Yesterday I mentioned in passing I'd give you a run-down of the "away game" pizza-making kit I dragged over to a friend's to do a tasting flight of four pies. If you make pizza at home already, you've probably got all the junk you'd need. Still, if you're curious, here's my tool bag, after the jump.
Honestly, this could also serve as a list of stuff you'd need if you were just starting out, since it's pretty bare bones. (If that's you, you can add more junk later, as you become addicted to DIY pies.)
There's at least one really good way (the Skillet-Broiler Method) you can cook a pizza without a pizza stone. But my favorite recipe of the moment requires one. Your target destination may have one there; check with your prospective host first, of course.
Pro tip: If you're a total pizza geek and have more than one stone, take your least favorite one. That's what I did. Why? Because unless you're sticking around for a few hours after you're done, you won't be able to transport the hot stone back home and will have to come back for it later.
Pizza freaks tend to waste a whole lot of energy discussing pizza peels. For an away game pizza session, though, you don't want to put too much thought into it or carry too much junk. I took only a single basic wood pizza peel.
Yes, at home I build pies and transfer to the oven on a wood peel and then turn and pull them with a metal one, but, really? You can do all this with one peel.
Serving Plate(s) or Pan(s)
If you know your host has pizza pans or plates (or some sort of largeish platter or cutting board), then you could probably omit this item from your travel kit. But you'll probably need to take at least one serving piece large enough to plop a pizza on. Two such pieces would be ideal, but you could get away with just one, depending on how causal you think your off-site pizza session is going to be.
My session was pretty damn casual — at the apartment of one of my oldest friends, someone I was roommates with in college for several years. This guy is like family, so I wasn't worried about impressing him with all the niceties of pizza service. Still, I was pretty sure he didn't have pizza pans or pizza plates, so I took one of my own plates. When it was time for the next round, we just haphazardly stacked uneaten slices on a dinner plate, reverting to our college cavemen behavior.
A Pizza Cutter
It's probably fair to assume that most households have a pizza cutter of some sort. But you know what they say about the word assume. Take one just in case. I assumed my friend had one, and whaddaya know. No dice. "Why would I need a pizza cutter?" my friend asked. "I don't really eat pizza at home — always from a pizzeria." As always, if you're really worried about and don't want to carry yet another item, check with your host.
I know this was controversial* when I posted it, but I find these mesh spice shakers pretty useful for spreading semolina flour on the peel. Yes, your hands work too, but I find the shaker gives me a little more control and helps me avoid making too much of a mess — a boon when you're working in someone else's space.
Disposable Plastic Bowls
I use these "disposable" plastic bowls as my usual dough containers anyway, so there was no question I'd be taking a number of them on the road with me. But even if you normally use something else, you might want to pick up some of these at the grocery store anyway. They're the perfect size for cold-rising a single portion of dough.
I've used both the Glad bowls and the Ziplock ones. Either is fine, but I prefer the round Glad "Large" size; the nearest Ziplock equivalent is taller and takes up unnecessary fridge space.
Well, this is obvious, no? Tools aren't going to do you any good without the dough, sauce, cheese, etc. Seriously? Prep this stuff in advance** and pack it in plasticware, bags, etc.
I'm normally an ingredient glutton at home, prepping far too much stuff and storing any extra for a future pizza night. This is not the time for that kind of behavior. Prep only as much as you think you'll need. Obvious tip, but it's one that bears repeating.
OK... anything I forgot? As I finish up this post — just as I finished packing my bags for my away game evening — I have that nagging feeling that I've forgotten something. Clue me in if you think I've left out anything essential.
Only in this wacky world of pizza nerds could something like a flour shaker cause controversy.
** I'm assuming you've prepped the dough well in advance and it's in a travel-ready container already, right?