That the they are somehow trying to pull a "bait and switch" on the people that buy the book. The truth is, ADY can be found at any grocery store around the country. The sugar helps fuel the yeast and also aids in browning of the dough. They are simply trying to help the reader achieve a pizza closely approximating a pie like they would find in their shop, while still being able to find common ingredients.
I'll list the CONS of this book first:
-Provided you work during typical work hours this is a dough you will only realistically be able to cook on the weekends (unless you want to eat after 9 or 10 on the weeknights). Joe's recipe calls for mixing and then a 24 hour fermentation in the fridge. THEN the dough is taken out of the fridge and rises for four hours. If you take it out at 6pm you're not cooking until 10pm. I got around this by making the exact dough, but substituting the ADY and sugar with 0.6% (that's 6/10ths of one percent) of sourdough starter. 24 hour bulk ferment, 24 ball ferment and I was eating at 6:30pm two days later.
-This really is not a CON as much as it is experience, the dough is 71% hydration (a pretty wet dough), this is not the easiest thing to handle or mix for that matter. In Beddia's defense, he's trying to give you the same type of dough experience you get at his shop in Fishtown. Hey, you asked for it.
-The mixing instructions are not what I would consider "descriptive", BUT he does a pretty good job with pictures. You can buy all the books you want but the only way I TRULY learned was by doing it myself and experimenting. A book will never teach you that. Make pizza dough.....lots of it. Learn from your mistakes. Too many people give up after a few times. Stick with it, you'll get better (if you want to).
-There was a strange mix of measuring ingredients with weight and volume (220g of low moisture mozzarella, 3 Tablespoons of hard cheese). I know all hard cheeses don't weigh the same, but they're all pretty close.
-Recipes are made for 14-16" diameter pies. My oven only fits 14" and this is still a VERY difficult task to launch a 14" pie on a 14" surface while on your hands and knees in front of the kitchen oven. I would suggest cutting the recipes in half and make 12" pies.
-The book is FILLED with topping ideas, particularly the cream bases. There are a lot of really solid combinations that I haven't seen elsewhere.
-I think it's great whenever a chef or pizzaiolo share their brand of ingredients they use. Jersey Fresh Tomatoes and California Olive Ranch are two things we already found to be of very good quality, and Joe called those out.
-I've heard many complain about the language. I suppose it's a personal preference - I liked the irreverent discourse. Some take offense. YMMV.
-With the previously mentioned mods to the dough recipe, it truly is (I think) a damn close approximation of what the author was shooting for. The dough came out a crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.
I have a "go to" neapolitan dough I use in my pizza oven in the back yard. Joe Beddia's recipe is my new non-neapolitan dough "go to". It's that good. What YOU need to do is figure out how you can make this work in your schedule, with your oven, to your tastes. For 15 bucks this book is a steal. Joe shares a lot of little gems in this thing, and if his writing style is not your cup of tea - try and look past it. There is a lot of gold in here if you pay attention, the pictures below prove it.
I have tried most of them and the usually work great.
If you are as Pizza obsessed as me, buy this book!
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By Bill Marsano, from a pre-publication copy. There are all kinds of camps for adults these days.Read more