Monday, June 25, 2007

the burning

So i've now had a couple of brief lessons on the pizza oven at Pizza Pomodoro. Getting the pizza onto the pala (or pizza peel) is a finesse job requiring short quick back and forth movements. it also requires speed. As i learned the sauce can soak through the thin base pretty quickly making it prone to tearing. putting it in the oven is relatively easy. It's like pulling the tablecloth out from under the place setting, just without the expensive wine glasses shattering and getting glass shards in your eye and having to use tweezers to pull the little splinters of stem out of your cornea and then blinding your right side permanently because you're not a trained tweezing professional, or trained at tweezing at all, and so out of inexperience didn't pay much mind to the itch that slowly built in your right triceps which then peaked as you brought your hand to your ocular lens making your arm spasm awkwardly and your tweezers jab into your iris, not once, but twice. Thankfully, you managed to dig out the shard on the second spasm. So, problem solved. You can go back to your party tricks. Just as long as they don't require any depth perception. The point being, that getting the pizza in the oven is a bit like a party trick, but easier and less impressive. Then there's the turning of the pizza, which is also comparatively easy (when compared to getting it on to the pala, or, say, verbally explaining to how to tie ones shoes). There's a different pala to use. It's kind of a 6 or 8 inch disk on the end of a long pole. Just slide it under the center of the pizza, flip it up on a slight incline keeping an edge on the oven floor, and pull it toward you. The pizza should turn 180 degrees so that the side that was facing the fire is turned away from it. I haven't quite figured out exactly when to turn the pizza. I just know you don't do it until the crust is cooked enough that it's rigid. Trying to turn an uncooked crust is just asking to tear a hole in it. Another thing I learned: the embers keep the floor of the oven hot, while the flames help cook the top of the pie. Claudio explained this to me after he'd pulled the pizza I'd ordered out of the oven and the crust was perfectly cooked, but the cheese hadn't melted.

A couple shots of the 2nd ever pizza I cooked in a real pizza oven (from 11 June):

Yeah, it was just a practice. So only sauce and mozz, and by the time I took the photos, the cheese had congealed. But pretty good for my second attempt.

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