As set forth earlier, each week I have been hosting a weekly pizza night at my place. But I've hated calling it that because pizza night, while apt, sounds a bit underwhelming. So henceforth, pizza night is now called Pizza Club.
I have to say, last night's Pizza Club went particularly well.
We started out the evening with the pizza above, a white pizza with garlic toasted with cumin, mozzarella, goat cheese, serrano chilies, and cilantro. I purposely held back on the mozzarella and goat cheese as not to overwhelm the pie; I will be increasing the amounts next time. I thought the serrano chilies might be too hot but they gave the pizza a perfect kick. I can't wait to try this one again next week.
In effort to master the general basics of pizza-making, I kept my remaining three pies simple: two pepperoni pizzas and one cheese. Out of these three, the cheese was the best.
This batch of pizzas was my second round with my new Baking Steel. The concept behind the Baking Steel is that steel transfers heat better than a traditional pizza stone. Better heat transfer means a crisp, chewier crust. (Read more about the Baking Steel here and here. I foresee this thing becoming my new best friend.) The crust on the goat cheese-chilies-cilantro pizza was the best I've ever made — light, airy, and crispy with a slight chew (if I can figure out how to to bring out that chew, texture-wise, it will be near-perfect). Because I was worried about burning the cheese*, I pulled the remaining three pizzas out of the oven before the crust was done cooking. Next time I might just have to burn the cheese (or cover it with foil or something).
*This, in spite of freezing the cheese about half an hour before baking, as Kenji Alt-Lopez recommends.
The turn-out was great, 11 people showed up. I wasn't sure if four pizzas would feed that many, so I was grateful for the awesome salad Emily brought and for the drinks Al contributed to supplement the meal.
So far, Pizza Club is off to an amazing start. I'm flattered by the amount of people who have taken interest in my pizza. Every week leftovers are sparse if there are any at all. And I'm grateful to my awesome roommates who allow me to commandeer the kitchen (and fridge and house) for a night (and then some). I hope to one day be as good as making pizza as I am at choosing friends. Thank you all.
Afterword: With the name Pizza Club I am not hoping to create any kind of exclusivity; all are welcome.