I recently bought a perforated pizza pan (Cuisinart Chef’s classic non-stick bakeware – 14″ pizza pan – Heavy gauge aluminized steel. Amazon, $13.95):
You can use a perforated pizza pan whenever you want to allow more air to reach the pizza crust and more moisture removed than with a solid pizza pan. Pans with many small holes are going to let more moisture escape than pans with fewer larger holes. When the moisture is removed, your crust becomes more crispy. Some people prefer a crispy crust. But you need to be careful if you start out with a thin crust that it doesn’t become too dry and hard and is hard to chew or cut. Ever since I got a pizza stone and compared the pizzas cooked on it with those cooked on a solid pan, I’ve preferred the stone because it lets moisture escape while still keeping a chewy crust. I was curious how a perforated pan would cook a pizza, and so I decided to give it a try!
It wasn’t bad, the dough didn’t rise much around the cornicone (outer edge), but that could have been caused by a number of reasons, (e.g. not enough rise time or retardation time). The dough tasted OK, maybe a little dense, soft, and bread-like.
What pans/techniques do you prefer for cooking pizzas?
I found a few recipes on the back of a box of Texas Toast — one for Pizziola and one for Bruschetta. I’ve heard of bruschetta, but what exactly are these dishes?
Pizziola or Pizzaiola Definition
I actually couldn’t find many definitions of pizziola and noticed that it is also (more commonly?) spelled pizzaiola. There are many dishes and recipes out there that include pizzaiola in the name. Wiktionary gives the definition as ‘Prepared with an Italian sauce made from tomato and oregano’ so it sounds pretty similar to pizza sauce to me. The name also applies to dishes made with this sauce. Here’s another source from Home Cooking Consultant that describes it as a pizza-like sauce made with tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. It gives a recipe that can be used with meats such as beef, veal, or chicken. The texas toast box just says sprinkle spaghetti sauce and chopped mushrooms on top of the garlic cheese bread.
Merriam-webster defines it as thick slices of bread grilled, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil, often topped with tomatoes and herbs, and usually served as an appetizer. The word comes from Italian bruscare, to toast or burn. The texas toast box says just place chopped tomato and onion on top of the cheese bread and sprinkle with fresh basil. Sounds like it’s missing the basic ingredient, olive oil. There’s a good article on eHow.com that explains how to make a basic Bruschetta. Here’s an article that clarifies that Bruschetta just refers to grilled bread, not bread with tomato and other toppings. It also gives a recipe for a Mexican variation.
A big factor in making a pizza great is the sauce! Sometimes the sauce doesn’t stand out at all, sometimes you notice it’s really great, and other times it’s quite bland or not quite to your liking. Is it thick or thin, sugary, sweet, tomato-y, spicy, bland, or just the right amount of spices? Many are concerned with counter-balancing the acidity of the tomatoes in the sauce. I sometimes have a hard time telling if a sauce is too acidic, but comparing it to a sauce I really like, I can tell a difference – it can be a little tart. Some people have acid reflux and acidic foods cause a lot of heartburn. So when making spaghetti or pizza sauce, how do you balance out the acidity and tomato taste?
Mask the Flavor
One method is to add sugar or carrots to counter-balance the acidic taste. You cook the carrots down and remove them at the end if you don’t want to keep the carrots in the sauce. But adding these things won’t change the actual pH of the sauce so won’t help with acid reflux or heartburn. The sugar will make the sauce taste sweet, which I don’t prefer. Adding water will dilute the sauce so the acid isn’t detected as much, but it will dilute all the other flavors as well.
Acid vs. Base
The first way to counter act the acid in the sauce is to add an alkaline (basic) ingredient, like baking soda. Just add a small amount at a time and stir it well, until you get the taste you want. You won’t be able to take any out once you put it in, since it will react! A little milk may also work. Cheese has also been suggested, since the calcium can react with the acid. Try a little grated Parmesan. This will add its own flavors though, so make sure you taste it to make sure it’s satisfactory. Reducing the acidity and not just masking the flavor with others is the best way to go for those that have heartburn. The pH of tomatoes is about 4.6, carrots about 6.0, and water 7.0.
What do you do to balance acidity in tomato sauce?