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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 18 Feb 2013
By 
I. Darren (Fi) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home (Hardcover)
I did it my way, this is the mantra of author Jim Lahey and he believes that you too can make spectacular pizza at home without any hassles whatsoever.

Unafraid of fighting the accepted convention that pizza must always follow a certain format, Lahey manages to plough his own furrow and show how his range of no-knead pizzas are within the grasp of everyone. Lahey is not an amateur shooting his mouth off on the Internet, but the power behind New York's Sullivan Street Bakery and Co. pizza restaurant.

Doing things differently could be his slogan, as he presents a no-knead pizza dough (!) and many toppings that will have traditionalists turning in their grave. Yet the more innovative person, who realises that food is a living art, will enjoy the challenges of these new innovations. This not a form of fusion for fusion's sake or meddling to make headlines though! It does seem hard to believe - a pizza you can make at home, no kneading, no specialist equipment or dedicated oven and something that can be ready in less than five minutes. Yet in full glorious colour the author shows how to make this a reality.

A fairly lengthy, informative introduction explains a lot about Lahey's background and thought processes, which leads well into his overview about the basic equipment you will need. This must be one of the few books that treats equipment needed almost as an afterthought as really there is not a lot of specialist kit being needed - a pizza stone, pizza peel/paddle and a cutter - and the usual stuff you may find in the kitchen.

Much good advice is given in fairly short, pithy sections looking at things such as typical core ingredients, adjusting recipes for your particular oven type and serving suggestions. Then it is on to the pizza (pies). Once you have mastered the art of Lahey's no-knead pizza dough it is on to the red sauce pizzas, named as they use a basic tomato sauce as their base, and many comprehensive recipes are given to give you a broad range of different pizzas. Of course, students of Lahey's methods will invariably seek, in time, to customise these further or use them as inspiration for their own creations. Showing that, true to form, there need not be any holy cows, just inspiration and a wish to innovate.

What many people might not be as familiar with are pizzas using a white sauce (béchamel) and there are also many interesting pizzas here that you might not have considered before, such as a flambé pie, cauliflower pie or brussels sprouts and chestnut pie. At first glance this looks like innovation for innovation's sake, just trying to shoe horn anything and everything into a pizza, yet when you consider this closer you can begin to see the method behind the madness. The pizza is perhaps taken less in focus than the ingredients and the overall dish, yet it remains an important, desirable binder. A very clever approach and one which shows the diversity and scope for what one might call pizza-based dishes.

And there's more. There are no sauce pizzas too! Impossible? Tasteless? How!? Well there are many... and they sure look good too. Plus, to further pile on the metaphorical plate, there are a number of toasts, soups and salads that can be served either with the pizza dishes or they can sit similarly as a standalone snack or even main course. These look similarly nice yet for some reason lack the ultra wow factor that the pizzas have given. Maybe they should have appeared before the pizzas as not to create a slight anti-climax feeling for the reader.

A few desserts round the book off as well with gelato, sundaes, cookies and a few cakes. A small taste of the author's own style to close the book, without overshadowing the undoubtable main courses. Overall this is one of those books that has managed to carve a little niche in a crowded range of pizza books. If you consider yourself a traditionalist or a purist you may hate it, yet if you welcome innovation and development you may find it a compelling read. Take a look for yourself as it may be one of your best buys this year.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, easy and delicious, 17 July 2014
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This review is from: My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home (Hardcover)
A well presented and imaginative book with simple, yet creative, recipes. Good pizza, like common sense, is in inexplicably short supply. The pizza problem is, at least, easy to fix...
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