When Ken Forkish opened Ken’s Artisan Bakery in Portland, OR fifteen years ago, pizza was just a thought in a corner of his brain. He only opened Ken’s Artisan Pizza because of the runaway success of the bakery’s weekly Monday Night Pizza event. The pattern happened again when he opened Trifecta with no pizza on the menu (besides flatbread and a tarte flambe), only to open another pizzeria called Trifecta Annex shortly thereafter. It all comes back to pizza. Ken’s first book was a magnum opus to bread called Flour Salt Water Yeast, but the pattern continues as he zooms in on the best format a bread could ever hope to take: pizza. The Elements of Pizza separates pizza making from bread baking the way only someone who has mastered both arts can. It’s a beautifully assembled guide for any pizza maker with tips and tricks to coax world class pizza from your home oven.
Ken starts with the basics to inspire the reader. We get some insight on the planet’s most significant pizzerias and pizza cities before delving into what separates their respective styles. Ken gives you the easily digestible (pun intended) details that clarify the boundaries between styles. The first chapter about cooking deals exclusively with the crust – and here’s where a baker’s perspective really shines. After reading the dough chapter you’ll have a much better understanding of how time and temperature are crucial to developing good dough. He really gets into the Why? and How? of the process, right down to the gear you use for pizza making.
It’s an awesome book with stunning pictures, written in a voice that’s explanatory without being overly technical. GO GET IT!