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Having been stuck in bed, a slushy lump, for most of the week with bronchitis, I’m finally re-entering the human race today. So to celebrate, I’m making pizza! I love the process, starting from raw ingredients, making my own dough, and topping it off with whatever I can find in the fridge. And convince Andy to slice up.

My weekly pizza night owes its fantastic crust to Reinhart’s Pizza Neopolitana dough recipe. I’m a big fan of Peter Reinhart. His recipe makes a fabulous Italian crust, thin and chewy with great flavor.

If you’ve ever made bread from scratch, you really need to read Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. My bread baking skills have gotten immensely better, and I’ve learned how to fake it, and how to rescue a recipe gone wrong (which does happen more than occasionally in my random world). If you’ve never made bread from scratch before, and you’re desperate to learn, try Beard on Bread. Reinhart will scare the pants off of you.

I live in a part of town that used to be all warehouses, and there’s still quite a few left, including several which still contain fantastic restaurant supply stores. I bought my pizza paddle from one - they even shortened the handle for me, so I could use it in my small kitchen without getting wedged between the walls. My well-loved pizza stone is from Williams Sonoma. Worth the investment, let me tell you, because it turns my oven into a pizza oven. Pizza in 5 minutes flat at 550F. Whooooeeeee! It’s enough to singe your eyebrows off. If I hadn’t pulled red-hot sculptures out of 1200F kilns for raku, it would probably even intimidate me. So there you go. Raku can make you a better cook. I knew I’d find a moral in this somewhere if I looked hard enough.