Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pizza oven part 6: The first pizza!

by Birch

I remember it this way: It was a crisp, autumn Saturday night. June and I were newly married, fingers laced together as we made our way across rain-slicked cobblestones to Patsy Grimaldi's under the Brooklyn Bridge. The smell of fallen leaves, the bright notes of coal smoke, baking dough and garlic danced in the air. After a long wait for a table, a pizza topped with roasted red peppers and mozzarella arrived at our table. The thin crust was bubbly with char from Patsy's super-heated brick oven. The cheese was sparsely applied and melted into a soft milkiness.

Fast-forward to autumn in Maine with Fern and Blossom. The back-porch pizza oven had been curing with seven days of small fires to help heat-temper the masonry and avoid cracks. I started our first pizza fire with some dry oak split into narrow sticks to burn hot and fast. The fire was slow to catch, and using a flat shovel, I managed to shift it from the center of the oven to one side, where it seemed to draw better. I discovered that there was a clockwise turn of air through the oven, with cooler air drawing in through the door, past the fire and up towards the chimney. Finally the fire began to build and within an hour, I had flames licking across the inside doom of the oven, but the floor was only warm. After another hour, the floor was nearly 400° according the reading on my pocket infrared thermometer from Radio Shack. That would be hot enough to crisp the bottom crust.

Speaking of pizza crust, I had mixed our favorite dough while the fire was starting. It's a simple recipe that June devised with a secret ingredient (yogurt!) that makes a nicely supple, soft dough.

Basic Pizza Dough

1 cup water
1-1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon plain yogurt (nonfat will work just fine)
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour (King Arthur's is what we use)

In the mixing bowl of a stand-mixer (or a large mixing bowl if you ware working by hand), add the water, yeast, salt, olive oil and yogurt. Stir until the yeast begins to dissolve. Add the flour to the liquid and using the dough hook, start the mixer on slow. (If by hand, stir until a loose dough is formed and then knead on a lightly floured surface.) As the dough comes together, increase the speed of the mixer to medium low until the dough is a smooth, but sticky ball, about 4 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl with olive oil, transfer the dough to the bowl and let rise until doubled--about an hour and a half. Divide until two equal balls and let rest for about an hour on a floured surface covered with a clean dish towel.

We spent time preparing the pizza toppings while the dough finished rising and the pizza oven heated. Fern carefully cut slices of fresh mozzarella. Blossom shredded some cooked chicken and mixed it with barbecue sauce. June caramelized red onions on the stove, sauteing them over low heat with a shot of balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of sugar. I finished a tomato sauce made with chopped tomatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs.

Finally everything was ready. I used one ball of dough to pat out a thin disc on a floured cutting board. I tossed a bit of coarse semolina flour on our pizza peel to keep the dough from sticking (you can use cornmeal, too). We topped the pie with barbecued chicken and onions. I got it into the oven with one nervous flick of the wrist then got to work on the second pie, which we kept simple with just tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella.

The crust began to swell and the cheese bubbled. I gave the pizzas a half turn to cook them evenly. The pizza toward the back of the oven wasn't cooking as fast and the crust was still a bit doughy, but in a few minutes it caught up with the other pie closer to the fire. In about ten minutes they were both done and out of the oven, ready to eat. Our feast was a celebration of a fourteen month long effort of concrete and brick construction.



We got lucky with that first firing. But subsequent tries have not always been as successful. Once after a heavy rain, the oven floor never really did heat up as well. I went for it anyway and the pizza was nicely browned on top, but still doughy on the bottom -- and it stuck. Yikes, what a mess. The other time we put two pizzas in the oven and there was a desperate chicken emergency. Fern and Blossom checked on the birds and found their second-favorite-chicken, Marmalade in terrible distress. She was dying. It was ghastly, and I sent a sobbing Fern and Blossom into the house with June, while I tried to comfort the poor bird until she expired. (What does one say to a dying chicken at such a time? Needless to say, I surprised myself with a more tearful goodbye then I imagined I was capable of.) The pizzas burned to a blackened crisp that night, but we weren't all that hungry anyway.

Life goes on. And pizza is a circle. A symbolic representation of the cycle of life? Maybe. Or sometimes pizza is just pizza. It's something to think about as one year ends and another begins. Happy New Year from all of us!

36 comments:

Earth Mama said...

Poor chicken...and poor Fern and Blossom!

Thanks for sharing your pizza story. I'm sure as with any cooking technique, it may require some fine tuning till you get it just right everytime. Good luck!

:)Lisa

Amy Blogs @ River Rock Cottage said...

May you have many, many more successful pizza nights in 2010!

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Happy New Year all. Sorry to hear about Marmalade, poor girls. Give thema hug from me.

On a lighter note, pizza looks great!

Sharon said...

Oh that dough recipe is intriguing! I'll give it a try on my next batch!

JGH said...

Dare I say it? It looks better than Grimaldi's!

June said...

Lisa: We are having a tough time disassociating pizza night from the loss of dear Marmalade. Thanks for the sympathy.

Thanks, Amy! Birch got a load of new firewood for Christmas. We'll be firing it up often.

Lisa! Thanks for the hug. (And the pizza was great!)

Hope you love the dough recipe, Sharon. I've used it for many years, sometimes with more yogurt and less water. It's lovely.

Jen!!!! You just made Birch's day. He measures all pizza by Grimaldi's. I'm with you. His IS better (plus we get the fun of making it). Kinda hard to beat Grimaldi's place-in-the-world though...if you like bridges and cityscapes.

Catherine said...

Oh! I am green with envy!

ebpip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

Oh my god that looks amazing! Sorry to hear about the chicken.

Sarah { bee house hives } said...

I am going to try that dough soon. Really soon. Who would have known.. yogurt. Interesting. I am always hungry when I leave here.. you are fantastic cooks!

Beegirl said...

Congratulations on your pizza! Looks wonderful!!!! So sorry to hear about marmalade...

Anonymous said...

… Unbelievable , but I just found software which can do all hard work promoting your www.fourgreenacres.com website on complete autopilot - building backlinks and getting your website on top of Google and other search engines 1st pages, so your site finally can get laser targeted qualified traffic, and so you can get lot more visitors for your website.

YEP, that’s right, there’s this little known website which shows you how to get to the top 10 of Google and other search engines guaranteed.

I used it and in just 7 days… got floods of traffic to my site...

…Well check out the incredible results for yourself -
http://autopilot-traffic-software.com

I’m not trying to be rude here, but I believe when you find something that finally works you should share it…

…so that’s what I’m doing today, sharing it with you:

http://autopilot-traffic-software.com

Take care - your friend George

Michael said...

Great blog. We would love to share you wood-fired oven experiences.
Michael & Sandy Jubinsky
Stone Turtle Baking and Cooking School
Lyman, ME
Email: michael@stoneturtlebaking.com

Anonymous said...

I loved as much as you'll receive carried out right here.
The sketch is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish.
nonetheless, you command get got an impatience over that you wish be delivering the following.
unwell unquestionably come further formerly
again since exactly the same nearly very often inside
case you shield this increase.

my web site :: coop inspection checklist

Anonymous said...

Vivemet ѵotre prochain artісle

Here is my website: sextoons

Anonymous said...

I constantly emailed this blog post page to all my contacts, as
if like to read it afterward my links will too.


Also visit my blog ... medya.sanalyer.com

Junda Xu said...

20150630 junda
burberry outlet
tory burch outlet online
ray-ban sunglasse
pandora jewelry sale
coach outlet online
louis vuitton
hollister kids
true religion sale
oakley sunglasses sale
michael kors bags
oakley sunglasses
ray ban sunglasses
michael kors handbags
tory burch handbags
cheap ray ban sunglasses
toms outlet store
oakley outlet
cheap soccer jerseys
louboutin
toms shoes for women
ray bans
coach factory outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
kate spade handbags
coach outlet
michael kors outlet
prada outlet
toms shoes sale
kate spade bags
true religion jeans outlet
nike blazer pas cher
michael kors
replica watches rolex
michael kors handbags
football jerseys
cheap jordans free shipping
cheap snapbacks hats
cheap oakley sunglasses
gucci belt
ralph lauren polo shirts

Lin Shijun said...

shijun 7.16
gucci bags
louis vuitton handbags
chanel handbags
oakley store
p90x
jordan pas cher
michael kors outlet
burberry handbags
michael kors outlet
coco chanel
hollister co
gucci handbags
michael kors outlet
fendi bags
polo ralph lauren
coach outlet stores online
christian louboutin
louis vuitton handbags
fitflop
louis vuitton outlet
abercrombie
michael kors uk
coach bags
tory burch shoes
true religion sale
michael kors outlet
louis vuitton
abercrombie and fitch
fitflops
tods shoes outlet
ray bans
adidas running shoes
louis vuitton outlet
mont blanc mountain
abercrombie outlet
jordan 6s
abercrombie store new york
louis vuitton
michael kors
coach factory outlet

Lin Shijun said...

shijun 7.16
gucci bags
louis vuitton handbags
chanel handbags
oakley store
p90x
jordan pas cher
michael kors outlet
burberry handbags
michael kors outlet
coco chanel
hollister co
gucci handbags
michael kors outlet
fendi bags
polo ralph lauren
coach outlet stores online
christian louboutin
louis vuitton handbags
fitflop
louis vuitton outlet
abercrombie
michael kors uk
coach bags
tory burch shoes
true religion sale
michael kors outlet
louis vuitton
abercrombie and fitch
fitflops
tods shoes outlet
ray bans
adidas running shoes
louis vuitton outlet
mont blanc mountain
abercrombie outlet
jordan 6s
abercrombie store new york
louis vuitton
michael kors
coach factory outlet

张栋 said...

air force 1 shoes
san francisco 49ers jerseys
tiffany and co
toms shoes
seattle seahawks jerseys
air jordan shoes
louis vuitton
cheap oakley sunglasses
tory burch outlet online
nike outlet store
cheap nhl jerseys
louis vuitton,borse louis vuitton,louis vuitton sito ufficiale,louis vuitton outlet
valentino outlet
cartier bracelet
the north face clearance
abercrombie and fitch
hogan,hogan outlet,scarpe hogan,hogan sito ufficiale,hogan interactive
coach outlet, http://www.coachhandbagsoutletonline.us.com/
abercrombie
oakley sunglasses
cheap soccer jerseys
hermes outlet
ray ban sunglasses
true religion jeans, http://www.truereligionjeansoutlet.com
iphone 6 cases
baltimore ravens jerseys
michael kors outlet, http://www.michaelkorsoutletonlinestores.us.com/
tods outlet
oakley sunglasses
oakley,occhiali oakley,oakley italia,oakley occhiali,oakley sunglasses

John said...

nike elite socks
longchamp
mcm handbags
cheap uggs
adidas originals
cheap ray ban sunglasses
chaussure louboutin
cheap versace
celine handbags
cheap uggs boots
pandora
burberry outlet
ugg outlet
nike tn
louboutin
ugg sale
nike air huarache
ray ban sunglasses
louboutin
michael kors
canada goose outlet
gucci borse
ed hardy outlet
prada
timberland uk
true religion jeans
instyler max
ed hardy clothing
timberland boots uk
marc jacobs
toms shoes
2015921yuanyuan

Meiqing Xu said...

15.10.05daigege
fitflops sale clearance
jordan shoes
tory burch sale
ugg outlet
cheap ugg boots
cheap uggs
uggs sale
ugg boots sale
canada goose
celine bags
hermes outlet
football jerseys cheap
louis vuitton
louis vuitton outlet online
michael kors outlet online
michael kors outlet
ray-ban wayfarer
michael kors bags
timberland outlet
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet online
coach outlet
michael kors outlet
michael kors uk
mihchael kors bag
ralph lauren uk
nike air max 90
coach outlet online
michael kors outlet online
abercrombie store
hollister clothing
toms outlet
burberry outlet
uggs outlet
22

林磊 said...

2015-10-5 leilei
Gucci Outlet Store Locations
Coach Outlet Discount Clearance Coach Handbags
uggs sale
Ralph Lauren Polo Shirts Clearance
toms outlet
Louis vuitton Official Website Outlet Online
Coach Luggage Bags Outlet Sale Online
Designer Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet
New Michael Kors Handbags Outlet Online
michael kors bags
canada goose
Jordan Concords Low And High
Authentic Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet Sale
Louis Vuitton Canada Official Site
Hollister Tees for Men

Qing Cai said...

moncler jackets, http://www.nobis.us.com/
hogan, http://www.scarpehogan-outlet.it/
tory burch shoes, http://www.toryburchshoesoutlet.com/
mbt shoes, http://www.mbtshoesoutlet.us.com/
nike huarache, http://www.nikeairhuarache.org.uk/
coach outlet, http://www.coachoutletus.us/
thomas sabo uk, http://www.thomassabos.co.uk/
michael kors wallet, http://www.michaelkorswallet.net/
ugg uk, http://www.cheapuggboots.me.uk/
michael kors factory outlet, http://www.michaelkorsfactoryoutlet.us.org/
hermes bags, http://www.hermesbags.co.uk/
nba jerseys, http://www.nbajerseys.us.com/
snow boots, http://www.wintercoats.us.com/
canada goose outlet, http://www.canadagooseoutlet.com.co/
jordan shoes, http://www.jordan-shoes.us.com/
parajumpers coats, http://www.woolrichoutletstore.us.com/
cheap michael kors handbags, http://www.cheapmichaelkorshandbag.in.net/
cheap nfl jerseys, http://www.cheapnfljerseys.org/
hermes outlet, http://www.hermesoutletstore.us.com/
cheap nhl jerseys, http://www.nhljerseys.us.com/
ugg boots, http://www.uggaustralia.in.net/
michael kors outlet, http://www.michaelkorsoutletonlinstore.us.com/
nike air max uk, http://www.nikeairmaxshoes.org.uk/
winter jackets, http://www.cybermonday2015.us.com/
ray ban sunglasses, http://www.raybansunglassesonline.in.net/
cai20151014

Gege Dai said...

03018wangjuan
polo ralph lauren
hollister clothing
ferragamo outlet
oakley sunglasses uk
louboutin pas cher
rolex watches for sale
ferragamo shoes
rolex watches
celine outlet online
swarovski outlet
tory burch outlet
ray ban sunglasses
lululemon pants
coach outlet store
chanel outlet store
oakley sunglasses
ralph lauren outlet
oakley sunglasses
true religion jeans
jordan pas cher
tiffany and co
mulberry handbags
fitflops sale
fitflops sale
ferragamo outlet
longchamp outlet
tiffany and co
tory burch outlet online
fitflops shoes
celine outlet

eric yao said...

Coach Outlet http://www.coachstoreoutlet.us.org

Christian Louboutin Shoes http://www.christianlouboutinshoe.eu.com

Valentino Shoes http://www.valentinoshoes.eu.com

Michael Kors Outlet http://www.michaelkorsoutlet.us.org

Coach Factory Outlet http://www.coachfactoryoutlet.us.org

Coach Outlet Online http://www.coachoutletonlinestore.us.org

Coach Purses http://www.coachpurse.us.com

Kate Spade Outlet http://www.katespadefactoryoutlet.us.com

Toms Shoes http://www.toms-shoes.name

Hermes Belts http://www.hermesbelts.us.org

Louis Vuitton http://www.louisvuitton-outletstores.us.com

Fendi Handbags http://www.fendibelt.us.com

Giuseppe Shoes http://www.giuseppezanotti.eu.com

Michael Kors Outlet http://www.michael-kors-outlet.us.com

Stephen Curry Shoes http://www.stephencurryshoes.us.com

Salomon Shoes http://www.salomonshoes.eu.com

North Face Outlet http://www.northfacesoutlet.in.net

Coach Outlet http://www.outletcoach.in.net

North Face Outlet http://www.northfacesoutlet.us.com

Burberry Outlet http://www.burberryoutletstore.us.org

North Face Outlet http://www.north-faceoutlets.in.net

North Face Jackets http://www.outletnorthface.in.net

Skechers Shoes http://www.skechersshoes.us.com

Toms Outlethttp://www.tomsoutletstore.us.org

North Face Outlet http://www.northfacestoreoutlet.us.org

Nike Air Max http://www.nikeoutlet.us.org

Nike Hoodies http://www.nikehoodies.us.com

Marc Jacobs Handbags http://www.marcjacobshandbags.name

Marc Jacobs Outlet http://www.marcjacobsoutletstore.us.com

Jimmy Choo Shoes http://www.jimmy-chooshoes.us.com

Jimmy Choos http://www.jimmychoos.in.net

Burberry Belt http://www.burberrybelt.us.com

Louis Vuitton Belt http://www.louisvuitton-belt.com

Salvatore Ferragamo http://www.ferragamo-belt.us.com

Marc Jacobs Handbags http://marcjacobshandbagsoutlet.blog.com

Lululemon Outlet http://www.lululemonsoutlet.us.com

True Religion Outlet http://www.truereligion-outlets.in.net

Tommy Hilfiger http://www.tommyhilfigeroutlet.us.com

Michael Kors Outlet http://www.outletmichaelkors.eu.com

Coach Outlet http://www.outletcoach.eu.com

Red Bottoms http://www.redbottom.in.net

Kevin Durant Shoes http://www.kevindurantshoes.us.org

New Balance Outlet http://www.newbalanceoutlet.in.net

Adidas Outlet http://www.adidasoutlet.in.net

Coach Outlet Online http://www.coachoutlet-online.eu.com

Stephen Curry Jersey http://www.stephencurryjersey.us.com

Vans Outlet http://www.vansoutlet.us.com

Ralph Lauren Outlet http://www.ralphlauren-outletstore.in.net

True Religion Outlet http://www.true-religionoutlets.in.net

ED Hardy Outlet http://www.edhardyoutlet.in.net

North Face Outlet http://www.northfaceoutlet.eu.com

UGG Outlet http://www.uggoutlet.us.org

UGG Outlet http://www.outletugg.in.net

North Face Outlet http://www.northface--outlet.us.com

Ugg Boots Sale http://www.uggbootssale.in.net

UGGS For Women http://www.uggsforwomen.us.com

Skechers Go Walk http://www.skechersgowalk.us.com

Adidas Yeezy Boost http://www.adidasyeezyboost.in.net

Adidas Yeezy http://www.adidasyeezy.us.com

Adidas NMD http://www.adidas-nmd.us.org

Coach Outlet http://www.coachoutletinc.us.com

raybanoutlet001 said...

adidas nmd r1
michael kors handbags
yeezy boost 350 black
cheap jordans
under armour shoes
nike huarache
michael kors handbags
versace
nike roshe run
louis vuitton pas cher

艾丰 said...

JIANBIN1114
coach outlet
sac louis vuitton pas cher
louis vuitton
fitflops clearance
longchamp outlet
hollister shirts
louis vuitton outlet
canada goose outlet
uggs on sale
canada goose jackets

roshini said...


Sage Support Phone Number
Sage Tech Support Phone Number
Sage Support Number
Sage Suport Technical Phone Number
Sage Support Tech Number
Sage Support Technical Phone Number
Sage Support Technical Number
Sage Customer Support Phone Number
Sage Customer Service Number

ankitasingh said...


Aol Technical Support Phone Number
Aol Technical Support Number
Aol Tech Support Number
Aol Tech Support phone Number
Aol Support Phone Number
Aol Tech Support Number
Outlook Technical Support Phone Number
Outlook Technical Supprt Number
Outlook Tech Support Number
Outlook Tech Support Phne Number
Outlook Support Phone Number
Outlook Tech Support Number

Anjilo Jilo said...

Quicken Support Phone Number
Quicken Support Phone Number
Quicken Support Number
Quicken Technical Support Phone Number
Quicken Technical Support Number
Quicken Tech Support Phone Number
Quicken Tech Support Number
Customer Service Phone Number
Customer Service Number

Quickbooks Support said...


Quickbooks Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Support Number
Quickbooks Technical Support Number
Quickbooks Tech Support Number
Quickbooks Technical Support Number
Sage Tech Support Number
Sage Technical Support Number
Quicken Tech Support Number
Quicken Technical Support Number

Kanika Jaiswal said...

QuickBooks Error Technician
Quickbooks Error Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Error Tech Support Number
Quickbooks Error Support Number
Quickbooks Error Technical Support Number
Quickbooks Error Tech Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Error Technical Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Error Help Desk Phone Number
Quickbooks Error Help Desk Number
Quickbooks Error Customer Service Number
Quickbooks Error Customer Service Phone Number
Quickbooks Error Customer Support Number
Quickbooks Error Customer Support Phone Number

Mohini Roy said...

Quicken Support Number
Quicken Support Phone Number
Quicken Tech Support Number
Quicken Support Number
Quicken Technical Support Number
Quicken Tech Support Phone Number
Quicken Customer Service Number
Quicken Customer Service Phone Number
Quicken Customer Support Number
Quicken Customer Support Phone Number
Quicken Help Desk Phone Number
Quicken Help Desk Number

Mohini Roy said...

Quicken Tech Support Number
Quicken Support Phone Number
Quicken Tech Support Number
Quicken Support Number
Quicken Technical Support Number
Quicken Tech Support Phone Number
Quicken Customer Service Number
Quicken Customer Service Phone Number
Quicken Customer Support Number
Quicken Customer Support Phone Number
Quicken Help Desk Phone Number
Quicken Help Desk Number

Anjilo Jilo said...

Packers and Movers

Packers and Movers Delhi
Packers and Movers Mumbai
Packers and Movers Bangalore
Packers and Movers hyderabad
Packers and Movers Chennai
Packers and Movers Gurgaon
Packers and Movers Pune
Packers and Movers Faridabad
Packers and Movers Ghaziabad
Packers and Movers Noida



Movers and Packers

Movers and Packers Delhi
Movers and Packers Mumbai
Movers and Packers Bangalore
Movers and Packers hyderabad
Movers and Packers Chennai
Movers and Packers Gurgaon
Movers and Packers Pune
Movers and Packers Faridabad
Movers and Packers Ghaziabad
Movers and Packers Noida