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Pizza Bible Trial #1

I’ve owned the famous #pizzabible for a few years now… and it was about time I took it for a spin. For the past years, I’ve been hand-kneading my dough with some initial direction and refinement from Scott Wiener, so I didn’t want to make massive changes when moving to the kitchenaid. I bake in my home oven, typically with a stone on top and baking steel on the bottom. Oven goes up to 550 thank goodness.

As background, My hand-kneaded recipe for the past ~2-3 years has been the following 63% hydration:
500 grams flour (Robin Hood bread flour)
315 grams water- never cared about temperature
10 grams roland fine sea salt (blue top)
4 grams active dry yeast

Key Steps for original recipe:
1. Hand mix, flour & dry ingredients first, then water and knead together
2. Let rise for 20 minutes covered in plastic
3. knead and portion to 4 dough balls (small personal size)
4. Rise 2 nights 5. bake after 48 hour rise

This worked well and we enjoyed, but then I purchased a kitchenaid mixer and wanted some guidance on proper pizza prep.

I went to Tony’s intro/master recipe as the foundation, but because I didn’t have diastatic malt or proper flours (Bermuda issues), I used his METHOD, but kept my ingredients/portions. The only thing i added was the 5 grams olive oil … yum. I did follow his sequence, which as many of you know, involves temping the water, dissolving yeast before mixing, bulk fermenting overnight, and then only making 2 dough balls rather than 4. I didn’t wait 24 hours before assembling the pies, but probably around 19 hours

I admit these were a lot of changes for me, but it was fun to align to a recipe like Tony’s, and I know I have a lot of work moving forward.

Key Takeaways:
1. Welcome new mixer and black residue on my dough beacuse of the new stainless steel! Googled it and all ok, although I trashed the first batch out of fear.
2. Loved Tony’s recs for the hand-knead/forming of the initial dough ball post-mixer… This was quite satisfying and I was pleased with the texture of my dough and ability to follow directions.
3. 24 hours later: Not sure if my dough was too sticky as there was residue on my hands after the initial bulk ferment… should I have added more flour before the bulk ferment? I added not more than 1/8 cup throughout the initial kneading.
3. Cooked the pies at my friend’s house… brought over my baking steel, dough scraper, semolina/flour mix, etc, and their oven only goes to 500 F but I was excited to try out the recipe. Hardest part was taking the dough out of the dough tray… as mentioned and echoing the sentiments from Tony.
4. I probably should have let the crust brown more on the bottom (FYI had no diastatic malt), but I turned the pie halfway through and also broiled at the end. 8-10 minutes cook time, not too worried about this part as it is easy to perfect along the way.
5. I had too much flour/semolina mix on the peel/bottom of the dough that the excess definitely fried up in the oven… need to be more confident about the staying-power of the dough rather than compensating with too much flour.
6. MUCH fluffier crust than I usually do(ugh), but the cornicone was nice (burnt a bit but not a bad taste) and there was a stable enough undercarriage…

Overall my taste testers enjoyed the two pies, and I’m ready to perfect the hydration of my dough… need more advice on #3, and will be able to work on the rest most likely!

Toppings for Pie #1: tomato sauce, roasted eggplant, pepperoni, fresh mozz (moisture squeezed out).
Pie #2: Tom Sauce/Pesto Mix, Prosciutto, Roasted red pepers, fresh mozz (moisture squeezed out), topped with fresh arugula, oil, sliced parm

<follow at @SliceofFelicia on instagram where I try to document my pizza adventures>

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Prosciutto Parm

 

 

Pizza Expo 2017

My <3 For Pizza Expo in this Acrostic Poem

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Chef Tony Gemignani showing off his grandma pie. #drool

Party with 6400 Friends
Informative seminars
Zero unhappy attendees
Za for days… every style, every way
Acrobatic competitions @World Pizza Games
Exchanging ideas with fellow pizzeria owners
eXcellent pizzas sampled @ Intl. Pizza Challenge
Products galore for all pizzeria needs!!
Only place to learn more and get better

Pizza Expo 2017 was a blast…

I recently returned from my sixth #pizzaexpo in Las Vegas. This expo is a consortium for all independent pizzeria owners to do one or more of the following:
A. Refine their craft to make better pizzas
B. Attend seminars to improve operations and increase bottom line
C. Join competitions to earn #pizza fame and good PR
D. Meet exhibitors to learn about new products, ingredients, & equipment
E. Network with fellow pizzeria owners and exchange ideas

Here are some of my key takeaways!

Charity: I was honored to support a pizza-focused charity called Slice Out Hunger. I worked the booth, answered questions about the charity, and got pizzerias to support the “SLICE OUT SPECIAL” campaign which goes through the month of MAY! FYI: $1 from each pie sold goes to No Kid Hungry.IMG_8461

Gluten-Free: “Gluten free” is bigger and better. With the amount of consumers having gluten-intolerance across the world, it’s a no-brainer to add some gluten-free/gluten-free friendly items to your menu. (If you don’t cook these items in a separate oven/area, it’s important to include a disclaimer). The pizza expo has had a gluten free division of their International Pizza Challenge to highlight the fact that gluten-free can be done quite well… Trust me it’s good. Also loved newcomer Caulipower, which sells shells & dough to pizzerias but has retail frozen pies in grocers and on amazon.com. Quite yum! Returning favorite is always Kiki’s Gluten Free, who improve every year by expanding their product line!

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Online Ordering: This has been around for a while now, but I was intrigued by the pizza-specific ordering site SLICE, and they had some awesome swag… There are so many online ordering options for pizzeria customers but the ideal wishlist feature is to have the site integrate with the pizzeria point-of-sale system, which is the hardest!

Sporting Slice Online ordering gear!

Sporting Slice Online ordering company’s gear!

Press: There were cameras flying around, and it wasn’t just the Pizza Today people. The food network was filming a lot of the compeititive events! Hope that some of our friends get famous! 🙂

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Big Names:Pizza celebs were all over the expo show floor… working exhibitor booths, giving demos, judging competitions. And they’re typically open and friendly to new pizzeria business owners and happy to share tips and tricks. #pizza stardom is real, but the #pizza stars are real people, and they’re supportive of newbies.

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Community: The #pizza community gets stronger every year. Coming to the #pizza expo is a good reminder that although you may be competing with a pizzeria on the same block (or around the corner), there is a whole world of pizzeria owners who want to learn from each other. If those within the community support each other more, we can do a lot more as a community and bring in higher sales across the board!

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Fine Folk Pizza/DeNunzios

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Chef Leo Spirizzi!

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Looking forward to Pizza Expo March 2018! #COUNTDOWNNOW

Le Sorelle- Boca Raton, FL

The first time Jon and I had seen my parents and his dad was four months after our wedding! Although facetime and phone calls work, it was great to reconnect in person in Florida :). We tried Le Sorelle, a new Italian restaurant that opened just down the street from their house and already had positive pizza reviews. We shared a plethora of dishes, from pizza to pasta to yummy desserts! Greatly enjoyed this spot and my mom loves it so much she plans to make it their new local restaurant! Great work! We appreciated the family-run business and were pleased with the pies.

Top that pie!!

Top that pie!!

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Be still, my heart

Be still, my heart

 

Ray’s- Times Square, NY

Grabbed a post-theatre slice on my visit to NYC! Not my favorite slice, but had to visit! The crust left much to desire but otherwise was sufficient to satisfy my hunger 🙂

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Ribalta- NYC, New York

Loved walking into this high-ceiling sports-viewing family-feeling restaurant! I visited Ribalta at 12th and 48th in NYC and had a lovely meal at the bar. The restaurant was packed on a Saturday afternoon in advance of a big Italy soccer game. I enjoyed my glass of bubbly and perfectly executed neapolitan pie. Really enjoyed the layout of this place! Would love to go back and seems like a great place to visit and relax with a group!

Cool oven straight back

Cool oven straight back

Big-screen for watching sporting events

Big-screen for watching sporting events

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Just loving the edges of the pie... oh and the cheesey bits!

Just loving the edges of the pie… oh and the cheesey bits!

Hello beautiful

Hello beautiful

Entrance- Notice Vera Pizza Napoletana Sign. Very important!

Entrance- Notice Vera Pizza Napoletana Sign. Very important!