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I built a great wood fired pizza oven in my backyard, but just couldn't get the results i was looking for. This book sorted everything out instantly. The very first pizza i pulled out looked like the front cover of the book. The dough recipes match hydration levels to the type of oven you have and the heat it produces. A brilliant book.
I own a rather considerable library of cookbooks due to my rather scary obssession with good food. I hold bread and bread related products especially close to heart and spend countless hours of studying and trying out recipes from my collection. There are numerous books on pizza out there and so far, I thought that 'elements of pizza' was by far the best book out there; but this book gives it a serious run for its money. Why? From the first pages I had the 'aha!' moments: the author explains in beautifully simple language what dough hydration is and why it matters, why certain types of flour are used and what difference would be achieved if you swapped them. From my experience understanding why certain things are done the way they are form the foundation of achieving that perfect pie/whatever you're making. The definition of perfection is completely subjective - I love pizza certain way, every family member has their own preferences. This book caters to all as is does not just land you with one recipe but arms you with an arsenal of techniques to make choices that produce THAT pizza you crave. Masterpiece!
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is full of information that I was hoping to learn about (what happens with more or less water in the dough, what is the effect of adding salt, etc). The book is written in a very enthusiastic style as well. It makes you want to make and eat pizza.
However, I followed an option in one of the recipes and ended up with flat dough. I was suspicious about putting 0.2g of active dry yeast for 1 kg dough and leaving it in the fridge for 24 hours, but decided to give it a go. After seeing the result, I would advise against this. I might try with a lot more yeast e.g. 2 g. It is a shame as I am now not sure which of the recipes I can safely follow and which I should avoid.
The headline of course is meant in a good way. This is one of the best books I've read concerning "how to." Its clear on all fronts and the experience shared by M. Vetri about his travels to Italy, to me, are an added bonus. I had read about this book being in the works some time ago and it has truly lived up to what I was hoping for, which of course was simplistic explanations of what Vetri has spent years creating. Making the science of dough etc simple means a lot to a dummy like me.