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JBailey

"The Mozza Cookbook"

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Nancy Silverton with Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreno have produced a terrific new cookbook based upon the Mozza restaurants! Lots of good photos, many menu and food ideas, plus a nice narrative will probably make this one of the best of the year.

There is a whole section devoted to "Nancy's Pizza Dough". As one might imagine and has been written about, this is a most special dough and is Ms. Silverton's stock in trade! She is most upfront in the book:

The first thing I need to tell you about this pizza dough recipe is that it is not an exact replica of the pizza dough we use at Pizzeria Mozza. What I can promise you, however, is that when you make this dough at home, our pizza wil be just as delicious as the one we serve. Dough reacts differently in different ovens, and when our restaurant dough is baked in a home oven the result is a thick and doughy crust-not at all like those that come out of our extremely hot wood fired ovens. My challenge for this book was to come up with a recipe for a pizza dough that, when baked in a home oven, resulted in a crust that was as close to what we get out of our pizza ovens as possible.
Of course, she does not want to give away her recipe so every pizza restaurant or chain in L.A. or across the nation copies the recipe. She certainly has every right and privilege to do so and did not substitute silently. I might imagine there are dozens and dozens and dozens of cookbooks with recipes where a certain ingredient is forgotten or the timing is altered or the scaling is different from the author's actual dish. I commend Ms. Silverton for her being so honest.

Ms. Siverton has a book worth buying and using.


Edited by JBailey (log)

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Is it not possible that the reason she has given is completely true and that it is not to do with guarding a "secret" dough recipe?

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Is it not possible that the reason she has given is completely true and that it is not to do with guarding a "secret" dough recipe?

That was my thought, too: CI discussed (can't remember in which issue) the need for modifications to pizza dough recipes, when they're intended to be baked in home ovens, for the simple reason that few home ovens reach the temperature of a commercial oven, among other things.

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I think she's being honest. The temperature, shape and materials of a pro oven just can't be replicated in a home stove. There are threads on this site about attempting to approximate a pizza oven, and, you can come close, but it's a time-consuming project. (I am thinking about the people who disable the latch on their ovens to be able to cook during the cleaning cycle.)

The author also has to deal with people who won't calculate the friction factor on their mixers, don't own thermometers to check their water temperatures, don't have a temperature-controlled area for fermentation area and who might substitute virtually every ingredient for whatever they think will work 'ok'.

From a professional standpoint, there are very few secret recipes out there. Anyone good enough can generally evaluate a crust and tell you what's in it and how it was made. Honestly, the best pizza crusts use very few ingredients and simply rely on good technique and the quality of the ingredients.

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Just received the book today and briefly looked through but it looks really good and as regulars at Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza it's great to see many well known dishes we will be now able to replicate.

BTW, a second book I received today which is hardly mentioned anywhere is "Odd Bits" by McLagan covering all unusual parts of the animals - another very good book we will use a lot.

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Is it not possible that the reason she has given is completely true and that it is not to do with guarding a "secret" dough recipe?

That was my thought, too: CI discussed (can't remember in which issue) the need for modifications to pizza dough recipes, when they're intended to be baked in home ovens, for the simple reason that few home ovens reach the temperature of a commercial oven, among other things.

That's so true. You could make one batch of dough, divide it in four and bake one in a standard oven, one in a combi oven, one in a baking oven and one in a proper pizza oven, and the differences would be startling.

In Heston Blumenthal's search for the 'perfect pizza', the differences between a regular home oven and a commercial one were a big issue in formulating the end recipe.

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Has anyone cooked much from the book? Tonight I started with the orecchiette w/ fennel sausage (I admit to cheating and just buying good sausages) and Swiss chard. Simple but very good. If you already had the sausages kicking around or cheated like I did, then this could easily be a mid-week meal.

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Has anyone cooked much from the book? Tonight I started with the orecchiette w/ fennel sausage (I admit to cheating and just buying good sausages) and Swiss chard. Simple but very good. If you already had the sausages kicking around or cheated like I did, then this could easily be a mid-week meal.

I don't own the book but I am a fan of Pizzeria Mozza, the restaurant.

I have made her take on the Caprese a while back ("Mozza Caprese") and it is quite spectacular. The tomatoes are slow-roasted in the oven, which develops a ton of flavor (making this a good recipe even if tomatoes aren't absolutely at their peak). They are served on top of burrata.

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I don't own the book, but I've used a couple recipes from it. In particular, the white beans alla Toscana with extra virgin olive oil and saba (served on crostini with grilled raddichio) is great. I've had the same dish at her restaurant, and the recipes is spot on. I used to make white bean spread more like hummus - cooking the beans and then adding oil while mixing it. But in Tuscany, as at Mozza, the texture is a lot more "beany". I think the secret is adding a lot of oil (1/2 C) during cooking, but then not adding much or any oil in the final spread. The oil adds a surprising amount of flavor and richness to the beans, but the texture of the spread is much airier.

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I've made the pizza dough recipe out of this cookbook several times. I find it almost impossibly soupy, more like a cake batter and have though there was something wrong with the hydration. However, once I add more flour, it turns out very good.

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