Our Sauce: Pizza Potion Number Nine

by Kevin Burton

   Homemade pizza number two brought the curtain down on our pizza adventures yesterday. 

   My missing out on National Pizza Day Feb. 9 sent us scurrying into pizza overdrive, trying new pizzas, re-trying some we haven’t had in a while and even making our own.

   The first try at homemade pizza last weekend turned out much better than expected as I mentioned on Page 7 (“If You Can’t Stand The Heat, Order Pizza” Feb. 27). 

   Attempt number two was good but to me, not quite as good. 

  We said for the second attempt we wanted a much thinner crust and to make our own sauce.

   Looking back, I’m not sure why I was so intent on making our own sauce. I guess it just sounded like something you should do to have a truly homemade product.  But as I thought of it, I’ve never eaten a pizza and come away saying “wow, that sauce was great.” 

   The first time we used Paesana pizza sauce out of a jar and were happy with it.  I do believe we’ll be going back to that, as Jeannette says, “I can live with that.”

   We got some good pizza sauce recipes from Facebook friends but we lost a little in translation.  We wanted to make a much smaller quantity than their recipes called for and I’m not sure our math was 100 percent correct.

   We ended up pinching a lot. You know, a pinch of garlic, double-pinch of basil.   Neither one of us has the culinary chops to make that kind of thing work.

   We ended up with a thicker sauce which took away from the taste of the mozzarella cheese. It was too noticeable. Maybe I wasn’t as liberal in adding the cheese this time. Maybe we needed another ounce of water in the sauce. 

   What we ended up with was pizza potion number nine. It was an experiment that had to happen I guess, but now has to go. The heavy sauce made my grade for pizza two a C, down from a solid B last time.

   This time we used a different crust recipe that doesn’t use yeast. Not having to wait a half hour for the dough to rise was a big improvement. This crust was much thinner but still too heavy. We’re thinking of trying bread flour or maybe wheat flour next time.

   That part in last week’s post about the Burtons going into the pizza business was a joke of course. Our pizza ardor has cooled just a bit. But we are at least invested in the homemade pizza business. 

  We bought three new pizza pans, a set with an 8-inch a 10-inch and a 12-inch pan. We used the biggest one for try number two yesterday.

   These are the pans with the holes in the bottom. There is some science behind this.

   Pizzamakingtools.com says the holes prevent the crust from getting soggy. Yahoo answers says the holes prevent large air bubbles from forming in the crust while baking. 

   Parkkitchen.com says the pans with holes reduce baking time and make for thinner crusts, both plusses if you ask me.

   The only other thing we had to buy this week was Italian seasoning.  We are pretty well equipped as pizza makers now, even if we aren’t yet fluent in that language.

   All the pizza we’ve had was at least good. None of it was burned or terrible. But what sounds good to me now is our favorite Chinese food, chicken and broccoli, pork fried rice, General Tso chicken for me with some heat to it. 

   But when that urge for pizza comes back around, I wonder if we will reach for the phone or get the flour from the pantry. 

   At least we know that when we are able to meet face to face with people again, we can make homemade pizza well enough that we can serve it to our granddaughter and have a lot of fun making it.

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