Hello art history fans!
I am back with this week’s findings from our walk through time exploring “The Pizza Behind the Art”. Thank you Shelly for again digging up the truth for us, so we can better understand and appreciate the work of, in this case, Edvard Munch.
Until we started digging, it was believed that Edvard had only created only 4 versions of The Scream. Well, we’ve uncovered the 5th, and actually the first version of this piece that actually enlightens us as to what all this screaming was about!! Barely still legible, scrawled in chalk on the back of this piece, is the story……………
In a nutshell, poor Edvard had long been a failure in his pizza making quest. It was the transfer to the pizza stone part which had frustrated him. He had tried using a sheet of cardboard, the back of a cookie sheet, a wooden peel, a metal peel, even a $150 imported, perforated and anodized metal peel. Nothing worked well and consistently for him, and it seemed it was always when there was company over that his peelly actions failed him most! This, it seems, was the one and only thing he could safely rely on. Oh, the humanity!!
Finally, the last straw came!! After yet another complete and utter Pizza Wreck, again before a hungry mob, he dragged the oven, with stone and the ruined pizza still clinging onto it, out onto this nearby bridge. He was just about to toss it overboard, to blow off all of the steam from his pizza ruining life, when he had an acute and complete psychotic melt down!!!! This, the first and real version of The Scream, was drawn while Edvard was inpatient at the Norwegian Centre for Mental Disorders Research.
Poor Edvard. If only he’d gotten a Super Peel!! His pizza transfers would have always gone perfectly!
Please don’t let this happen to you!! Don’t let a bad pizza transfer experience land you in the loony bin!! No matter how thick or thin, or how heavily laden with toppings, Super Peel will always deliver the dough, safely and spot on!!
He could have had a better life, and we would have saved many pizzas and at least one oven. But, we would not have The Scream!!!!
You can’t make this stuff up! Now you finally know the true story!!
This was so easy and beautiful and delicious, I just had to share it with the world! Though this recipe was Gluten Free, the tools and technique can be used with regular wheat dough for superb results also.
The recipe was a simplified version of my GF Mock Whole Wheat Pizza Dough and came out perfectly. I just didn’t feel like messing around with all the ingredients. I apologize in advance for not having accurate ingredient amounts, but that is how I tend to bake. Just toss together what feels about right. Usually works out well for this type of baking, as all we are really trying to do is get the hydration right.
The Simplified Recipe:
~3 Cups 50:50 mix of Bob’s Red Mill AP GF Flour and Super Fine Brown Rice Flour
~ 1/4 Cup Flaxseed Meal
~ 1/2 t. Xanthan Gum
~ 1 1/2 t. Active Dry yeast
~ 1 Cup Warm water with sprinkling of Sugar for the Yeast
~ 2 t. Sugar
~ 2 T EVOO
~ 1 1/2 t. Salt
Pizza sauce (I used a large can of whole tomatoes with a lot of home-grown oregano and little sugar, salt, pepper and EVOO.) Simmered down until it was thick, and it was amazing!!
Make the Dough
Basically, just proof the yeast in the warm water and sprinkling of sugar.
Mix all Dry Ingredients
Add EVOO and enough of the Yeast/Water and beat well to reach a soft whipped mashed potato consistency. Blend in additional flour or water as needed to get the consistency right. It should have just barely enough strength to hold up its own weight.
Cover and set aside in warm area to rise for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile put baking stone on top rack directly under broiler (within 2-3 inches) to preheat. I leave the oven door ajar, so that the broiler element mostly stays on.
After 30 minutes gently release the dough from bowl to well floured surface, and gently spread by hand to desired size – mine was 14″.
Lift and replace a couple of times with Super Peel during spreading, to ensure it does not stick to your work surface – I used my thin and lightweight Super Peel Pro.
After spreading to full size, just let alone to rise a bit – uncovered is fine and even better, as it allows a slight skin to form on the top surface of the dough round. This makes it a bit easier to top, as the dough is otherwise very soft and fragile. Here is the dough resting.
After another 30 minutes, your pizza stone will be super heated! And your pizza will be ready to top. We used our sauce, precooked green peppers, mozzarella and romano, and pepperoni. Use whatever you have or prefer. Here is the pie ready to go in the oven, before and after being lofted with the Super Peel.
Now into the oven for 2 1/2 – 3 minutes.
Yes, it really is that close to the broiler!
I hope that you take these words and experiment! Let me know how it turns out! This was on one of the best Gluten Free Pies so far!! Just remember to adjust heat and proximity to the broiler so that you end up with balanced baking on the top and the bottom – like this!
Yum!! Any questions?
The Woes of Wood and Water or Why Wood Warps (Technically, the term is “Cupping”)
Just like oil and water, wood and water do not mix. Well they do, but the results are usually less than desirable. With Wood, we are not just talking water like it comes out of the faucet. We are also talking of that insidious water that lurks in the air all around is. We usually don’t notice it (the water that is), except in the summer when there is too much of it and it is too humid to sleep because the AC is broken, or in the winter when there is so little in the air inside our homes that our skin starts looking like dried wall paper paste. But WOOD, it notices it all the time, and is very sensitive to it.
Why is this so? Well, it’s because wood has an internal structure like a sponge, with lots of little cells that just love to soak up water, and just as easily release it when the air it is exposed to is dry. Wood does not want to be a bad actor, it simply wants to comply with whatever it is exposed to. That doesn’t sound so sinister, and wood is fairly good at equilibrating if just given half a chance. It is PEOPLE that get in the way and CAUSE it to misbehave!
Let’s take a look at some examples of what a peel (or any thin flat piece of wood) will do, and why, when it is prevented from doing its own thing.
So, Now What?
If it is flat like the top diagram, great! Leave it alone, but store it away properly, in one of the ways I have discussed previously – some manner that will maintain equal air exposure to both flat surfaces.
However, if you were not so lucky, as in the middle or bottom drawing……….While, the answer is not rocket science, it is a bit more complicated than what you may read elsewhere on the internet. The usual remedy, and one that I also recommend (first anyway), is to simply flip the peel over and leave it reversed for a period of time necessary for it to flatten. Then, store properly! The rub is, if humidity conditions have changed in the house since it became warped, flipping it over may simply make matters worse. In such a case, as in yesterday was very humid, but a cold front passed through overnight and now the air is drier or drying out, it may be best to just leave it as it is and it will likely start to return to flat. In all cases, a peel may not return to total flatness, and there are some coaxing methods that may work. I will discuss some coaxing means to try next time.
So, for heaven’s sake, please take care of your peel, and don’t make it misbehave. Your peel will thank you, because it cannot help itself!!
As a final note, every piece of wood in a glued up panel will behave differently. With moisture absorption or loss, each piece of wood will move. Our Peels and Super Peels are all made from seasoned hardwood and are glued up from many narrow boards that are 1.5″ wide. The use of many narrow boards makes a stronger peel, and one that will generally stay flatter than one made from only a few wide boards. This is because the movements within many narrow boards will be small and they will tend to cancel each other out across the peel’s width. When wide boards are used in a glue up, the wood movement in any one board may be large and it will tend to be amplified, resulting in more extreme warping.
We know wood and we know peels. So, we do our best to always make them the very best that we can, and we give you the knowledge to help you keep them that way!
Our Solid Cherry Pizza Peels are available on Amazon at a below cost price for a limited time. This peel is a beauty and is finally back in stock after 2 years gone missing. What did we gain during those 2 years?? Frankly, a lot. These are far better quality, trimmer and lighter in weight, more uniform construction, better glue-ups and actually made from far nicer wood than the predecessor peel that received mostly 5 star reviews on Amazon. For business reasons we needed to find a new manufacturer. Finally, this product landed right at our main manufacturer – Essex Industries in Mineville, NY. That is great for us, because they make our Super Peel boards, and we know and trust their quality and attention to fine detail. There is not a finer peel available anywhere at anything close to the price.
Speaking of price……that’s where you win!!! The current sale price of $29.95 (with free shipping for Amazon Prime members), is far below our costs. When you play with the big guys you better have a game plan. Being away for 2 years, this product has lost “visibility” on Amazon, so we need to fix that!!!! That’s where you come in. We obviously cannot continue with this price, so it will be going back up soon. Pick one of these up while this drastically reduced re-introduction price is being offered. When you receive it and see for yourself just how awesome it is, please consider posting a Customer Review (not seller feedback, though those are also appreciated) to let others know about it. Thanks!!!!!
Also, if you think of it, we would love to hear from you directly and are always happy to answer any questions you might have. So, feel free to send a note or give me a call. Remember, EXO is a small company owned, run and operated solely by the Super Peel inventor (me). When you buy from EXO, you are not just buying 100% Made in USA, you are also supporting American Inventrepreneurship and the local woodworking craftspeople of upstate New York!
As we have been taking a look back at “The Pizza Behind the Art” of the past, some very current and timely examples of Pizza Inspired Artwork have just come to my attention, thanks to Albert Grande of Pizzatherapy whom I have known since my very early Super Peel days, for sharing this. Here is Albert’s interview of Scott Wiener of Scott’s Pizza Tours, and author of “The Art of the Pizza Box“.
Pizza boxes don’t have to look like THIS:
I mean, would you ever order a pizza again in THAT box, when it could come in one like this:
The book is a bit reminiscent of Kramer’s “Coffee Table Book”
But, I’ll have to admit this is a pretty cool book, if you are at all into this type of thing. I just ordered my copy of it today from Amazon, but you can also find it at your local book stores. Who knew there were so many creative minds at work designing pizza boxes?
So, come on all you lazy pizza shop owners! Lets put your pizza behind some art!
Albert also interviewed me a while ago as part of his The Legends Of Pizza series – Who me? I was certainly flattered! That interview can be found here, and contains a lot of history behind the inventing, making and marketing of the Super Peel.
When you make your pizza, you make it out of love, and it is a statement about your Art of the Craft. So, always be sure you launch it safely with your Super Peel. We do our best to prevent Pizza Wrecks before they even happen!
Next up in the continuing series of “The Pizza [wrecks] Behind The Art” will be a real SCREAMER!! Stay tuned…….
More of The Pizza Behind the Art
Here we investigate (thank you Shelly!) another famous painting and artist, in Super Peel’s continuing educational series “The Pizza Behind the Art”. Truly an American icon, is Grant Wood’s famous painting American Gothic. Another American icon (sorry Italy, but we Americans do take it to its max!) is PIZZA! So, it comes as no great surprise to find a historical connection between these two. A suggestion that this is so can be found around the internet. From the numerous other gothic pizza parodies that can be found to even ads produced by Big Box Pizza (no brand or pizza endorsement is implied here!), the connection is seemingly so strong you can almost taste it!
What we have uncovered in this never before seen early version of this famous painting, is the true story behind it – The Pizza Behind the Art!
You see, when Wood happened across this house in Rural Iowa, he was so drawn to it that he had to explore it completely. In the back yard, he found a Weber grill! Sorry, his work predated the Kettle Pizza, or we are sure there would have been one. On the grill was a perfectly round, perfectly placed pizza; and standing next to it was a man with an ear spanning grin on his face. When asked, the man (a local Iowan banker) explained that he had finally found a tool that would move his pizzas to his grill without angst or mishap (or misshape). His smile is well understood – we get it!! Nothing can wipe that I’m making a pizza smile off your face faster than a badly executed pizza launch. The tool he had discovered was the Super Peel!
You too can share in his jubilation, and never fear that dreaded pizza launch again! Or, are you really just that good – Always? All of our Super Peels can be found right HERE. Super Peel will help you perfectly transfer your pizza masterpieces, masterfully, every time! While we cannot continue in this tradition, we also learned that the peel in this painting was acquired through the trade of a three tined hay fork! All we can say is: Well played Mr. Iowan Farmer/Banker man! And, of course, thank you Mr. Wood for capturing this classic glimpse of American history for us!
The only thing left to uncover is the reason for this woman’s still dour face. Perhaps she is a doubter, dismayed by the purchase of yet another pizza making tool. With all of the promises, the pizza bricks, stones and steels……..spatulas and paddles, ovens and grills etc., etc., which have come before her in his search for the perfect pizza, this is quite arguably……….well………understandable. But, we know that she will change her attitude once she sees the Super Peel in action. No matter whatever has gone into your pizza making, it always, eventually, comes down to, every time, the Launch (thanks Andris!). Pizza peel, don’t fail me now!!
Always launch with confidence with your Super Peel!
The Pizza behind the Art
Every pizza that you make IS a work of art, both visually and tastefully! As proof, the internet is literally overflowing with pizza pics; some absolutely mouth-watering, while those at the opposite end of the spectrum can be downright depressing to look at. Though, we know that however ugly, their mothers loved them all!!
In keeping with a theme of “Every Pizza is a Work of Art”, we are taking a look back to see just how pizza making has sometimes been a catalyst as “The Pizza Behind the Art”. What we are finding is that many famous artwork pieces have actually been inspired by pizza. As the first of a series of parodies on famous art pieces, my daughter Shelly has done some serious digging into the personal life of Salvador Dali. What she has learned may astound you!
When ole Sal wasn’t painting, by night he lived the very secret life of a frustrated pizzaiolo. He never quite learned how to launch his pizzas onto his baking stone with the necessary precision. If only he had a Super Peel, placing them perfectly would have been a cinch, and they would not have been sliding every old which way!! What we have uncovered is this early draft of his famous piece “The Persistence of Time”. Now you know the true story of S. Dali and “The Pizza Behind the Art!!”
Stay tuned for more…………………….
Salvador Dali’s Back Yard