In Search of the Perfect Pie

A pizza making blog showcasing recipes, instructions, tips & tricks, photos, videos and more!

Category: Success Photos


Puffins = Pizza Muffins | Portable Pizza Bites Ready to Travel

Ever stop by your local pizza spot to grab a quick slice and then, as you drive off, you realize you are going to have to eat that steaming hot, floppy, greasy, messy slice over your lap as you drive? Or maybe you’ve got a great pizza recipe and you want to show it off at your next potluck, but as we all know, pizza doesn’t travel.. Here today, I submit to you this idea: Puffins! Spread out your dough into tiny little pizza crusts, push the crust into a muffin tin, plop a little drop of your toppings into the middle and then fold the excess dough over the top, sealing the Puffin closed. In my experience, the cheese will cause just enough steam to pop a little hole in the dough-top and the cheese will ooze out a bit and get a bit of browning as it touches the muffin pan. And let me tell you, these things are AWESOME. They are completely self contained, fit in the hand well, and are WAY less messy and driving friendly than a traditional slice. Plus, since the dough is holding all the steam and heat from the baked toppings inside, they stay warm for MUCH longer than a pizza slice as well.

World, start your ovens! Report back to me here at with tales of your Puffin adventures.

Happy baking!

Chico, California

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Proof! 125lb of Pizza Flour Goodness

On a recent trip to San Francisco, Alicia and I met up with our friend Nick from Central Milling and boy did he bring us some gifts!

Check out the glamor shots below :)

Making the Perfect Pie at Home

As promised I made my unique pie at home on Friday night.  I decided to use baby spinach I had at home instead of using the broccoli rabe. What a great idea! It was delicious! Here are some pictures of my new favorite pie. If you are inspired by the photos, here is my original post with the recipe.

Breakfast Pizza and Test Dough

Tonight I was testing a new dough formula (think secret ingredients) and came up with a few simple combinations, and photos, that I hope get your mouth watering and your brain looking around this here blog for a good dough recipe to try out in your own kitchen. One was a simple pie with fresh tomato, provolone, and parmesan. The other was a breakfast pie with my breakfast potatoes from this morning, two raw eggs, ricotta, parmesan, and white truffle oil. There were both fabulous, and we all agreed that the secret ingredient was promising to boot! Here’s to inspiration!


A Recent Thin Cracker Crust Success


Fashion (Pizza) Photography

Nuff said.


Thai Peanut Pizza from Ryan (W)

My buddy Ryan was over the other night and introduced this awesome Thai Peanut Pizza. Here is his recipe and a few photos from the evening.


  • mozzarella cheese
  • Goat Cheese
  • Thai Peanut sauce (I use San-J brand, but you can use any you like, or heck even get adventurous and make your own)
  • Spinach or Arugula
  • Carmelized Red Onions with Balsamic Vinegar
  • Peanuts
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Cilantro


  • Carmelize the red onions with olive oil on low heat. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until translucent. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and let cook into the onions.
  • Roll out pizza dough and spread a thin layer of the peanut sauce.
  • Sprinkle a thin layer of the mozzarella cheese. You will want to be able to see plenty of the sauce through the cheese.
  • Place the spinach or arugula leaves
  • Sprinkle red bell pepper slices
  • Place the carmelized red onions
  • Sprinkle peanuts
  • Place the cilantro
  • Hand pull pieces of the goat cheese and distribute over the top of the pizza.


Pizzetta 211 Margherita Pizza – My Photographic Results

I was very intrigued by the LONG mixing time for Sunset Magazine’s “Pizzetta 211” pizza dough, so I did some testing and here’s what I found so far (the dough is still rising, so not finished results yet) Following the instructions, I first bloomed the yeast. As a side note, many chefs today do not believe that this step is necessary any longer.  It used to be that dried yeast came to us in such a poor state that it needed this short developmental period to reactivate (and so you could tell if you had just purchased dead yeast or not.) These days, it is perfectly safe to skip this step – especially when you are planning on a long, cool rise time. Anyways, I did it despite my modern learnin’. Then I started the mixer in to its half an hour long trek – stopping once to snap a photo at five minutes. As you can see below, the difference between 5 minutes of mixing and 30 was pretty dramatic. As the dough came out of the bowl after thirty minutes, it was very soft and very smooth. I placed it directly in the fridge where I plan to rest it for the afternoon before pulling it out, resting it on the counter for an hour or so, and then tossing it up.

After a few hours in the fridge, and then one more on the counter, the dough had risen substantially. What I had thought would make just one pizza turned out to be two sizable pies. The dough was extremely elastic and spread very evenly and nicely. I baked a pizza both on a baking stone as well as in my normal pan and each of them came out very nicely. Overall, I felt the recipe was a bit too salty, and the yeast was a bit too active if I wanted to give it a 3 day rest in the fridge. I am going to experiment with using less yeast and less salt and see if I can hone in on the flavor I prefer. As for texture, this was tried by my testing staff (alicia) and was deemed “the best crust yet” by a mouth that knows :) Once I get the salt/yeast thing figured out, and try it out with a nice long rest, this dough just replace Tony’s dough that I have sworn by for the better part of 2009.

I’ll keep you posted.

Yeast-Free Pizza Dough – The Photographic Results

After trying the recipe in my original post on Yeast-Free Pizza Dough, I have some results to report. The dough itself was much more solid feeling than a regular pizza dough – I began in the same fashion I would normally flatten dough out, on the counter with my hands, but after a certain point, it began to feel like I was trying to toss a big sheet of cookie dough, not piza dough. So I got out my trusty rolling pin and went to town – this easily created a very thin, very pliable dough that I could then load onto my pizza pan and prep for the oven. When the pizza came out, it looked as if it had not risen at all – I suspect that my long rest in the fridge negated any effect the baking powder had, and the double acting feature was all but absent. The dough baked very thin, but because of the high oil content, it was very crispy – it began to taste like a homemade cracker after a few bites. There was good snap, it supported the weight of the toppings, it had a real buttery flavor ( even though there was no actual butter in the dough) – all in all, it wasn’t bad.

However, coming from the yeast world and knowing what I was missing, it wasn’t great either. I think it was just a preference thing. I felt it was a bit dry and a bit dense. I can actually get my yeast dough just as thin, but the yeast dough feels much lighter and airier in your hand and in your mouth. Also, as you eat the yeast-free slices, they feel heavy in your stomach – the yeast slices feel like you could go on eating forever! My dad tried a slice and actually liked the yeast-free pizza a lot, but I think for my money, if I had the option, I would stick with a yeast leavened dough. Now please enjoy some photographic samples of a yeast-free pizza.


Alicia & Andrew Make Successful Homemade Pizzas

It was Andrew’s birthday, so to celebrate, we put him to work! Watch as Alicia and Andrew use dough from this post to make beautiful homemade pizza! If you know those two crazy kids, or you just like their antics, drop me a comment on this post and let me know what you think – even better, subscribe to email updates and you can get Alicia and Andrew, fresh in your inbox :)

Tonight's Pizza Margherita

Happy Customers

I made some awesome thin thin thin crust tonight and here are the pics of  some happy customers. Enjoy![slideshow]

Couldn't Stay Away

I tried to leave my pizza stone behind. Tried to say I didn’t need it – tried to say I didn’t like it. Well, my friends, that was a big fat lie. Check out these photos from my return to the stone.

Pizza Boxes and a Happy Mistake!

So I had a potluck to go to as well as an order in from Grandma for some veggie pizzas on Saturday. Until now, I had never needed to deliver pies outside of my living room, but now I had to fill an order of five… What’s a guy to do?? Well, let me tell you about a little place called Cash & Carry: They’re awesome! I got something ridiculous like 50 generic pizza boxes for less than twenty bucks! dsc_0347On top of the cheap price, they also had five sizes to choose from, which would be super useful if my family began to order specific sizes.

Next, for some reason, I put a pie in the preheated oven and then clicked the thing over to BROIL instead of leaving it on bake like I usually do. I don’t bake on a stone, so broil is a bit inappropriate for my setup. Well, what you would think would happen, happened: The top was way over cooked and the bottom was pretty under done. But! Baking with the broiler somehow gave me a bunch of extra lift (and definitely some extra heat) and my pizza came out of the over quicker and with much larger air pockets in the crust. I loved it! The pictures seem to make it look more burned than it actually was. It was enough to make me start to look around for pizza stones again…. Do I feel another shift coming on?? Stay tuned!




A Recent Success



Hi Ya’ll,

Just thought I’d share a recent rather photogenic pie I made with you. Enjoy!

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