According to a story on NPR.org, “Jeff Varasano’s online pizza recipe reads more like a manifesto. In 22,000 words, he describes every facet of the craft: dough kneading techniques, choosing the right tomatoes, how to cultivate sourdough starters. The list goes on and on.”
“Varasano says he never intended to produce such a comprehensive piece of work. ‘It started with a posting I made to a Web site,” he says, “recommending a certain electric mixer over another very popular one.'”
“His post created an uproar on the message board. So did his instructions on how to preheat his oven.”
“‘In order to properly bake a Neapolitan-style pizza, the most important aspect is heat — hot heat,’ Varasano says. Brick ovens across New York and Italy reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. However, a conventional kitchen oven, powered by either electric or gas, will only reach 500 to 550 degrees.”
“Varasano came up with a solution. ‘I lopped off the safety lock using a pair of garden shears,’ he says with a laugh, ‘and I preheated my oven using the clean setting.’ He says using that method allowed him to get the perfect char on the pizza. However, he says — in the strongest of terms — no one should try this. “I’m only saying what I’ve done, not what other people should do,” he warns. ‘Please — no lawyers.'”
Visit NPR.org to hear the interview with Varasano.