Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Baker's secret

saf instant yeast
Originally uploaded by knitterj
We love pizza - who doesn't? Ever since we discovered the pure joy of indulging in a pie from Apizza Scholls in Portland, we realized how bad all the previous pizzas we'd ever had really were.

Unfortunately, making the trek to Apizza Scholls isn't very convenient. Or perhaps I should say it is fortunate - since we'd be eating there way too often! We're determined, as an alternative, to try our hand at making our own pizzas from scratch.

This had been an ongoing experiment for years, but we never took it seriously until now. There have been days when we're jonesin' for pizza and we know that everything near our house is crap and all we want is Apizza Scholls. But the distance between us, coupled with the very long wait times if you don't show up early (and the threat that they could run out of dough!), keeps us from indulging in their pies.

So we said to ourselves, why can't we make our own perfect pizza? Yeah, easier said than done. After researching this online, it was instantly clear that we had no idea what we were getting into. Apparently, the key ingredient in most "real" bread baking is a special brand of yeast - SAF Instant.

We called around the 2 Whole Foods, the gourmet food purveyor in the Pearl, etc. No one carried this. I read in a local food forum that Cash & Carry, a place I'd never even heard of, had it. But they were in Portland so I'd have to wait until the weekend when we had more time.

Then, by pure happen-stance, I found the magical ingredient at WinCo of all places. This is another grocery store I'd never been to, but I was there looking for something else (which they didn't have), and in my search I happened to pass by the spices section and out of the corner of my eye I saw the red-labeled 1-lb. bag I'd been coveting. I did a double-take, stopped in my tracks, backed up into my husband who was walking behind me, and said 'oh my god!'. He noticed it too and said the same thing.

After commenting on how funny it was that this budget-conscious store carried such a prized possession, we immediately headed over to the kitchen supply store to get a food scale, yet another item for serious bakers. I of course insisted on the pink one.