It’s not too often that you would go to cooking class with your own serving or cutting board in tow, but that’s exactly what we did earlier this month, when we took a class called “The Art of Making Pizza” at Schola, a cooking school here in Baltimore. The owners, Chefs Jerry and Amy, tell us it’s one of their most popular classes. That’s no surprise - who doesn’t love pizza, especially when it’s homemade? They didn’t disappoint!
We walked through the doors at Schola and immediately felt like we had walked into a party. Everyone was drinking wine and chatting. It was mostly people we didn’t know, but part of the fun is meeting new people. We were with our friends Helen and Mark of Strawbright Farm and Helen met a lady that was neighbors with her father. That’s Smaltimore for you.
Class started with Chef Jerry explaining the two types of dough he has made for us (it has to be prepared in advance because it takes days to make). One was a deep dish dough and one was non-deep dish. The deep dish dough was made the morning of class and the other one, he made three days before - it took that long to do its thing and be ready. He talked about the yeast he used- a wet yeast vs the dry yeast that most of us would use. He passed it around so we could smell it. He also showed us that we could use our hands to spread the dough out or use a rolling pin.
Chef Jerry then talked to us about pizza stones. I didn’t know this, but for the best results when cooking pizza at home you should have a pizza stone for each rack in your oven. The stone should be as large as your rack. Even if you are cooking one pizza you should still have a stone on each rack. The stones will keep your oven hot and you need a very hot oven to get the best results with pizza.
You need a good quality stone of at least 1” thick. The day after the class, Mike ordered pizza stones from Amazon. He does listen. At least we already had the pizza board for serving.
Jerry sends us to a long table behind where we gathered for our lesson, to start making our pizzas. The dough and all the fixings were there for us to start creating.
One of the things he told us was to not pile our toppings too high on the non-deep dish pizza because it has to be able to slide off the paddle into the oven. But Mike just couldn’t resist all the mouth-watering toppings. His pizza wasn’t budging. Of course, Jerry has seen that before. He fixed it and in the oven it went. On to the next pizza.
It’s a frenzy of making pizza, figuring out where to put your wine glass so you remember where it is and eating. We’d never eaten so much pizza at one time.
Fun doesn’t even describe the night. Great for a date night or gather your friends and have a cooking class party where no one has to shop or clean!
Thanks, Jerry and Amy! Looking forward to our next visit.
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