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The Elements of Pizza

The Elements of Pizza: Unlocking the Secrets to World-Class Pies at Home,
by Ken Forkish (Ten Speed Press; $30)

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In this follow-up to his award-winning breadbaking book Flour Water Salt Yeast, baker Ken Forkish homes in on pizza. And all kinds, too, from the Neapolitan-inspired pies he makes at his own pizza place in Portland, Oregon, to New York- and New Haven-style pizzas, pan pizza, skillet pizza, and even gluten-free pizza.

There are more than a dozen dough recipes in the book, all with varying degrees of difficulty and fermenting times, from the I Slept in But I Want Pizza Tonight Dough to Overnight Levain Pizza Dough, made with wild yeast and at least a week’s worth of mostly hands-off time. I loved the simplicity of the sauce he uses most: good-quality canned tomatoes, a bit of salt, and a quick whir in the blender. His many tips for turning out perfect pizza, including raising the oven rack and using the broiler to make a hot oven even hotter, have already made my home-cooked pizzas better. Lots of rich color photos and profiles of pizzaiolas, in Italy and the United States, make this a fun read, too.

A keeper: Prosciutto Pizza. A hot tomato and cheese pie completely covered in silken ham makes for a slice of luxury.

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