by Caroline

If you’ve followed this blog any length of time you know that I am no purist. I don’t make particularly complicated food, but I combine multiple recipes, I tinker, I replace fat (and sometimes eggs) with ground flaxseed meal. I experiment, but not in a scientific, note-taking, Cooks Illustrated kind of way, refining a recipe until I come to the Ideal Version. I like to start with recipes (unlike my children) and then, usually after I’ve baked it as written once or twice, I start making adjustments.

Banana bread is one of those evolving recipes for me, granola is another (these days I’m leaving out the cinnamon and tossing in some shredded coconut right at the end; I suppose it’s time to post an update!). And now pizza crust is another. Usually I make this crust that I first read about in Catherine Newman’s Wondertime column; Lisa’s family makes pizza regularly too (and, like me, is not above using store-bought pizza crust since so many good ones are available). But when I saw this recipe it looked worth a try, even though I know, deep in my heart, that a good pizza crust requires nothing but flour, water, yeast, olive oil and salt. And heat. Lots of really fierce heat.

So we made the pizza, exactly as the recipe is written. And it’s pretty good, though that could be as much the result of the second rise as the beer (I’m not sure how best to work out the timing so that the crust gets warm beer and the cook gets a cold one without any beer going flat or wasted.) Really, I think the main lesson here is to turn your oven (or grill) on both earlier and hotter than you really believe is necessary, because the main thing your pizza needs is heat.