I admit, I got The Pizza Bible by Tony Gemignani from Blogging For Books ages ago. I like cooking and we both love pizza, so it seemed perfect. Unfortunately, it arrived at an awkward time for us and got shelved for far too long. Recently, I was going through books that never made it on to our somewhat limited book shelf real estate and decided to take the plunge.
First of all, this book is not for casual pizza fans who want a new way to top a pizza. It really is a masterclass in the art of pizza making. The downside to that is that the recipes can call for some specialized ingredients that may not be available locally for many people. We absolutely could not find diastatic malt powder anywhere locally, even in Asheville. They also call for specialized equipment specifically for pizza making. For instance, Gemignani recommends using two pizzas stones in the same oven with one on the top rack and the other on the bottom to ensure the best cook for your crust. For those of us with limited kitchen space who don’t make pizza more than once a month at best, this can seem like a bit much.
The upside is that most of the specialized ingredients and equipment can be skipped if you don’t have them on hand and the recipes will still turn out great (though perhaps not quite as great as they would have with, for instance, two pizza stones and diastatic malt powder).
Our first attempt was a classic Sicillian-style pizza with the classic Sicillian sauce from the book and our own goat mozzarella. The dough was definitely not something you want to try right off the bat if you aren’t already familiar with bread making. It also wasn’t a quick weeknight sort of dish. In fact, I started it on Monday and we didn’t make the pizza until Wednesday since the dough had to, not only rise, but also chill in the fridge for 24-48 hours.
The outcome was quite good, despite not having all of the materials called for by the book. I do think that the quality of the crust would have benefited a lot from the additions, but we still got a delicious pizza!
The recipes are clear and easy to follow. The beginning of the book also starts with a masterclass section that teaches you essential techniques. Even if you are completely irresponsible and just skip to the particular pizza you would like to make (*ahem*), the recipes refer back to those techniques along the way with page references, so it’s easy to look back to get a better idea of what you need to be doing.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this for anyone who is serious about pizza!