How To Make Pizza at Home
Taught by Two Pizza Pros from Roberta's
In our quest to learn everything we can about pizza
(especially how to make pizza really well), every now and then we hear
about a pizza-making class that Cary just has to attend.
When we learned that Anthony Falco, the self proclaimed "Pizza Guru" of
in Brooklyn, was teaching a class at The Brooklyn Kitchen,
specifically a "how to make pizza at home, in a home oven" class, it
was a must-go.
First, we confess that we have not yet been to Roberta's,
although it's been recommended to us by a number of notable pizzamakers
and pizza fans whose taste we respect. We'll be remedying
soon, and this paragraph will disappear from this page!
We've seen Anthony's comments all over our second-favorite pizza blog, Slice,
for a long time, where he's known by the nom-de-pizza Tony Calzone.
His honesty, willingness to experiment, and most of all his
passion for pizza was what made the initial impression.
the Pizza Obsessives interview he did
sealed the deal. Cary wanted to learn how to make pizza from this guy.
The first person Cary met when he entered the lab at The Brooklyn Kitchen
was Angelo Womack, whom Tony has variously described as his protege and
his assistant, but there's a twinkle in his eye when he says it, so who
knows? Angelo is the current pizza chef at Roberta's, so protege may be
accurate. Each of them really knows how to make pizza.
on the agenda, but Cary was glad to meet him and excited that the class
would be taught by two new-generation pizzaiolos.
This was gonna be good.
What was the class like?
There were about a dozen
students in the class, and as Anthony talked about the history of pizza
and his Sicilian grandmother, we donned our aprons and took our places
at the stainless-steel work tables, not far from the 550-degree
convection kitchen ovens. The only enhancements to the ovens were some
unglazed quarry tiles for pizza stones.
Falco knows his pizza history, talking about how important
local ingredients became in Italian cooking after the fall of
(the imports available during the Empire just weren't there
anymore...), and how important local ingredients are now.
He told us about the pizza his grandmother used to make - sfincione, a
He told us about The
Brooklyn Grange, a massive rooftop farm in Queens, NY -
growing fresh produce in the heart of the City.
He offered us beer. Nice guy.
were directed to the ingredients before us: flour, water, salt and
yeast, and Angelo said, "We're going to teach you how to
make pizza at
home that's better than 70% of the corner pizza places in New York."
These guys weren't kidding, although the number was modest - Cary would
serious as Anthony and Angelo are about their work (at least we assume
they're serious), they are thoroughly entertaining instructors,
charming and funny. They reminded Cary of a couple of ancient Zen
masters, teaching when you think they're clowning and having the time
of their lives making pizza.
Another fun part of the class for Cary was sharing a work table with
Adam Kuban of Slice.
"Have you guys ever met before - in real life?" Anthony
asked. We assured him that
we had. A couple of times.
It's a small world, this pizza subculture. And here's Adam's take on this class...
What did we learn?
Well, we can't tell everything, but here's what we did, with a few tips
and tricks thrown in:
we made dough using the aforementioned ingredients as our teachers
talked about slow cold-proofing - letting the dough rise from 24 to 72
hours in the refrigerator. Angelo showed us a kneading technique that
was new to us, kneading by stretching and squeezing in our hands rather
than pushing and folding on the table.
We put our dough in the
refrigerator to take home for pizza-making in the following couple of
days. Due to outside obligations, we didn't get to use it for
three days, a little past the optimum proofing time, but it was still
Then they talked about sauce - that the sauce
should be made raw to cook on the pizza while baking, that San Marzano
tomatoes are the standard for Vera
but there are a lot of good canned tomatoes out there, that we should
strain the water out of the can before making sauce from the whole
tomatoes, and that a food mill would strip the skins and take out the
But they didn't just talk, they made sauce. With tomatoes, sea salt and
olive oil. It was very, very good.
asked about adding sugar to the sauce, but Anthony assured the class
that San Marzano tomatoes (or any at the same level) are sweet enough,
no additional sugar
Now it was time to make pizzas!
got a solid lesson in dough stretching (which Cary always finds the
most challenging part of making a pizza), followed by saucing and
Stretching tip: don't touch the edge!
main things we learned about saucing: Don't use too much, and don't get
too close to the edge! Go over the edge, and it'll be hard to transfer
the pizza to the peel and/or to the stone.
We were introduced to our various toppings: fresh mozzarella (they make
it at Roberta's
every morning), basil, pepper, several kinds of sausage, coppa,
...and we were encouraged to get creative.
made the first pizza - a white pie (no sauce) with fresh mozz, LOTS of
pepper and thinly sliced garlic. WOO HOO! The color in the crust came
from lightly-painted olive oil on the cornicione (outer crust). This
was a great pizza - simple, eloquent.
the term "cornicione" - two of the students in the class were from
Rome, and they said that they
call it the "crosta" - crust. We did a little research, and
all depends on where you're from. In Naples, it's 'cornicione'. Go
north, and it's 'crosta.' Just thought you might like to know.
went for a pretty simple pie - a basic Margherita (tomatoes, fresh
mozzarella and basil) with onions and mushrooms.
All the pizzas made in class (and Cary did have a piece of each one)
Adam Kuban posted a video from the day,
and was kind enough
to give us permission to share
it with you here.
And there you have a taste of it. Overall, a wealth of pizza knowledge
If you weren't there - and you live anywhere near Brooklyn - keep your eye on the class schedule at The Brooklyn Kitchen.
They'll be back.
Kitchen, 100 Frost Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211, 718-389-2982
261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NY 718-417-1118
Anthony Falco's videos: http://www.vimeo.com/anthonyfalco
How To Make Pizza with Anthony Falco to our Making Pizza page
from How to Make Pizza with Anthony
to the passion-4-pizza