The Slice mailbag is bursting at the seams lately. Reaching in today, we've got longtime reader Don Luis, whose geographic location leaves him isolated from pizza and calzones. --The Mgmt.


Dear Slice, Letters From Our ReadersIt's been a while, but I've been working on my pizza and calzone, fine tuning the recipe.

Pizza is not widely available in Puerto Rico, so my only real choice is to make my own. What do you think?

Your post on Smitten Kitchen's pizza tips prompted this, and while I agree that you can do all of those things, I don't know why you would. A pizza stone, in particular, makes a world of difference. I've had mine for 20 years, and I think it cost me $20. I leave it in the oven all the time.

I make bread, pizza, or calzone at least once a week, and I used to do it by hand, but my trusty KitchenAid takes a lot of the work out of it. My recipe uses 1 kilogram of flour, and that's a bitch to do by hand.

I use all purpose flour and add vital wheat gluten because I can't get bread flour here. I got this tip from an email exchange with Bob del Grosso, who is very generous with his advice.

--Don Luis


Dear Don Luis,

The calzone looks great. That's what I think of it!

Yeah. Sometimes I have mixed feelings about what to highlight on Slice. I thought Deb from Smitten Kitchen had some good tips in there, and I know she's always in the kitchen and is a skilled cook, but I didn't necessarily agree with all her pizza advice there. In the old days of Slice, I might have ignored it, but the Slice readership is growing, and I'm sure that beginning pizzaioli might find it useful. You certainly can skip a lot of the stuff that you and I and other more-seasoned pizza-makers do, but that's where I started out on the pizza path. It's only been through years of trial and error that I've learned to use a stone and two to three peels--and settle on a recipe that's good enough that you don't need a rolling pin to roll it out with.

That calzone looks pretty damn good, and I'm sure your pizza pies are, too. I'd say that in my own home-baked pizzas, I've gotten a quality that I'm satisfied enough with. It's certainly to the point that my own pies are better than some I've had in restaurants, and they totally beat chain pizza by a landslide. So doing it yourself in Puerto Rico can obviously yield satisfying results. Though I'm sure you'd like to be able to go out for pizza once in a while.

It was good hearing from you again, Don Luis!

Hasta la pizza,

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