cover image Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day

Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day

Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe François. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-64994-4

The tips and techniques section alone makes this book invaluable to anyone attempting to make pizza at home. Every problem you might encounter is discussed in a friendly, you’re-not-stupid-for-asking-this-question! manner. Hertzberg and François start with the basics: “How brown should pizza cheese get?” or “How do you prevent a soggy pizza crust?” and move to the more scientific: “Why do you cut medium-soft cheese into chunks rather than grating or slicing it?” The recipe section is similarly orchestrated. The first recipe, for a classic Margherita pie, is painstakingly broken down into finely detailed directions, with pictures in case you get lost. You’ll actually enjoy reading the directions, as the authors provide reasons for every move: “Do not punch down the dough! With our method, you’re trying to retain as much gas in the dough as possible, and punching it down knocks out gas and will make your pizza and flatbreads dense.” It feels encouraging, not coddling, and soon you’ll be making the delicious recipes, like Turkish spiced lamb flatbread or goat cheese and onion pizzette. (Nov.)