hmw0029's Microscope Set-up
"It's Trader Joe's whole wheat flour, fed with KA bread flour.
"I included the microscope picture* and also pictures of a pH strip ( it was somewhere between 4 and 5) with the loaded slide, and the sourdough culture in an microcentrifuge tube (I had to give it a very quick spin to get rid of large particles).
"At this point, there are lots of bacteria and not many yeasts.
"Happy sourdough culturing!
"* It doesn't matter so much to non-scientists but just to clarify, I use this exclusively for checking cultures and counting cells and not for micrographs for publication. This cheapo made-in-China microscope really sucks. But the good thing is I'm the only one who uses it, so I can look at sourdough cultures. heehee"
[Thanks for sending in these pics, hmw! This is so geekily awesome! —AK]
Pizzasnob's Fort Lee Special
"600 hours later (25 days), I ended up with the included pictures. I know I tend to be a bit loquacious in my posts, so I'll let them do most of the talkin'. I've decided to call my starter and its resulting pies "The Fort Lee Special, or How I Stopped Worrying and Love the 600 Hour Pizza."...
"Dough Recipe: Kenji/dmcavanagh's recipe (pretty much the same!). 5 day fermentation. Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour.
"Toppings: Fior di latte, grana padano, e.v. olive oil, shallots, shaved red bell pepper, and finocchiona sbriciolona straight from Antica Macelleria Falorni (http://www.falorni.it), a 300 year old butchery from Greve, Chianti, Italia. The fresh stuff is the best sausage I've ever had in my life.
"Cooking method: I used my typical broiler/cast iron skillet method. The actual final prep time was one hour from dough shaping to having all three pies done and out of the oven. They took roughly two minutes each to cook.
"Anything else: I let the dough rise for eight hours instead of two because of some scheduling constraints, and I also wasn't sure how high the sourdough would rise. It led to dried out dough ball skin.
"The verdict: This is the BEST PIZZA I HAVE EVER MADE. Many props to you Slice'rs, Sourdough Lady from Fresh Loaf, and most of all to my wife who put up with my crazy shenanigans. Using sourdough, precise measurements, and better flour clearly make the difference in flavor and texture. The cornicione had a crackling thin exterior and a puffy, well-developed gluten network of holes, and the crust had a great bread-y flavor. This char-speckled crust is the beast I've been waiting for. I devoured my sample so quickly that I almost forgot to take the upskirt shot; otherwise, I would have picked an area that didn't bunch up during transfer. Long live the Fort Lee Special!
Marisa R.'s Vegetarian/Vegan Pizza
Kevin B.'s Spinach-Artichoke Pizza
Dhorst's Sourdough Romanesco Broccoli Pizza
Dhorst's My Darling Clementine, Scallop and Radicchio Pizza
Dhorst's 'Jacob's Philadelphia Freedom Pizza'
Pizzablogger's 'Drunken Dance Margherita'
"This Margherita was tasty, but I burnt it in a few spots and the erratic heat caused more of the look of a New York-Neapolitan crust than I tend to favor.
"Back to the friggen drawing board. Again. Convinced I ain't gonna be happy until I build a wood burner.
[Isn't it always back to the drawing board? Some folks spend their whole lives chasing the perfect pizza. Good luck, Pizzablogger! —AK]
Dave Martin's Black Trumpet Mushroom Pizza
Andrew Hyatt's Broiler-Only Pizza
climbhighak's Sourdough Soppressata Pizza
"This is an all-natural yeast (sourdough) crust using Caputo "00" and basically Varasano’s recipe. This pie only aged overnight at room temp.
"Strianese DOP tomatoes blended with some oregano, sea salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and some finely grated Parmesan for the sauce.
"I used imported buffalo mozzarella and sopressata as toppings. I also grated some Parm on top after the pie came out of the oven. This was a 90-second pie done using a broiler and stone at just shy of 850°F.
"All the flavors were amazing but the dough does need a couple more days of aging in the fridge."
Adam Kuban's Di Fara Knock-Off and Pineapple-Pepperoni FAIL
Top: My accidental Di Fara knock-off. Just wanted to do a NYC-style pizza with regular "aged" part-skim mozzarella. But had some fresh mozzarella on hand so I threw that on, too. Along with a base layer of grana padano. Some sea salt and olive oil prebake. Girl Slice said that it was bland, and it was, somehow. The sauce lacked flavor as did the crust. Must have done something wrong in the cold-ferment or used my starter when it was not optimally active.
Bottom: Half pineapple (Girl Slice's half) and half pineapple-pepperoni (my half). Girl Slice declared this a FAIL.
"The acidity of the pineapple seems to have done something to the fresh mozzarella," she said. "It's like it curdled it while cooking. You've gottenworse since last week, dude!"
Not pictured: Brussels sprouts/mozzarella/oilve oil white pie (à la Motorino) and a pineapple-peperoncini-pepperoni-hot-oil pie.
James Schulman's All-Broiler Pizza
"I am still having broiler issues, it doesnt stay on long enough to finish the pie, then the oven cools off... I am working on a grill-turned-oven that I haven't had time to focus on but soon."
[Wow. Lots of broiler issues in this week's edition of MPM. Hope you all are getting those pesky burners fixed! —AK]