What Makes The Best Pizza? Great Crust! In D.C.?

 

“It’s hard to screw up pizza,” says Peter Reinhart, author of American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza. 

Finding that the dough is 80% of the experience, the baker and author focused on learning what the “great” chefs did that elevated their pizza dough above the 99%. It comes down to “caring,” technique, experience and practice. For instance, a longer fermenting process makes a dough tastier, lighter, with a more satisfying bite and mouth feel, something that experienced, passionate chefs realize.


In an interview with PizzaTherapy.com baker, author and educator Peter Rheinhart speaks before his 2017 Pizza Expo bread-making workshop. The Pizza Expo in Las Vegas brings together top chefs and advisers from around the world to discuss the best pizza places’ best practices for entrepreneurs and chefs.

[The] key to a good pizza is having a good crust and so if you know how to make a great dough, you can make a great pizza. The way to define the difference between what I’ll call “good pizza” – which is really 99% of all pizza, there’s really no bad pizza unless you burn it, pizza is always good – and then there’s this like 1% that breaks from the pack that I call “great.”

To watch the brief interview from pizzatherapy.com, click the image below.

Peter Reinhart talks to pizzatherapy.com about what makes great pizza.

Crust is important – How To Get Dough Right

Adding that just “caring” about the product, using good technique, like playing with proportions and maybe even adding herbs in dough until you’ve found a unique, satisfying taste. There’s also the matter of experience, something that we here at Pizzoli’s understand. We’ve been a go-to pizza delivery spot in DC for nearly 20 years and our founder still personally supervises operations in our shop at 1418 12th St. NW.

 

Fermenting

Leaving dough to ferment in the refrigerator for 18-24 hours can help get that nice chewy crust. If you make a dough and immediately take it out of the standing mixer and begin to shape it, you kill that fermentation process before it really gets a chance to start working, leaving you with a tough crust.

A lot of pizza places are now keeping their dough in the refrigerator overnight, a process called “cold fermenting.” Here’s a brief description from food blog Serious Eats:

Cold fermenting your dough—that is, storing it in the refrigerator after forming it—can help improve both its flavor and its browning characteristics as the yeast slowly gets to work digesting carbohydrates.

Although many pizza restaurants began this process more or less out of convenience, artisans who have studied their craft put fermentation to their advantage by just letting that yeast do the work for a bit.

Click the image to see the bread-making workshop Reinhart and John Arena held at this year’s Pizza Expo:

 

Notice the focus on gluten protein for that yummy, chewy crust. Gluten is the protein that gives baked goods that chewiness, and here at Pizzoli’s all of our pizzas are New York Style Pizzas with a whole-wheat pizza crust. Not everyone can eat the whole-wheat, though, and we hate to leave anyone out. If you are avoiding gluten or have a gluten intolerance, just let us know! Any of our pizzas can be made vegan or gluten-free  and we work hard to ensure that our vegan pizza and gluten-free pizza versions taste every bit as good, so no one misses out.

Many of the recipes shared at the Pizza Expo focus on quality over quantity – something we whole-heartedly agree with! Fresh, organic pizza ingredients and care for one’s craft really takes a pizza from good to great!