Yes yes, my source from Napoli didn’t let me down. Friday night’s effort was none too bad, though it paled in comparison to the real deal I ate two weeks ago in Chicago. One problem was that I didn’t let the dough rise quite long enough after I shaped my pies. The edges were flat instead of puffy, which isn’t a bad thing really, but I like a little volume. Next time I’ll let the shaped pizzas sit for at least 45 minutes, until I see some decent-sized gas bubbles forming.
Also, the trick about par-baking the crusts without toppings really is the key to a crispier, more authentic-tasting crust. With nothing on top to slow the rate of heat absorption, the bread bakes up in no time, getting that slightly blackened texture that brick ovens are famous for.
Lastly, I’ll say that the American-made Italian-style flour did a great job of mimicking real Italian “00”. The crust was extremely tender, and that’s a nice change of pace, what with the uber-chewy thin crusts we’re all used to. I think I’ll order myself up some of the real thing today, though, since I’m becoming obsessed (over the weekend I ordered some blueprints for a simple brick oven…you know, “just to see”). No need to rush this of course. The wife already placed and advance order for a Gino’s-style deep dish for next Friday, and pregnant ladies always get what they want.