Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Antica Pizzeria in Marina Del Rey is part of the VPN (Verace Pizza Napoletana Americas) and they offer these 3 and 5 day classes in wood-fired pizza making in their restaurant.
Mario the Manager, Pepe the owner and Jose the impressive pizza guru were all hilarious and sweet and got me a cappucino and a caruto flour hat. And then, like that, the cute opening stuff was over and they put me to work. Today I learned how to make dough (60 balls worth at a time), make the dough balls, stretch them into pizza, add ingredients (with a light touch, natch) and then cook them in the wood fired stove. We also made our own fior di latte (aka mozzarella) from just cheese curds, milk, salt and water. That was rough on the arms, but amazing to do and taste. You have to stretch it on this stick while stirring and cooking it and sticking your hands in the almost boiling water. It was 42 pounds of cheese curds. I couldn't begin to lift that pot. Then you have to make the balls and after making 30-40 dough balls my arms were exhausted but I persisted and made 20-30 balls of cheese. My arms are throbbing now just thinking of it.
My break is almost over. Time to go back for the second shift. I'm a little scared -- while I can stretch a nice looking pizza, I have not mastered the oven. I've torn two trying to get them far back in the oven. It's rough. I'm short. The dinner shift is gonna be busy (and yes, I'm making pizza for actual real customers in a busy kitchen even though the first pizza I ever made was only six hours ago.)