The Pizza Machine

If you’re fanatical about pizza I think it’s only a matter of time until you try making your own.
My “pizza story” is a common one amongst pizza obsessives.
After eating enough pizza, eventually you start to to think you could do better yourself.
But you’ll soon find there are some significant challenges in creating good (or dare I say “great”) home pizza.

First, the dough.
The easiest way to start is to buy some pre-made dough.
There are some pretty good pre-made doughs out there, right in your supermarket, or even better, ask your favorite pizza-joint for a few raw balls.
There’s no shame in pre-made dough.

The next, and even more significant challenge is your oven.
Dependent on the style of pizza you seek, ideal bake temperatures could range from 600F to 1000F.
Home ovens are designed to top-out around 550F.
There are some some “oven hacks” that attempt to fool the oven into hotter temps; leaving the door open, cranking up the broiler, rigging the oven’s thermostat.
These all have varied success, some even have inherit danger.
Multiple pizza stones or even bricks could be added to your oven to supposedly increase thermal mass.
All of this is less than ideal.

One of the more promising methods of home-oven pizza baking utilizes a great invention called the “Baking Steel
A thick piece of steel plate used in lieu of your clay pizza stone.
The thermal properties of the Steel are supposedly that much better than the stone.
Unfortunately the “Baking Steel” is pricey (at least I think so).

In any of these situations you’re super heating your oven, and your kitchen, for a fairly limited pizza output.

But it can be done.
Good pizza can be made with pre-made dough, in your home oven.

But beware – heed my warning!
These homemade pizzas are simply a dangerous gateway drug.
Your satisfaction will quickly fade – you’ll want more, you’ll want better.

First you’ll experiment with making your own dough, maybe you’ll even invest in one of those Baking Steels.
You’ll experiment with some modifications to your gas or charcoal grill.
You’ll buy some pizza making gadgets, pizza books, you’ll stay up way too late watching pizza-centric youtube videos, reading online pizza forums.
But it’s not enough.
You’ll need more.
You’ll need better.

It all comes down to the oven.

Here’s where you start dreaming about building that backyard wood fired, brick oven.
Think of the pizza parties you could have. Think of the amazing pizza you could produce.
The oven I want to build would be thousands of dollars and months of hard work.
I came very, very close to breaking ground this past April. To be honest I’m very intimidated by the cost.
Remember, I’m the guy that never bought the $100 Baking Steel.
The other intimidating factor is the commitment, once I build a 2,000 pound masonry oven in my backyard there’s no going back.
The third factor is time, as Veruca Salt says “I want it now“.

I needed something that I could afford, something that could advance my pizza skills, and placate my pizza-cravings.
Most important, something that would confirm my commitment to pizza. – and I want it now.

The Blackstone Pizza Oven is the solution to all of those things.
Some good timing and smart online shopping put a Blackstone in my minivan for barely $200.
Like a “kid on Christmas” I unboxed and assembled it with ease.

The “Pizza Machine”

Quickly deemed “The Pizza Machine”.
This thing has exceeded all expectations.
We crank out pies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all weekend, every weekend, even a few times mid-week.

I’ve been honing my dough making skills, making small adjustments with each batch, obsessively documenting the process.
Every pie has been better than the last.

Is this just another stage? Is this just a temporary high…
Will The Pizza Machine be enough to satiate my appetite in the future?
I don’t know.
But I do know, right now, I’m pretty darn happy.

1 Comment

  1. Jon in Albany
    August 14, 2017

    We’re on similar paths. I went pizza stone, cutting up a Weber grill to try charcoal/wood fired, homemade pizza steel (can be done for under $50), Blackstone and finally a wood oven in the back yard.


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