Beyond Pizza

I learned to appreciate calzones and empanadas by baking pizzas at home. If you love deep toppings and excessive cheese, you’ll want these recipes. Learn to make Sourdough Calzones and Empanadas.I didn’t appreciate calzones until I started baking beautiful pizzas at home. Before my homemade pizzas achieved elegance, they tended toward soggy masses on soft, undercooked dough or slightly burned toppings over a cracker-crisp crust. Both variations resulted from the same problem: too many toppings at too low of a temperature.

I’ve learned not to compare pizzas baked in a home oven with fully loaded, wood-fire pizzas—and especially with those I ate in Naples. Kenji, lord of Serious Eats, puts it bluntly: “You’re never going to be able to produce a perfect Neapolitan-style pie in a home oven.” The crew at Bon Appétit is a bit less forceful yet just as adamant: “For those hefty pies to work, they need an ultra-sturdy crust and a really, really, really, really hot oven. Leave it to the pros and go simple.”

So as I teach all my workshop participants, whether grilling or baking your pizza, keep your temperature high and your toppings light. But if you’re a fan of deep toppings and excessive cheese, turn your pizza dough into calzones or empanadas.
Learn to make Sourdough Calzones and Sourdough Empanadas

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Grill It, Roast It, Smoke It

And just like that, September is here. Long before I’m ready for summer to be over, the month that signals the start of fall rolls in. But even though a few of August’s garden-fresh favorites are finished for the season, September’s list of harvestable fruits and vegetables is the longest of year, with the last of the summer beans, berries, and corn bumping up against the first of the fall greens, plums, and winter squash.

If August is the month for enjoying fresh fruit and veg, September is the month for adding a bit of charred, caramelized, and smoky flavor to the produce on the table. We’ll be grilling, roasting, and smoking all month at Twice as Tasty—mostly thanks to some incredible response from recent Twice as Tasty workshops.

Although my September schedule is quickly filling up, it’s not too late to get in on the current lineup or featured workshops locally. And Twice as Tasty will be on the road again in late October! For more details, click here.
Read more about grilling, roasting, and smoking

Sourdough Starter

Long before I started baking my own bread, I craved sourdough. But I had a lot of misconceptions about the process. So for years, I baked yeast breads. I learned along the way that a dough hook on a standup mixer might prevent sore arms but at the cost of dense, inconsistent loaves. I also discovered yeast can be quite unforgiving to overproofing: leave the house during the rise time, and you’re sure to come home to a collapsed, flat mess. But I imagined that sourdough would require daily care—and consumption.

Then I was gifted a starter and took a shot at becoming a sourdough baker. I’d also been reading about no-knead breads and was intrigued by the idea of making loaves by hand without sore fingers. A bit of research, a bit of practice, and my delusions about sourdough evaporated like the liquid in a baking loaf. Learn how to find and care for sourdough starter