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American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  645 ratings  ·  54 reviews
On the subject of pizza, there is never a shortage of opinions. Allegiances run from the general (Chicago versus New York style, Neapolitan versus Roman) to the particular (Pepe's versus Sally's, Gino's East versus Pizzeria Uno), and new interpretations ever extend the pizza frontier.In AMERICAN PIE, master bread baker Peter Reinhart follows the trail from Italy to the Sta ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 4th 2003 by Ten Speed Press (first published November 2nd 2003)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  645 ratings  ·  54 reviews


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Stef
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
read this book in 2008 when we were planning eldest's high school graduation party, so we could offer make-your-own pizzas. great fun for all the teens but of course a mess. i premade all the crusts using 3 recipes from this book and kept them in the fridge, ready for stretching, topping and baking. a few days later we had a thunderstorm and power outage that lasted 2 days. thank goodness for the premade pizza crusts in the fridge we could grill pizza and did just that. good times.
Freyja Quinn
Sep 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food-and-drink
This books is comprised of two parts: part one is a retelling of the quest for the perfect pizza; part two is the recipes derived from the quest.

The first part is mouth–watering to the point of being pornographic. If you want to win me over it’s apparently very easy to do so by telling me tales of crisp crusts with molten, bubbling blends of cheese. It’s a story really …but worth noting because the lesson is that there is no perfect pizza, just a confluence of pizza made with care and the moment
...more
Erin
Dec 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I'm giving this book a score of 5 not because of the literary elements, but because of the recipes. As a result of reading this book, I now make pizza that is better than any I've ever eaten out at a restaurant. I'm sure that there is pizza better than mine out there, but I haven't had it.

Seriously. Read this book and all restaurant pizza will be a let down in the future.

Plus, it helps that I have a pizza stone and a convection oven.
Carrie Templeton
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Both the quest and the recipes make this book phenomenal.
barry
Feb 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I learned I need a hearth insert for our gas oven and, furthermore, that I cannot delay another year the building of a brick dome oven in our backyard. The hearth insert came and it rocks. Pizzas in 6 minutes and better than the Neapolitan Punch pizza place in St. Paul (more consistently cooked not mushy in the middle). Opened my eyes to grilling pizza over hardwood charcoal on the Weber. Great stuff.
Lesley Looper
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, food, non-fiction
I read this book because I love pizza, and also because I saw a reading challenge for picking a book in February with the word "pie" in the title. I really enjoyed this book, both for the hunt for the best restaurant pizza and for the recipes. This is a fun one if you're a pizza fan like me!
Phil M
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it
About 1/3 the book details Peter's adventures throughout Europe & the US searching for "the best" pizza; the middle 1/3 describes different dough recipes and how to bake them; the remaining 1/3 lists umpteen permutations of pizza toppings.

I found the middle 1/3 (recipes and baking suggestions) the most interesting/useful in my own search for the perfect home-baked pizza. My big disappointment was that the ingredients weren't listed by weight, but rather by volume measurement (cu/tbsp/tsp vs g/oz
...more
Steve
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is easily one of my favorite cookbooks ever. I picked up pizza making as a hobby years ago, and this has been a go-to when trying out new styles. The recipes are wonderful, and Reinhart's stories about searching for great pizza around the world are thoroughly enjoyable.
Nancy
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun travelogue linking pizza from Italy to various places in the US combined with an eclectic sampling of pizza types with well-considered recipes.
Natalie Olsen
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
good recipe for Italian style crust using combo of regular and 00 flours
Darren
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
The perfect, true pizza is one of those things that can polarise opinions, test friendships and create disputes - and that is just in the United States before one examines what purports to be the true pizza from different Italian regions and how other countries interpret the true pizza.

This book sets out to find what the author claims is the perfect pizza and shows along the way the sheer trouble involved in examining dozens of varieties that vie to be the one true thing. A search for the Holy G
...more
Yaaresse
Pizza may be, IMO, one of the world's perfect foods when done right. Unfortunately, it's getting harder and harder to find good pizza, so I usually make it from scratch. Having learned a lot about bread baking from Reinhart's Crust and Crunb and Brother Juniper's Bread Book, I thought this book might help me fine-tune my pizza technique.

The book is in two parts: travelogue/hunt for the perfect pizza and recipes. The hunt for the perfect pizza is amusing, but gets a little tedious as it goes on.
...more
Anita
Jan 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I think this suffered a little in comparison with Reinhart's other books, which i adore and have much more bread science in them. There was a little here, but when I wanted to know why something mattered I always ended up going back to his other books to look it up.

The first section, a bit of a travelogue of different pizza places in Italy and the US, was really enjoyable to start with. I did find it went on a bit too long, and was perhaps a little reliant on the readers knowing a little about U
...more
Richard Quis
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A must read for pizza hunters, pizza makers and restaurant entrepreneurs. Peter Reinhardt has the rare talent to explain the role of provincial food memories in re-creating your perfect pizza, the challenges of producing flavors of universal appeal and the energy and passion needed to make consistently memorable pizza.

Explore the magical world of pizza - college-town pizza, pizza vesuvio, seven-foot long pizza, DOC standard pizza, grilled pizza, deep-dish pie, New York pizza and pizza on sheet-m
...more
Adrian Hale
Jul 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
I found this book highly enjoyable. I loved following Reinhart on his travels through Italy and America searching for the perfect pizza. He brings some truths to the search that speak not only for pizza, but for any earnest search for something meaningful. He describes the difference between what he calls "contextual perfection" and "paradigmatic perfection". Reinhart describes how the context in which we do something (such as eat a pizza), can enhance an experience to the point that what we per ...more
Ensiform
Feb 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, travel, food
The first 87 pages of this book is the narrative; I skipped the 170 or so pages of recipes, which I had no interest in. Spurred by an unsatisfactory visit to a favorite pizza joint of his boyhoood, Reinhart travels to Milan, Rome, Naples, New York, New Haven, Providence and several other cities in search for pizza.

He learns of the strict rules that govern the making of real pizza napoletana, and in the U.S. comes across “pizzas” that stretch the meaning of the word, such as sushi and toppings on
...more
Robin
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
For the dough recipes alone, this book gets 5 stars. The tale of a search around the world for great pizza is entertaining and enlightening. I must admit, the sauce recipes are not so great. I did only try the tomato based sauces, because I'm a traditionalist when it comes to pizza. Red sauce, cheese, meat, veggies. I do like BBQ sauce on occasion, but that becomes almost something different entirely. Luckily, I was able to develop what I believe is the perfect pizza sauce on my own. At least it ...more
Katrina
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Just about everyone loves pizza. Peter Reinhart does too. Through travels across the U.S. and in Italy he relates the experience of eating at some of the worlds best pizzarias. A very entertaining read and then some very detailed recipes for several types of dough and mixing and baking particulars. Also are some traditional and no so traditional topping combinations.

My own pizza dough routine has been tweaked and and is better for his insights into how to coax out the qualities of a great pizza
...more
Lindsi
May 15, 2013 added it
Gets kind of tedious through the "hunt" section, and recalls a recent piece in The Atlantic about foodies and food porn. The long and short is that the best pizza still lives in Italy. In the US, he says it's in Arizona - and pizzeta something or other in the Richmond is the best place in SF.m the recipes are informative - but very little instruction on actual technique, unless you cross-reference the section in the "hunt" part of the book. Long and short is that if you already kinda know now to ...more
Andrew Gray
Oct 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love this book, though be warned - it's not exactly a regular cookbook. The first half is a bit of a travelogue and personal journey as Peter seeks out different types of pizza around the world, trying to capture some of the flavours of his youth and of the history of pizza. The second half consists of recipes which recreate the various pizzas he was impressed with in his travels.

I really liked this mix; it provides a context to his abiding interest in pizza and also provides a useful perspect
...more
Anthony
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life. For anyone looking for a fantastic book about pizza, this is not only a must-read, but a must-own. I've always been a fan of pizza, and reading about the travels in search of great pizza really resonated with my inner pizza lover. The recipes section of the book is unparalleled, and serves as a fantastic reference for any different type of pizza you may want to make. Thanks to this book's recipes, my grilled pizza went from mediocre to amazing after switching my dough ...more
Dana
Feb 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Peter Reinhardt is the best bread teacher as far as I am concerned. I have a large collection of bread books but have learned the most from his books and his videos on craftsy.com. As pizza is a form of bread I got Reinhardt's book on pizza. The beginning of the book is about his journey to several places in Italy and then across the United States trying different pizzas in search of the best. What follows is a host of pizza recipes, including many different styles of doughs, sauces and toppings ...more
Linera
Nov 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
Ah, a readable cookbook. Clear, precise yet lively prose, pornographic photos of pizzas in all their dressed and naked glory, what more could a girl want? Well, I'll tell you. She could want Peter to move right on out here and move in next door. Unfortunately for me, Peter has his own pizza place in Charlotte, NC, to run. Sad. But I've just taken a hot loaf of bread out of the oven, and as soon as it cools, I'll console myself in a little ritual involving too much good butter.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Mar 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baking, read2010
I am not ashamed to say I paid full price for an autographed copy of this at Reinhart's Pie Town Restaurant in Charlotte, NC. His pizza dough recipes are the reason I make pizza at home and turn my nose up to most of what I eat otherwise. You might not need this cookbook if you have the Bread Baker's Apprentice pizza crust recipe and are good at using your own creativity, but I found it instructive regarding grilling pizza, toppings balance, and ingredients.
Michael
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book ever!

The first part covers the author's travels while he discovers the myriad styles of pizza made in the US and Italy. Which I found very interesting because he delves into some of the history behind the styles.

The second part is all about making pizza. The author offers tips, techniques and recipes for making pizza at home. I have not found a bad recipe yet, they have all been delicious.
Dan Appel
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoy Pizza wish to understand and want to be able to make it at home then why not learn from the best!

Peter Reinhart is recognized as the premier teacher of baking (as opposed to pastry) in the world. This is the story of his odyssey to find the world's best pizza. A fun read filled with all kinds of recipes and techniques for making this wonderful health food - high gluten flour, low fat un-aged cheese, healthy vegetables and mushrooms - come on, that's health food isn't it?
Betsy
Jan 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
I've learned to make the best homemade pizza dough by reading this book. I have yet to try all of the recipes, but the few I have tried have been excellent. Also, I enjoyed learning about the differences in pizza styles from Italy to the U.S. - and when I finished the book, I felt this overwhelming need to go around to my local pizza joints and analyze their pies. It was....Good Reads.
Matt Singleton
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Interesting narrative and great recipes.

I was already getting pretty good at making pizza in my home oven, and I've tried grilled pizza, but this book really got me to step up my game. With recipes and techniques for every kind of dough, and lots of inspiration for making great, fresh-tasting sauces, this book has everything you need.
Jenny
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
The best food is made by people who are passionate about their work--so says Peter Reinhart throughout this entertaining volume of pizza recipes and the tale of the great search. (The search isn't over, by the way.) I've made several of the crusts now, and I still can't decide which I like the best.
Serge Pierro
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food-and-wine
An amazing book. First there is Reinhart in his quest to find the perfect pizza. A very enjoyable read as his adventure takes him all over the place. Then of course there is the section of the book for recipes and such. As a HUGE fan of pizza, I feel that this is the definitive book on the subject. Both sections of the book are outstanding!
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Peter Reinhart is a baking instructor at Johnson & Wales University. He was the co-founder of the legendary Brother Juniper's Bakery in Sonoma, California, and is the author of five books on bread baking, including Brother Juniper's Bread Book and the modern classic The Bread Baker's Apprentice, which was named cookbook of the year in 2002 by both the James Beard Foundation and the International A ...more

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