John Gutekanst offers pizza dough tips on The Hot Slice Podcast
This week on The Hot Slice Podcast, we are chatting with creative pizza genius John Gutekanst about his and our favorite subject, pizza dough. John is a past keynote speaker at Pizza and Pasta Northeast. He owns Avalanche Pizza and Slice House in Athens, Ohio, is a contributor with Pizza Today, Emcee at the International Pizza Challenge and frequent demo and seminar presenter. He is an award-winning pizzaiolo, baker, teacher, speaker and author and has been featured in Gastronomica, Food Arts, National Geographic, Alimentum Food Journal, Food Network and Best Food Writing.
In the latest Knead to Know column, John goes in depth into building a better crumb structure in your pizza crust or what he calls the “guts”. Pizza makers and pizza enthusiasts are captivated by the interlocking web of gluten on sideview photos of pizza on Instagram. The gluten development isn’t magic. It takes continual experimentation. John talks about adjustments you can tweak during the dough-making process that will dramatically impact the pizza’s crumb structure. If you’ve never manipulated your dough formula, John provides where to start to experiment with various results in crumb structure.
In “Guts” John says, “One of the most important aspects of pizza is hidden inside the crust. All the work of selecting cheeses, sauce and toppings that bake perfectly on pizza are second to the rise, cell structure and texture of the interior of the crust. The internal affairs office of any given pizza reflects the relationship between flour, water, time and baking temperature in what will become the base. These factors all bring the specific elements of flavor and texture to the final product and is like a relay race where all the runners deliver a final win for the team. If one of them stumbles, the team suffers, but when everything goes perfectly it’s a glorious day in Pizzaville. Read John’s Knead to Know column now.
Next Big Pizza Movement
We couldn’t help but ask John to share his insights on how pizza is evolving and what’s next. Roman has had a gradual rise and he sees the long pan-style pizza to continue. Learn about why and how it is growing across the U.S.
Another climber is the pizza slice business. We shares his own experience with the serving pizza slices and where it is headed. PizzaToday.com has a wealth of knowledge on the pizza slice business. Here are a few things that you must do in order to maximize your chances of success serving pizza slices:
- Quality. Use the best ingredients possible, from flour to tomato sauce to cheese. A high-quality, high-gluten flour and low moisture whole milk mozzarella work best for this type of operation. Cheaper mozzarellas do not hold or reheat well.
- Know your numbers. Yes, we always hear that pizza by the slice is very profitable, especially because you get more money per pie (ex. $20 for whole pie, but $3.5 per slice, 8 slices per pie $28) but if you are only selling two to three slice of the pie, you might be losing money. Know what every pizza costs you, know what every slice costs you. Also know how many pizzas you are selling, so you’re not over making them and left with a lot of waste.
- Have a killer display. People eat with their eyes, so make sure your pizzas look fantastic and are always on display. There is something to be said about slices. People want to see them, and they love to pick out their slice. Having signage or photos won’t be as effective as having them on display for your guests. You also want to make sure displays are always clean and well lit, so that your customers can get a good look at the slices. And have a nice selection. People don’t want to see only the usual boring cheese, sausage and pepperoni.
This week’s The Hot Slice Podcast hosts are Senior Creative Director Josh Keown and Executive Editor Denise Greer.
Thanks to our sound engineer and designer Katie Wilson.