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As I said earlier today, I believe you can always pick up tips from an experienced pizzamaker, no matter how much of a pie prodigy you think you are.* Something simple I learned during my Pizza a Casa experience? Use a spice/cheese shaker to dust your work surface with flour.

Sure, you can use your hands, but I've found that a shaker has helped me distribute my bench flour more lightly and evenly across my work surface — a plus when you're trying to minimize the amount of uncooked flour coming into contact with your dough.

And while this might not be an aha! tip for more experienced bakers (who might already have a flour shaker in their arsenal), if you're just starting out with pizza, you may not have come by this realization.

You can pick up these condiment shakers at restaurant-supply stores for a few bucks each; that's where I purchased mine — originally to serve red pepper flakes in.

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At Pizza a Casa, Mark Bello has students use a shaker with a fine mesh to distribute semolina flour on the peels. Semolina is more coarse than your bench flour would be — somewhere just short of corn meal — and makes your peel super slippery so your dough doesn't stick.

* Not that I think I'm a pizza prodigy. I'm actually fairly ground-level compared to a lot of the folks who frequent this site.

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