Pizza Perfection!

Before you read my final post on New York-style pizza process, you may want to read the first two posts:
You Can Take the Girl Out of New York…
How Much Pizza Is Too Much Pizza?
If you’ve already read them, great! Continue on.

On Thursday night I made the exact pizza I want to eat on every Friday night. Look at this beauty!

Personal pizza with homemade pesto made on 2/14/2019 by the author.

In the past four weeks I have made six pies with varying levels of success. In this past week weird shapes and poor kneading finally gave way to round pizzas, proper crust texture, and correct coloration on the underside of the crust with my final two pies. I compiled my pictures and videos together from all my experiments to create a very condensed video of my pizza adventures below.

This challenge of learning something entirely through the internet was not a foreign idea to me. I have taught myself a few different skills through the internet, such as new hairstyles for work, knitting patterns, and video editing techniques. I look for new recipes to make constantly to add to my rotation since I have some dietary restrictions (no red meat, eggs, fried food, or butter). Pizza has always scared me because cooking with yeast always seemed so difficult and easy to mess up. From this project I learned that yeast is not scary to use and I look forward to trying to make leavened breads in the future!

One thing I really took advantage of over the course of this project was substituting tools in each recipe to work with what I already had. The Basic New York-Style Pizza Dough recipe from Serious Eats calls for a large food processor (Lopez-Alt, 2012). These are quite expensive so I kneaded the dough by hand. It took ten times as long (30 minutes compared to three minutes), but produced the same end result. In the Pesto alla Genovese recipe from Serious Eats, they call for a mortar and pestle (Gritzer, 2014). Instead I used a muddler and a cocktail shaker in a similar motion to break up the garlic and pine nuts before moving to my immersion blender with a small food processor attachment to combine the garlic/pine nut mush with the basil and olive oil. In this case my technique provided similar results to the recipe with less overall manpower and time. Earlier this year I talked about TPACK (see Forks Help Make Good Sandwiches?) and how it asks you to think about what the right tool might be for each learning situation (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). In recipes, there can be many tools that could produce the same result. If I do not have drums for all my students in my classroom, that does not mean we can’t learn the basics of drumming and rhythms. Body percussion and buckets work just as well for learning how to use the drums.

There are a few things that will stay with me from this networked learning project. I plan to always make my own pizza dough because it tastes better, is cheaper, and I can freeze extra dough to use later. However, the pesto was underwhelming compared to what I usually buy from the store, especially from a cost perspective. Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano are not cheeses I have on hand, and could not be purchased in small portions in my area. To make the basil, I purchased $27 worth of ingredients (this excludes the olive oil and garlic). Basil on its own costs $6, whereas pre-made pesto of the same quality costs $7 for the same amount for all the ingredients.

This was a fantastic experience and I would love to explore other ways to focus my learning for a topic. As someone who grew up straddling the digital and traditional media divide, it might be an interesting challenge to learn a hobby only through my friends or only through print media. It’s certainly an idea I look forward to trying out…after I finish my master’s degree!

All photos credit of and property of the author.

References:

Gritzer, D. (2014). The Best Pesto alla Genovese (Classic Basil Pesto Sauce) Recipe | Serious Eats. Retrieved from: https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/07/best-pesto-recipe.html

Lopez-Alt, J.K. (2012). Basic New York-Style Pizza Dough Recipe | Serious Eats. Retrieved from https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/07/basic-new-york-style-pizza-dough.html

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record108(6), 1017-1054.

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