Text as published in Hiut Denim’s yearbook number three. Illustration by Bjorn Lie

“There’s a shop around the corner, go buy some flour, knock up another batch, you’ll clean up.”

It was 1pm and we’d just sold out. The weather forecast took a u-turn for the better, Bristol was packed and we’d flown through 120 pizzas in a couple of hours.

Our dough won’t be rushed though, our pizza’s slow pizza.

It cooks in less than 90 seconds but starts life a week before. The starter is fed, a mix, a knead, knead, knead, knead some more – by hand. A connection to the dough, to the subtleties of how it evoles, but one that loses its romanticism on a 40kg batch. Next a slow sedate rise. We give the enzymes time to do their job, to break down the gluten into something which is both delicious and easy to digest – but not too long, when you lose the loft and the acidity becomes too pronounced. It’s a balancing act, one we’re committed to. We’ve logged 118 iterations of our dough formula and counting, dozens more before it made it to a spreadsheet, it’s anal to the extreme. Thousands of pizzas, each bake taking a step closer to the pizza in our mind’s eye. 

What does that pizza look like? Well it’s all about the crust, the airy bits at the edge consume 80% of our effort. Great pizza is simple, good ingredients on good bread. We focus on the bread and showcase the amazing produce on our doorstep as toppings. We aim for loft, structure, the point the crust is barely cooked through, the starches gelatinised, and char. Flecks of char, notes of bitterness which offset the natural sweetness of our tomatoes. The base must be thin but not crisp, foldable not rigid or brittle. When the dough’s on song it’s robust, extensible, translucent on the marble, you could read a newspaper through it if there was one to hand.

We do it because it tastes better, because it’s healthier, because we’ve yet to find a better way. No shortcuts. Flavour before profit is the closest we’ve come to a business model. Time is the secret ingredient.

Feels like we’ve had several seasons worth of weather condensed into the last couple of weeks. Last time I wrote I was making pizzas in the snow wearing all the layers I own and yesterday was well and truly shorts and t-shirt weather – has spring finally sprung?

We had some friends over last night, the namesakes of our sourdough starters actually and with one veggie in the house it was time to test out some more meat free topping combinations. The highlight of the bunch being a variation of a birds’ nest topping with ribbons of asparagus (British asparagus I’d like to add), lemon zest and quail’s eggs… there may have been a tincy bit of dry cured pancetta on one side too, perhaps that’s why it was my favourite…
I’m rambling now. What I was originally planning to write about was video app I’ve been playing around with, Vine. It’s essentially the video arm of Twitter and makes short (6s) looping clips. You can find me on there under my twitter handle myperfectpizza and what better way to road test a new video app than try and document the full life of a pizza.
So here it is, 1.26 million words worth*:
Feeding the starter:

Mixing the dough:

Knocking back:

Making the balls:

Forming the base:

Top and cook:
Mushroom and wild garlic:

Birds’ / Piggies’ nest:

*working on the assumption that each picture’s still worth 1000 words and assuming Vine shoots each of my 7, 6s videos at 30fps. Apologies.