Modernist Cuisine https://modernistcuisine.com/ The Art and Science of Cooking Tue, 31 Oct 2023 23:57:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://modernistcuisine.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-Site-Logo-32x32.png Modernist Cuisine https://modernistcuisine.com/ 32 32 Remembering Thierry Rautureau https://modernistcuisine.com/mc/remembering-thierry-rautureau/ https://modernistcuisine.com/mc/remembering-thierry-rautureau/#respond Tue, 31 Oct 2023 23:56:29 +0000 https://modernistcuisine.com/?p=21578 We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend Chef Thierry Rautureau. Here are a few words from our founder Nathan Myhrvold: Thierry was a friend and a mentor. He taught me many important things about being a chef. I loved going to Rover’s. I went there frequently as a customer and […]

The post Remembering Thierry Rautureau appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend Chef Thierry Rautureau. Here are a few words from our founder Nathan Myhrvold:

Thierry was a friend and a mentor. He taught me many important things about being a chef. I loved going to Rover’s. I went there frequently as a customer and also worked there as a stagier in the kitchen prior to going to culinary school in France. I worked there one night a week when I could get there from Microsoft. The school that I wanted to go to required real work experience in a French kitchen for their advanced professional course, and Thierry taught me very well.

At one point in the course, we had to bone a duck to make a very classic French dish, which was something I did a lot a Rover’s so I started working away. The chef instructor, who was very intimidating, came up behind me to observe my work and finally said: “You there. Where did you learn to do this? You know a duck like a Frenchman.” And I only know a duck like a Frenchman because of Thierry.

Thierry was a fantastic mentor. Traditional French chefs are famous for being loud and angry if you screw up. Thierry didn’t run that kind of kitchen. His kitchen was calm and generally quiet, even when he was disappointed if something didn’t work out right. There was no screaming. He had great stories of a famous three-star French chef whom he’d worked for earlier in his career. This chef would jump up on top of the stove, while it was on, and kick the pots and pans off when he was upset. There was none of that from Thierry. He’d experienced it in his apprenticeship, and he wasn’t going to pass that along.

Thierry liked to say that Rover’s was Northwest cuisine with a French accent—I always teased him that it was more like modern French cuisine, with Northwest ingredients. He did a tremendous job and he really broadened what fine dining in Seattle meant. Prior to Thierry coming, fine dining here probably meant eating at a steakhouse with a menu that hadn’t changed in 30 years. He brought a command of techniques that was worthy of any kitchen in France which he married with the incredible ingredients and the general sensibility people have about food in the Northwest. It was a tremendous combination.

We once got into a discussion about a conversation he had with a chef from France who was making fun of American food. Thierry got upset and he said, “Look, all of my ingredients here are better than the ingredients that I had in France for the dishes I actually cook.” He hugely defended this area. At one point I joked, “Well there are two things you’d have if you were in France—we don’t have Michelin stars here and the clientele to support it.”

This was early in his career at Rover’s. The local restaurant landscape is different now, but initially, Seattle was the sort of city where people would only go to a fine dining restaurant once or twice a year to celebrate a special occasion. It wasn’t something that you would do repeatedly. Thierry would tell me early on that he had more regulars from New York than from Seattle. The New Yorkers would be people who are attorneys or investment bankers or consultants working for Microsoft or Amazon or some other local company. And every time they would come to town they’d eat a meal at Rover’s as opposed to people he would only see twice a year.

Over time that changed. I think that’s really important because without having a clientele there’s a limit to what you can do as a chef. Thierry was the guy who really loved the quality of what he did. He was financially successful, but if he had been after the maximum profit margin, he wouldn’t have used as much fog gras, caviar, spot prawns, and other expensive ingredients that he used. He wanted to have the best and be generous with what he actually served.

Apprenticing at Rover’s started a long culinary journey that culminated in me writing the Modernist Cuisine cookbooks. After the first book came out, my team and I started doing dinners with long tasting menus for chefs and food writers who would come to our lab from around the country and the world. It was a tremendous honor when we got to cook for Thierry. He liked our food, which probably meant much more to me than many of the other food critics or folks who passed through; it was one of the proudest moments of my culinary career.

Thierry played a very important role in my life. I didn’t become a line cook and I didn’t open my own restaurant either. I was so into food and cooking that people would say, “Well, why don’t you have your own restaurant?” Partly, I’d seen how hard Thierry worked. I knew that wasn’t how I wanted to make a culinary contribution, but it was material in me then to start Modernist Cuisine. It really changed my life and the impact that I would have in the world.

The post Remembering Thierry Rautureau appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>
https://modernistcuisine.com/mc/remembering-thierry-rautureau/feed/ 0
Improving Pizza Sauce https://modernistcuisine.com/mp/improving-pizza-sauce/ https://modernistcuisine.com/mp/improving-pizza-sauce/#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2023 19:30:25 +0000 https://modernistcuisine.com/?p=21540 You can make pizza without cheese. You can make it without toppings. But to many, pizza is not pizza without some kind of sauce on top, which is why learning to improve your tomato sauce can seriously elevate your pizza. Here, you’ll discover quick and easy ways to elevate the flavor profiles of your tomato […]

The post Improving Pizza Sauce appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>
A large tomato, often used in tomato sauce.

You can make pizza without cheese. You can make it without toppings. But to many, pizza is not pizza without some kind of sauce on top, which is why learning to improve your tomato sauce can seriously elevate your pizza. Here, you’ll discover quick and easy ways to elevate the flavor profiles of your tomato pizza sauces, whether you’re starting from scratch or want to punch up store-bought options.

The role of sauce in pizza making extends beyond its general culinary purposes of adding moisture and flavor. The nature of the sauce—including its liquid content, placement on the dough or around the toppings, and when it’s added to the pizza—can significantly influence the final outcome of both the pizza and its toppings.

For instance, sauce plays a protective role for the center of thin-crust and medium-crust pizzas, preventing their expansion and bubbling during baking. It also acts as a heat sink, its temperature limited to 100°C / 212°F until all water evaporates. This property shields delicate toppings from the oven’s high heat, making it a practical choice to cover ingredients like clams before baking.

The sauce’s liquid content is a key factor linked to pizza type, affecting baking time and temperature. Neapolitan pizza, baked at extreme heat, features a wet sauce that rapidly evaporates, forming a smooth, pulpy topping by the end of baking. On the other end, New York pizza requires a less watery sauce to avoid sogginess, given its lower temp and longer baking process. Temperature is also vital during saucing; applying cold sauce to dough can lower its temperature and affect baking time, potentially leading to issues like a gel layer. Room-temperature tempering for two hours is advised, while in specific cases like Detroit-style and deep-dish pizzas, heated sauce application post-baking is preferred. In essence, the intricate interplay between sauce consistency, temperature, and pizza type highlights how sauces on pizzas go beyond conventional culinary roles, acting as essential elements in achieving diverse textures and flavors across various pizza styles.

IMPROVING YOUR PIZZA SAUCE

Although there are many kinds of pizza sauce, the most common kind is tomato, which is what we’ll be focusing on in this post. 

Pizzaioli commonly equate sauce with tomatoes, linking the strength of the sauce to the quality of the tomato. Chefs approach sauce differently, believing in enhancing flavors and equilibrium by introducing diverse elements to their sauces—a culinary dichotomy evident in Neapolitan pizza makers versus pasta chefs who create intricate sauces. The former uses canned, crushed tomatoes, while the latter create elaborate concoctions from many ingredients. One school of thought advocates adjusting sauces with salt, sugar, or acids in order to maintain consistency, while the other says to only use top-tier tomatoes. But it’s not always possible to use fresh ingredients all year round, which is why we think it’s important to know what ingredients to use to improve your tomato sauces.  

Tomato sauce usually has some general characteristics: acid, sweetness, and umami (savoriness). These characteristics can be bumped up or, depending on the application, used to correct a flaw or enhance flavors to get a particular result. You can view it as adjusting to improve a sauce that isn’t perfect or as a chance to make your own creation.

Even though tomatoes have a good amount of naturally occurring umami in them, they can be lacking in flavor, especially if they are out of season or were harvested when they were not quite ripe. We typically recommend that you season your sauce with salt and/or dried oregano, but you can also attain some complex flavor profiles with other flavorings. Add the following (either on their own or in combination; if using a combination, don’t use as much as we recommend for a single addition). For example, if there are two additions, divide the amount for each by two; if there are three additions, divide by three, and so on.

IMPROVING ACIDITY

Most tomato sauces are somewhat acidic, but sometimes they can be flat. Use these ingredients to liven up your tomato sauce (adding salt helps too). Try 1% to 2% of

  • vinegar (white, champagne, red wine, white wine, and/or balsamic),
  • lime juice, or
  • lemon juice.

UMAMI INGREDIENTS

  • 0.4%–0.6% MSG: There is an assumption surrounding MSG that it’s unsafe, but we can assure you this is false. In fact, MSG is a principal ingredient in tomatoes.
  • 1.5%–2.5% anchovy oil: The more you add, the more anchovy-like the sauce will get. Whether that is a good or bad thing is up to you.
  • 1%–2% mushroom powder: We recommend shiitake or porcini. You won’t taste the mushrooms, but they will contribute a savory note.
  • 0.5%–1% soy sauce: Use sparingly.
  • 2%–3% Worcestershire sauce: Use sparingly.
  • 2%–3% fish sauce: Use sparingly.

BOOSTING THE TOMATO FLAVOR

  • 7–8 tomato leaves per kilo: Tomato leaves in small amounts can provide a very intense tomato taste. Some people believe that they are poisonous, but we can assure you they are not. Stir into the sauce and allow to sit for at least 3–4 hours to flavor.
  • 8%–10% tomato paste: Even the smallest amount of tomato paste is typically too much for most preparations. Use what you need, and freeze the rest flat in a zip-top bag so that you can break off pieces of it as you need it.
  • 3%–4% freeze-dried tomatoes: If you cannot find these, use sun-dried tomatoes, which have a slightly different taste and texture, but will add the desired tomato flavor.

SWEETENING INGREDIENTS

Try any of these ingredients at 1%–4%. This percentage is wide because it is up to you how much to use, whether you want to sweeten the sauce or tame its acidity. Add 1 gram or 1/4 teaspoon at a time and taste:

  • sugar,
  • agave syrup, or
  • honey, or hot honey.

COMPLEMENTARY FLAVORS

  • A1 steak sauce as needed. While you don’t necessarily want the pizza sauce to taste like steak sauce, A1 and other steak sauces have flavoring ingredients that work really well with pizza sauce, such as vinegar, tomato puree, garlic, onions, and celery seed.
  • 5–6 fresh basil leaves per kilo
  • Spicy ingredients (crushed red pepper flakes, commercial hot sauces, fresh chilis, dried chilis, chipotle peppers, cayenne, yuzu kosho, gochujang, sriracha)

Our team would love to see your improved sauces and the pizzas you’ve created, so please tag us in your social media posts if you end up experimenting with these techniques.

Are you interested in learning more Modernist Cuisine tips and tricks? Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media for more techniques, recipes, and announcements.

The post Improving Pizza Sauce appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>
https://modernistcuisine.com/mp/improving-pizza-sauce/feed/ 0
Exploring Nathan’s Iceland Photography Series https://modernistcuisine.com/mc/exploring-nathans-iceland-photography-series/ https://modernistcuisine.com/mc/exploring-nathans-iceland-photography-series/#respond Mon, 14 Aug 2023 23:38:54 +0000 https://modernistcuisine.com/?p=21501 Iceland is a land of astonishing natural wonders that captivate the hearts and minds of visitors from around the world. These wonders of nature provide an ethereal, otherworldly canvas for adventurous photographers, which was why Nathan was so eager to capture Iceland’s diverse and breathtaking landscapes. Though the aurora borealis was what originally inspired his […]

The post Exploring Nathan’s Iceland Photography Series appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>

Iceland is a land of astonishing natural wonders that captivate the hearts and minds of visitors from around the world. These wonders of nature provide an ethereal, otherworldly canvas for adventurous photographers, which was why Nathan was so eager to capture Iceland’s diverse and breathtaking landscapes. Though the aurora borealis was what originally inspired his northward trip, he ended up just as enamored by the icy Diamond Beach, the vibrant waterfall canyons, glacier ice caves, and even the Icelandic horses.

Photography is an art form with a technological aspect—the optics, the sensors, and so forth. Nathan finds that understanding the technology of photography and then designing his own homemade equipment can help him capture high-resolution and high-quality images. He was especially eager to capture wide panoramic images of the landscapes. But using a single very wide angle lens would introduce distortion and limit resolution, which limits optical quality. So he decided to get creative and innovate a fix for this problem.

Behind Nathan’s Panorama Technology

Before leaving for Iceland, Nathan designed and built several different camera array rigs with either two, three, or four cameras mounted to an aluminum frame. The frames, which were built in our lab machine shop, hold the cameras at very precise angles so that their images can be perfectly stitched together to make a larger picture.

For horizontal landscape panoramas involving still subject matter (such as mountains and other static landscapes), Nathan uses a robotic camera setup consisting of one camera with a normal or slight telephoto lens and a programmable motor. This motor then moves the camera to different positions and takes a picture, or in this case, multiple pictures from different positions. After this, the photos are stitched together to create a panorama. The overall process can take 10 seconds or longer. Each individual picture from the camera has 45 megapixels. When 10 images are put together, the final result will include around 400 megapixels, creating a photo about 10×45 because of some image overlap.

Nathan uses a robotic camera setup consisting of one camera with a normal or slight telephoto lens and a programmable motor. This motor then moves the camera to different positions and takes a picture, or in this case, multiple pictures from different positions.

While the robotic setup is great when it comes to photographing a static landscape, like a mountain, it doesn’t work if the subject, like the aurora or ocean, is moving. This is where Nathan’s multi-camera rig comes in handy. Instead of a singular moving camera, this rig is set up with three to four identical cameras and lenses that are correctly angled with the use of metal brackets. Nathan also developed electronics to make sure that all the camera frames are taken at precisely the same moment, allowing a fast shutter speed from multiple positions. Afterward, the photos are stitched together to create a spectacular panoramic. On top of all that, Nathan and his team created carrying cases to transport their specialized equipment.

Capturing the essence of Iceland’s rugged landscape required a distinct approach to innovation and creativity. Browse through our Iceland collection below to see the results for yourself.

AURORA BOREALIS

After extensive research on where to find the best views of the northern lights, Nathan stumbled upon the perfect vantage of the neon waves of the aurora while driving between locations. Vantage point wasn’t the only factor he had to contend with. Photographing the aurora is difficult. Weather, light pollution, and luck are major contributors.

One night, Nathan had gone to sleep after a long day photographing on location, knowing that the forecast was supposed to be cloudy. When he got up in the middle of the night, he looked outside to see that it was miraculously clear. Nathan sprung into action and managed to get several photos that night.

These shoots include a mixture of automation and human control. In order to get the best photos, he sets up the computers and keeps taking pictures late into the night—which can get very cold. This process involves taking several photos for several minutes with long exposure times. Once the aurora shifts, he recomposes the pictures and starts again.

When photographing the aurora borealis, there are things you can control and things you can’t, like the light from the moon and how bright it is. Usually, moonlight makes it difficult to capture the northern lights, but in this rare instance, the aurora was brighter than the moon. Taken in southeastern Iceland, near Kálfafellsstaður, it created a beautiful blend of illuminated white landscapes below and lime-green ribbons above.

Green auroras over snowy mountains in Iceland.

Rayed Bands over Kálfafellsstaður

Green and pink auroras over snowy mountains in Iceland.

Arctic Lights

Green auroras over snowy mountains in Iceland.
Rays from the Crown
Green auroras over snowy mountains in Iceland.
Bands to the Corona

DIAMOND BEACH

Diamond Beach is named for the gemlike pieces of ice that wash ashore from the icebergs that fill the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Diamond Beach is not the white sandy beach you may be accustomed to. It has dark black sand, made up of finely chipped and eroded pieces of volcanic material such as lava, basalt, and other dark rocks.

The North Atlantic Ocean is not generally a calm ocean; you must contend with waves that are constantly moving, churning, and crashing. To create a panoramic photo with this moving landscape, Nathan used the super panorama robot mentioned at the beginning of this article. He strategically chose to visit Iceland in the late winter when there are extended “golden” and “blue” hours that create the perfect lighting conditions for capturing the rugged landscape at dusk.

Diamond Beach is named for the gemlike pieces of ice that wash ashore from the icebergs that fill the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Diamond Beach is not the white sandy beach you may be accustomed to. It has dark black sand, made up of finely chipped and eroded pieces of volcanic material such as lava, basalt, and other dark rocks.
A Crowded Beach in Iceland
Diamond Beach is named for the gemlike pieces of ice that wash ashore from the icebergs that fill the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Diamond Beach is not the white sandy beach you may be accustomed to. It has dark black sand, made up of finely chipped and eroded pieces of volcanic material such as lava, basalt, and other dark rocks.
What the Tide Brought In
Diamond Beach is named for the gemlike pieces of ice that wash ashore from the icebergs that fill the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Diamond Beach is not the white sandy beach you may be accustomed to. It has dark black sand, made up of finely chipped and eroded pieces of volcanic material such as lava, basalt, and other dark rocks.
Water in All Its Forms
Diamond Beach is named for the gemlike pieces of ice that wash ashore from the icebergs that fill the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Diamond Beach is not the white sandy beach you may be accustomed to. It has dark black sand, made up of finely chipped and eroded pieces of volcanic material such as lava, basalt, and other dark rocks.
Diamond Beach
Diamond Beach is named for the gemlike pieces of ice that wash ashore from the icebergs that fill the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Diamond Beach is not the white sandy beach you may be accustomed to. It has dark black sand, made up of finely chipped and eroded pieces of volcanic material such as lava, basalt, and other dark rocks.
Pastel Skies, Blue Ice

ICELANDIC HORSES

While Iceland may not have the largest population of humans, it does have a staggering number of horses. When Nathan saw these horses on the horizon, he originally planned to take a distant silhouette photo. His plans were thwarted when these friendly Icelandic horses approached on their own, demanding attention, and hoping for snacks. The Icelandic horse is known for its spirited and friendly temperament, ideal for both beginners and more advanced riders.

These horses trace their roots to ponies that came to Iceland alongside Norse Viking settlers over a thousand years ago. Both natural selection and selective breeding have made them what they are today: strong, hearty, and able to survive the elements. About the size of a large pony, the Icelandic horse was bred specifically to traverse the many climates and conditions of this vastly rural country. While traditional horses have only four gaits in which they can walk or run, the Icelandic horse has six. It’s considered one of the purest breeds of horses in the world. Iceland has strict laws governing horse importation and exportation: horses cannot be imported into the country, even Icelandic horses that were exported abroad.

A brown Icelandic horse close up.
A Wild Winter
A brown Icelandic horse close up.
Eyes of the Beholder
A white Icelandic horse close up.
Snow White
A brown Icelandic horse close up.
Bad Hair Day

ICE CAVES

When you think of an ice cave, the word “frigid” probably comes to mind, but this cave was anything but. Nathan was pleasantly surprised at how warm it was, which is due to how light and heat are reflected in the small space. The rippled, polished appearance of the ice comes from the gentle erosion it undergoes as water from the glacier melts and washes over it in the spring and summer.

Although Nathan used a simple single camera on a tripod to capture this image, he still applied an unconventional approach to making the picture. Here, he used a technique called HDR (high dynamic range) photography, which is useful for photos with a very large range from light to dark in the scene. You can see the results in Skylight, which has an opening up to the sky. The difference between the darkest and brightest parts of the photo is enormous—so enormous that if he exposed the camera to the sky, the details of the cave would be black. If he exposed to the cave, the sky would be pure white instead of blue. Our eyes and brain have an amazing ability to cope for a wide dynamic range, so it’s not something you’d naturally notice if you were simply standing in the ice cave.

Cameras also have a fixed-focus distance, with a range of distances around that focal point called depth of field. Everything within the depth of field appears sharp while everything outside is fuzzy. Nathan uses a technique called focus-stacking to combat this problem. It involves taking multiple pictures that are then combined in software to make a single image in focus. Interestingly enough, your brain naturally focus-stacks what you’re seeing for most scenes.

Skylight (featured below) is composed of 100 photos stacked into a single image. These photos were taken at different exposure values to cope with this high dynamic range and at different focal spots in order to focus-stack. The combination creates an image similar to what Nathan actually saw while standing within the ice cave.

When you think of an ice cave, the word frigid probably comes to mind, but this cave was anything but! Nathan was pleasantly surprised at how warm it was, which is due to how light and heat are reflected in the small space. The rippled, polished appearance of the ice comes from the gentle erosion it undergoes as water from the glacier melts and washes over it in the spring and summer.
Skylight
Inside of Langjökull (meaning “Long Glacier”) in Iceland, ribbons of ash are solidified within glacial ice forms. The ice is then sculpted into curving forms, on the inside of an ice cave.
Ice & Ash
When you think of an ice cave, the word frigid probably comes to mind, but this cave was anything but! Nathan was pleasantly surprised at how warm it was, which is due to how light and heat are reflected in the small space. The rippled, polished appearance of the ice comes from the gentle erosion it undergoes as water from the glacier melts and washes over it in the spring and summer.
Heart of the Glacier
When you think of an ice cave, the word frigid probably comes to mind, but this cave was anything but! Nathan was pleasantly surprised at how warm it was, which is due to how light and heat are reflected in the small space. The rippled, polished appearance of the ice comes from the gentle erosion it undergoes as water from the glacier melts and washes over it in the spring and summer.
Sunrise Through the Ice

THE BLACK CHURCH OF BUDIR

If you travel to the southern coast of Iceland’s Snæfellsnes peninsula, you’ll find a hotel, a church, and endless stunning views. The church, originally built in 1703, sits inside the Búðahraun lava field, and was closed in 1819 by orders of the Danish king Christian VIII. Nathan stayed at the Hótel Búðir, which is across the street, and was dazzled by the stunning scenery. After a particularly beautiful sunset, he was moved to capture the Church at Búðir in its solitary splendor.

If you travel to the southern coast of Iceland’s Snæfellsnes peninsula, you’ll find a hotel, a church, and endless stunning views. The church, originally built in 1703, sits inside the Búðahraun lava field, and was closed in 1819 by orders of the Danish King Christian VIII. Nathan stayed at the Hotel Budir, which is located directly across the street and was dazzled by the stunning scenery. After a particularly beautiful sunset, Nathan was moved to capture the Church at Budir in its solitary splendor.
The Church at Búðir

WINTER WATERFALL

In the early spring, the glaciers in Iceland start to melt, creating streams and waterfalls like this one in Kolugljúfur canyon. The intensely teal color of the water is caused by very fine particles of rock ground by the glacier, which are suspended in the water from melting glacial ice. The dreamy color is a beautiful contrast to the arctic landscape it cuts through. The best part of this waterfall? Nathan thought he would have to stand in freezing cold water to get the perfect shot, but this one very conveniently had a bridge he could photograph from, keeping him nice and dry.

In the early spring, the glaciers in Iceland start to melt, creating streams and waterfalls like this one in Kolugljúfur Canyon. The intensely teal color of the water is caused by very fine particles of rock ground by the glacier, which are suspected in the water from melting glacial ice. The dreamy color is a beautiful contrast to the arctic landscape that it cuts through. The best part of this waterfall? Nathan thought he would have to stand in freezing cold water to get the perfect shot, but this one very conveniently had a bridge he could photograph from, keeping him nice and dry.
Winter Waterfall

VESTRAHORN

The Stokksnes peninsula in Iceland is home to the beautiful, craggy Vestrahorn, but it also has a more subtle rounded landscape of black sand dunes on the shore, as can be seen in this first image called Arctic Sand Dunes.

Vestrahorn is one of the tallest mountains in Iceland, standing roughly at 1,490 feet. While the country’s other mountains are basalt and lava rock, Vestrahorn is made of gabbro and granophyre rock, which create very jagged and uneven surfaces, making this mountain exceptionally beautiful yet difficult to climb. Black sandy beaches line the base, which create mirrorlike reflections when the tide comes in.

Vestrahorn mountain is one of the tallest mountains in Iceland, standing roughly at 1,490 feet. While the country’s other mountains are basalt and lava rock, Vestrahorn is made of gabbro and granophyre rock, which create very jagged and uneven surfaces, making this mountain exceptionally beautiful yet difficult to climb. Black sandy beaches line the base, which create mirrorlike reflections when the tide comes in.
Vestrahorn
Vestrahorn mountain is one of the tallest mountains in Iceland, standing roughly at 1,490 feet. While the country’s other mountains are basalt and lava rock, Vestrahorn is made of gabbro and granophyre rock, which create very jagged and uneven surfaces, making this mountain exceptionally beautiful yet difficult to climb. Black sandy beaches line the base, which create mirrorlike reflections when the tide comes in
Mountains Rising from the Sea
Iceland is the land of fire and ice. A country grown from volcanic activity; it has no shortage of stunning views that range from the skies above to the rough terrain that covers the country.The Stokksnes peninsula in Iceland is home to the beautiful craggy Vestrahorn mountain, but it also has a more subtle rounded landscape of black sand dunes on the shore.  Nathan chose to visit Iceland in the late winter when there are extended “golden” and “blue” hours that create the perfect lighting conditions for capturing the rugged landscape.
Arctic Ocean Dunes

You can see these amazing photographs in person at Modernist Cuisine Gallery by Nathan Myhrvold in New Orleans, La Jola, and Seattle.

The post Exploring Nathan’s Iceland Photography Series appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>
https://modernistcuisine.com/mc/exploring-nathans-iceland-photography-series/feed/ 0
How to Make Pizza on an Outdoor Grill this Summer https://modernistcuisine.com/mp/how-to-make-pizza-on-an-outdoor-grill-this-summer/ https://modernistcuisine.com/mp/how-to-make-pizza-on-an-outdoor-grill-this-summer/#respond Mon, 10 Jul 2023 17:50:44 +0000 https://modernistcuisine.com/?p=21459 It’s summertime—the weather is warm and you want to cook outside, whether it’s at the park or in your own backyard. Did you know that making pizza on a charcoal or gas grill is possible? We love grilling, which is why we decided to perfect this technique for Modernist Pizza. As it turns out, a […]

The post How to Make Pizza on an Outdoor Grill this Summer appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>
Location shot of a cutaway of a Weber barbeque cooking a pepperoni pizza

It’s summertime—the weather is warm and you want to cook outside, whether it’s at the park or in your own backyard. Did you know that making pizza on a charcoal or gas grill is possible? We love grilling, which is why we decided to perfect this technique for Modernist Pizza. As it turns out, a grill is a fun (and an impressive) alternative for making homemade pizza.

In this post, we detail everything you need to know when it comes to making pizza in the great outdoors: the tools you’ll need, the pizza styles that work best on a grill, and step-by-step instructions so that you can master the technique. If you have a portable outdoor pizza oven, we’ve got you covered. We include our favorite tips and tricks for seamlessly using these ovens as well.

Grilling Pizza

There are some limits when it comes to grilling pizza, and not all recipes are up to the task. We tested a number of doughs while working on Modernist Pizza to see which cook best on a grill. Thin-crust, Neapolitan, New York, and artisan recipes grill well, but we recommend using a gas grill for these options. You can find our Thin-Crust recipe here.

Our favorite grilling recipe is the Brazilian Thin-Crust pizza dough, which you can find on page 114 of the book. This pizza can be grilled on both a charcoal and gas stove, can be rolled out very thin, is easy to handle, and gets nicely crisp after grilling. If you do make this pizza, we recommend replacing the flour in the recipe with high-gluten flour. We also recommend following the master recipe just until it’s time to divide it. At that point, divide the dough into 150 g pieces and shape them into balls before proofing for the recommended time.

Here are a few tips for getting started:

  • Beforehand, keep your sauce, cheese, and other toppings at room temperature so that they get hot/melt faster.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pizza with toppings.
  • Don’t grill pizza side by side with meat or anything that might cause flare-ups.
  • If you’re traveling beyond your backyard, keep your portioned dough in a cooler in a lightly oiled plastic container. Even though we don’t recommend oiling all the pizza dough when you are working in a kitchen, we do in this case because it makes it much easier to transport and use. Take the dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings out of the cooler 2 hours before you want to eat (if it’s hot out, the dough might need less time to proof).
  • Bring a cutting board 30–33 cm / 12–13 in with you, for both assembling the pizza and cutting it after it is baked. (You can assemble the pizza on the peel, but you must be quick so it doesn’t stick.)

Grilling Pizza on a Charcoal Grill

Our recommendation: Try the Brazilian Thin-Crust Pizza.

The final photo of the charcoal grilled pizza.

The Tools You’ll Need:

  • A charcoal grill and coals
  • Rolling pin
  • Olive oil spray
  • Pre-portioned dough in a cooler in a lightly oiled plastic container
  • Sauce, cheese, and toppings
  • Peel
  • Cutting board

How to Grill Pizza on a Charcoal Grill:

1. Prepare a charcoal grill. Once the coals are ready, move them so they’re on only half the grill. You’re aiming for temperatures above 480°C / 900°F on the charcoal side and about 205°C / 400°F on the non-charcoal side.

A charcoal grill with coals moved to one side.

2. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to an oval/rectangular shape. It should be 30–35 cm long by 10–15 cm wide by 6 mm thick.

3. Dock the dough (3:12), and spray the surface with olive oil.

The image shows docking the dough.

4. Place the dough on the non-charcoal side of the grill. Close the lid and cook for 45 sec–1 min.

5. Remove the dough from the grill.

6. Flip the dough over so that the back side is facing up and apply the sauce, cheese, and toppings.

Flipping over the cooked the dough before applying the sauce, cheese, and toppings.

7. Place the topped pizza back on the grill, off-center toward the charcoal side.

The pizza is being placed back onto the charcoal grill.

8. Keeping the lid up, cook for 1 min, then rotate the pizza 180° and cook for 1 min more. If the toppings still need additional time, move the pizza to the cooler side and close the grill lid for no more than 30 sec at a time.

The pizza is now fully cooked and has now been removed from the grill. Someone is placing additional toppings on top of the pizza.

9. Remove the pizza from the grill using a peel.

Grilling Pizza on a Gas Grill

Our recommendation: Try our Brazilian thin-crust, thin-crust, Neapolitan, New York, and artisan dough recipes. We use thin-crust pizza in these instructions.

Grilled thin-crust pizza with thin-crust tomato sauce, pizza cheese, Italian sausage, gorgonzola, and toasted pine nuts.

The Tools You’ll Need:

  • A gas grill and gas-grill supplies
  • Olive oil spray
  • Preportioned dough in a cooler in a lightly oiled plastic container
  • Sauce, cheese, and toppings
  • Peel
  • Cutting board

How to Grill Pizza on a Gas Grill:

1. Prepare a gas grill by turning all heat settings to high.

2. Once the grill has reached 370–425°C / 700–800°F, turn off one side of the grill and keep the other side on high heat.

Spraying the surface of docked dough with olive oil.

3. Shape the dough according to its master recipe. Dock the dough, and spray the surface with olive oil.

4. Place the dough oiled side down on the high-heat side of the grill and cook for 1 min. While the pizza is cooking, spray the top surface with olive oil.

The dough is placed on the grill and sprayed with olive oil.

5. Flip the dough over and cook for 1 min.

6. Remove the dough from the grill and apply the sauce, cheese, and toppings.

The cooked dough is being removed from the grill.

7. Place the topped pizza on the nonheated side of the grill. Close the lid. Cook for 6 min, checking the pizza every 2 min.

The crust has now been topped with cheese, sauce, and sausage and placed back on the grill.

8. If the pizza still feels a little flabby after 6 min, move to the high-heat side for an additional 30–90 sec, keeping the grill lid up to crisp the pizza.

9. Remove the pizza from the grill using a peel.

Baking Pizza on a Portable Ovens

A pizza is cooking inside of a portable pizza oven.

If you want to step up your car-camping game or simply love making pizza al fresco, there is a class of portable ovens that will allow you to do just that. While some of these pizza ovens offer the option of heating with wood chips, we prefer to use propane because it gets hotter and maintains a more consistent temperature.

Our tips for grilling pizza apply to outdoor pizza ovens as well: keep your portioned dough in a cooler in an oiled container if you’re traveling beyond your backyard, temp all of the components 2 hours before baking, and have a cutting board on hand for assembling your pizza.

When you are done baking pizzas, be sure that the oven is completely cool before putting it away. The propane tank should be shut off and disconnected. If you used wood chips, they need to be completely extinguished and disposed of responsibly.

The Tools You’ll Need:

  • A portable oven
  • Pre-portioned dough in a cooler in a lightly oiled plastic container
  • Sauce, cheese, and toppings
  • Peel
  • Cutting board
  • Optional pizza screen

How to Use a Portable Oven:

1. Quickly assemble the pizza on the peel so that it doesn’t stick. Reshape the pizza, if necessary, before loading it into the oven. (You can also use a pizza screen to make loading the pizza into the oven easier. Be sure to coat the screen with a spray oil before using. Keep the pizza on the screen the entire time that it bakes, and rotate it. You can also use parchment paper instead of the screen, but not if you are using wood chips to heat the oven, because it will burn.)

A pizza is assembled on the peel.

2. Load the pizza into the oven.

Putting raw pizza inside of the portable oven.

3. Once the rim starts to blister and brown, rotate the pizza.

Pulling a fully cooked pizza out of the portable oven.

4. Spin the pizza as needed to ensure that it bakes evenly.

Our team would love to see your outdoor adventures, so please tag us in your social media posts if you end up taking your cooking outside this summer.

Are you interested in learning more Modernist Cuisine tips and tricks? Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media for more techniques, recipes, and announcements.

The post How to Make Pizza on an Outdoor Grill this Summer appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>
https://modernistcuisine.com/mp/how-to-make-pizza-on-an-outdoor-grill-this-summer/feed/ 0
Food Photography to Whet your Appetite: A Look Inside our New Coffee Table Book https://modernistcuisine.com/fd/food-photography-book/ https://modernistcuisine.com/fd/food-photography-book/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2023 07:00:00 +0000 https://modernistcuisine.com/?p=21364 To celebrate the release of Food & Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography, which is available now, we’re giving you a look at some of the iconic images from our new coffee table book. Food & Drink commemorates the last decade of Modernist Cuisine food photography. Nathan and the team have taken thousands and thousands of photos […]

The post Food Photography to Whet your Appetite: A Look Inside our New Coffee Table Book appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>
Photograph of Food & Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography coffee table book

To celebrate the release of Food & Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography, which is available now, we’re giving you a look at some of the iconic images from our new coffee table book. Food & Drink commemorates the last decade of Modernist Cuisine food photography. Nathan and the team have taken thousands and thousands of photos in that time. We spent over a year combing through our archives, selecting more than 200 of our favorite images for this new photography collection.

The 216-page Food & Drink examines its subject matters through six different lenses—photography speed, photography scale, cutaway photography, portraiture, still-life photography, and playing with food—to illustrate how Nathan and the team play with different technology, equipment, styles, and perspectives to capture foods and drinks in a new light. Here’s some of the gorgeous food photography that you’ll discover inside.

The Speed of The Photography

Human eyes only work so quickly, which means there are lots of beautiful and important things we just can’t see. Our reflexes often aren’t fast enough to capture a fleeting moment of action, like a champaign splash. The miracle is when you capture the movement and speed of the subject in a particular moment; it is both remarkably beautiful and can be quite unexpected.

In other cases, a phenomenon that appears instantaneous to the naked eye actually contains complexities that are only revealed when the motion is slowed to a hundredth or thousandth of its normal pace. Our studio includes a DSLR camera and a specialized, high-speed video camera, as well as custom-built robot-assisted cameras and specialized flashes, to capture moments such as these.

Cutaway photograph of creamer being poured into a coffee cup of espresso.

MORNING CLOUDS

A perfectly brewed cup of coffee with cream is a thing of beauty in and of itself. In this cutaway view, you see the pattern made as the cream, which is lighter than the coffee but also colder, plunges to the bottom of the cup and forms billowing clouds that rise to the surface. To capture this image, Nathan built a robot that used a break-beam sensor to trigger the pitcher to pour the cream, allowing it to behave in a surprisingly repeatable way.

Photograph of a champagne splashing out of a bottle.

RELEASE

This image of sabered champagne was created with the help of a specially designed robot. The “saber bot” moves its metal arm toward the neck of the wine bottle with incredible force—enough to snap the neck of the bottle and let the champagne spray out. In conjunction with the robot, Nathan used a high-speed camera, allowing him to capture the cork’s flight pattern as it departs the bottle.

Two glasses of red wine dancing around each other.

INTERTWINED

The drama and elegance of the wine as it spills creates a bewitching illusion, as if the wineglasses were waltzing around the room. When the glasses bump, there’s a natural delay because of inertia, and it makes the liquid wrap around itself in the photo. Captured in an infinitesimal fraction of a second, this shot was taken with the help of a custom-built wine-catapulting robot, which launched one glass of wine after another. The arrangement of the wine wrapping around the intertwined glasses is not an editing trick—this is the exact pattern that formed when the glasses collided. Nathan usually takes hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of photos to get “the shot,” but this stunning display of wine in motion was the very first photo he took that day.

The Scale of the Photography

The scale of photography can extend from large-scale aerial photography all the way down to the microscopic. It can make us look at things differently depending on how big they are and what other clues are given to estimate size. For example, if we have a very deep depth of field in a photo and are using stacking techniques, then we can make tiny mustard seeds seem like they are boulders.

In our quest to learn more about the many facets of food, we document what we see, and sometimes we try to show it in a way that many people might not have seen it before, such as the aerial shots of wheat fields, which Nathan had to hang out of an airplane to capture.

On the other end of the spectrum are photos that show you an object on a much more intimate scale. Our perspective of food tends to be limited to the scale at which our eyes work—most people don’t examine their food up close. Seeing food magnified by photomicrography, macro, and super-macro photography lets us experience it in a new way.

Aerial view of green wheat fields in The Palouse region of Washington State.

GREEN WAVES OF GRAIN

At the edge of eastern Washington, far from the coast, a vast green sea tumbles over the land, turning mighty tractors into tiny skiffs. With a little imagination, one can almost envision the dusty kraken that lies beneath. The Palouse is a loess formation, which is a geologist’s term for a rich deposit of topsoil that once formed giant dunes created by the wind. Nathan took a ride in a small plane to get this bird’s-eye view of these grainfields.

Close-up view of gold, purple, and black mustard seeds.

MUSTARD SEEDS

Up close and magnified, ordinary mustard seeds become magical. It’s easy to see why an archaic name for these delicate, dimpled orbs was “eye of newt.” Mustard gets its sharp flavor from compounds called glucosinolates, which are produced by certain plants as a natural pesticide. While toxic to many insects, these pungent chemicals have made mustard, the earliest known spice, incredibly popular for nearly 6,000 years.

Vitamin C as seen through a microscope.

VITAMIN SEA

It may look like an ocean on a distant planet, but this otherworldly sea could actually fit on the head of a pin. This microscopic view of vitamin C, which is also called ascorbic acid, was photographed with a custom microscope. Nathan used polarized light to illuminate the unique patterns of crystals that form when powdered ascorbic acid is dissolved in water and then dried.

A Change of Perspective

Creating compelling visual imagery is a huge part of what we do at Modernist Cuisine because we believe the way information is presented is just as important as the quality of the information itself. Many of our photos carry a pedagogical burden. We use concepts like levitating photos, which show a breakdown of a dish’s components, to convey technical and scientific concepts in a way that’s accessible. These photos allow you to see at a glance what goes into a dish, whether it’s a cheeseburger or a pizza.

We also take and annotate cutaway photographs to explain the scientific principles and equipment at work when you cook or bake. Other cutaways show food in a way that you might not have considered before. Although we had to figure out quite a few tricks to bisect complex gear such as ovens and blenders, hold food in place, and show liquids sliced through the middle, the results were worth the effort.

Our research kitchen and photo studio happen to be under the same roof as a state-of-the-art machine shop staffed by talented machinists and instrument makers. We relied on them to figure out how to fully disassemble complex cooking tools, cut them in half, and then—here’s the real challenge—put them back together, in some cases in working order.

Levitating photographs of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a cheeseburger, which allows you to see every component that's layered on the sandwich and burger.

PEANUT BUTTER, JELLY, AND MAGIC; THE ALL-AMERICAN

It turns out you don’t need magic or zero gravity to levitate food. All it takes is a camera and a little ingenuity. This image is one of our most iconic from Modernist Cuisine; it developed a signature style of photography found in each of our books. The results are both functional—each special layer is highlighted simultaneously—and engaging as they reveal two all-American classics from new and enchanting points of view.

Cutaway view of a red KitchenAid mixer with whipped cream in the bowl.

HALF AND HALF

In order to achieve this photo, the highly skilled machinists in Nathan’s machine shop completely disassembled a KitchenAid stand mixer and cut it in half piece by piece before painstakingly putting it back together. Nathan uses cutaways like this to show how common kitchen tools work. By offering a unique view, he is constantly challenging the way people see food.

Close-up view of the foam of a yellow pilsner.

HEAD AND SHOULDERS

When you open a bottle of beer or draw it from the tap of a keg, it goes from a cold, high-pressure environment to a warmer environment at a much lower pressure. The change in pressure and temperature causes much of the carbon dioxide to bubble out of solution, creating a galaxy of bubbles expanding toward the top of the beer.

Playing with Your Food

A sense of wonder and curiosity about food permeates the photography in all of our books. It only made sense that our food photography should be forward-looking and, in some cases, playful. Sometimes this means making a condiment cannon to shoot ketchup onto french fries or fencing with a pair of stale baguettes. Other photos are homages to artists who liked to play with food.

These types of creative photos are meant to break the mold of typical food photography. And they are often the result of much collaboration and a lot of trial and error before getting the shot that we want.

It seems natural to play with your food when it’s so familiar—we’re used to looking at it so why not experiment and have some fun? Part of the process of creating these photographs is to be playful and try things that don’t always work. And, even when they do, they might make a hell of a mess.

Dali-inspired scene with Neapolitan pizzas draped over a tree, with Mount Vesuvius in the background.

DALÍ DEDICATION

The iconic soft Neapolitan pizzas that Nathan had in Italy inspired him to re-create the “soft watches” in Dalí’s classic painting The Persistence of Memory. Dalí often featured landscapes from his home in Catalonia, Spain, but he incorporated Mount Vesuvius in the background as a nod to Naples, the birthplace of pizza.

Pop art photograph of red ketchup exploding onto french fries

DON’T WHACK THE BOTTLE

Ketchup is a non-Newtonian fluid—a liquid that, when at rest, acts like a solid, meaning it stubbornly stays in the bottle even if you turn it upside down. While annoying when eating a burger, it’s a fascinating food to photograph. You could get the ketchup flowing by giving the embossed “57” on a Heinz ketchup bottle a few vigorous whacks . . . or if you’re Nathan, you could build a “condiment cannon” that uses high-powered compressed air to blast the ketchup onto french fries to take pictures like this.

Andy Warhol-inspired pop art photograph of Campell's tomato soup splashing into more soup below.

ANDY’S PLUNGE

Pop art burst on the scene in the 1960s, driven by the creative efforts of Andy Warhol and others. His 1962 series featuring Campbell’s soup epitomized the art of a generation and provided inspiration for this shot.

Still-Life Photography

Often food photography is meant to evoke a memory or feeling. But other types of food photography document something akin to a still life. Still-life images often depict a scene with food—these can be as simple as fruit in a bowl or as elaborate as a feast with pheasants and vegetables meant to represent the autumnal harvest. Some still-life images can give you a sense of what a food looked like in the past.

A lot of our photos focus on the food itself and have little adornment in the scene. That said, we also enjoy creating photos that are closer to the classic still life that tells a story.

Portrait of shrimp cocktail on a fork on black.

SHRIMP

Nathan didn’t have to find the biggest shrimp at the market to create this crustacean lover’s dream. In addition to playing with lighting and perspective, he used a photography technique called focus stacking, which involved taking 365 images, to help capture the incredible details of this larger-than-life, perfectly poached shrimp.

Photograph of Neapolitan pizza ingredients, arranged as a man, inspired by the paintings of Acrimbaldo.

NEAPOLITAN MAN

Neapolitan Man was inspired by the works of Italian painter Guiseppe Arcimboldo, a 16th-century court portraitist. His playful portraits were most famously made with fruits and vegetables. Pizza, as we know it today, had not been invented at that time. But Nathan created an homage to what Guiseppe might have made if he’d been lucky enough to have pizza, using ingredients like Caputo 00 flour, fior di latte mozzarella, and dried Calabrian chilies.

Rye bread that has been shaped to look like a brick in a wall.

BRICK-LIKE BREAD

In Modernist Bread, we had a category of breads that we dubbed “brick-like breads,” which are mostly made up of grains, seeds, nuts, or dried fruits all bound by a very wet and loose dough. We were celebrating the rich density of these unique breads, which are made in a way that’s quite different from other breads; they are almost akin to a grain pâté.

Food Portraits

The photos found in this chapter are about looking at food as the thing itself. We know, calling it portraiture anthropomorphizes the food, but there’s something to that. It forces you to look at an individual piece of food in all its uniqueness. By reducing the scene to focus only on that food in some interesting way, you emphasize it; you see it as something unique and interesting that demands your attention.

We chose to shoot the majority of our food portraits on stark backgrounds of black or white, which serves an aesthetic purpose because it elevates the drama inherent in the food itself. For example, our photo called Real Tomatoes Have Curves focuses on the tomato; it’s almost as though it’s looking right at you. The images in this chapter are not trying to evoke some set piece in a kitchen. They are portraits of a piece of food. It’s worshipping that thing as an object, as a thing unto itself.

Portrait of green cabbage on black

SHROUD

Shrouded in its outer leaves, ordinary red cabbage transforms into something extraordinary. In the field, red cabbage is blanketed with a cloudy layer of wild yeast (the same is true of grapes). When cabbage arrives at grocery stores, the outer leaves are typically discarded, which is why consumers ordinarily don’t see the yeast. Nathan found this cabbage at the farmers’ market and instantly called it the most charismatic cabbage he had ever seen.

Portrait of red heirloom tomato

REAL TOMATOES HAVE CURVES

The tomato is not a vegetable but a fruit—a berry, to be exact. Although thousands of varieties exist today, the first tomatoes grew wild in western South America and Mesoamerica. Tiny and yellow, the fruits bore little resemblance to this curvaceous heirloom tomato. Spanish conquistadors introduced tomatoes to Europe in the mid-1500s, but three centuries elapsed before they were fully embraced.

Close-up view of blueberries

BLUES

From this ant’s-eye view, you can see a world in captivating detail, including the powdery wild yeast that coats the blueberry. A modified Cambo camera built with custom software precisely calculates and focuses each part of the image with a technique called focus stacking.

We can’t wait for you to dig into Food & Drink. It’s a book that we hope you’ll cherish for years to come. Order your copy from the Modernist Cuisine Shop today.

The post Food Photography to Whet your Appetite: A Look Inside our New Coffee Table Book appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>
https://modernistcuisine.com/fd/food-photography-book/feed/ 0
Announcing Food & Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography, Available for Preorder Now https://modernistcuisine.com/mc/introducing-food-and-drink-modernist-cuisine-photography/ https://modernistcuisine.com/mc/introducing-food-and-drink-modernist-cuisine-photography/#respond Wed, 01 Feb 2023 15:13:59 +0000 https://modernistcuisine.com/?p=21174 Nearly 10 years ago we released our first coffee-table book, The Photography of Modernist Cuisine. That book showcased some of our favorite images from Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking and Modernist Cuisine at Home. Today, we’re excited to reveal a brand-new book, Food & Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography, which goes on sale […]

The post Announcing Food & Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography, Available for Preorder Now appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>

An angled view of Food and Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography.

Nearly 10 years ago we released our first coffee-table book, The Photography of Modernist Cuisine. That book showcased some of our favorite images from Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking and Modernist Cuisine at Home. Today, we’re excited to reveal a brand-new book, Food & Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography, which goes on sale April 25, 2023.

Preorders for Food & Drink are available now through the Modernist Cuisine Shop as well as other online retailers including Amazon.com. The book features a fresh collection of more than 200 mouthwatering photographs from Modernist Bread and Modernist Pizza as well as Nathan’s gallery. The photos in this new book capture the stunning details of the foods and drinks we all love from a surprising, playful perspective—it’s a visual feast served up in a gorgeous coffee-table book. Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll find inside.

Front cover of Food and Drink: Photography of Modernist Cuisine

The Story Behind the Book

When Nathan, a lifelong photographer, decided to create a cookbook over a decade ago, he saw an exciting opportunity to do something new in food photography—to portray food in new and unexpected ways that simultaneously draw readers in and illustrate the science at work in cooking.

Modernist Cuisine broke many of the rules for cookbooks, including how they should be illustrated. When Nathan and the team began working on the book, we wanted to explain the scientific principles that govern how cooking actually works and comprehensively cover all the modern culinary techniques practiced by the best and most advanced chefs in the world. We realized, however, that a conventional, text-heavy book on these topics might be a bit intimidating to all but a limited audience. The book had to be visually captivating. To do that, we developed an approach to food photography that leveraged technology to capture something new.

All art involves some amount of technology. The invention of oil painting, for example, radically changed what paintings looked like. While this has always been true for the creation of art, it is profoundly so for photography because the medium requires both advanced optics and chemistry to capture images on film. Digital photography and the software editing tools it has spawned are merely the latest in a long line of inventions that enable us to make images in new ways. The technology of photography is now changing almost daily, and we’ve embraced that. Many of these new technologies and discoveries (plus those we don’t even know yet) are tools that can be used creatively to do something extraordinary.

At the same time, we’ve also bucked the conventions for food photography. Nathan wanted to cut kitchen equipment in half to give people a look inside food as it cooks, capture alluring perspectives of food with high-speed video and research microscopes, and turn simple ingredients like strawberries and grains of wheat into stunning monoliths with macro lenses. We’ve custom-built cameras and lenses, developed special software for editing, built robots to perfectly sync motion with the camera’s shutter, and experimented with new photography techniques. The results are blueberries shot to appear like boulders, condiments exploding out of cannons, aerials of freshly harvested wheat fields, and wine catapulted to create the perfect splash.

Almost immediately after we released Modernist Cuisine, people started asking where they could buy prints of the images. The photos in our books have spoken to people who see food as we do—as something that inspires passion and curiosity. Art is a reflection of ourselves and the values we want to project. Food is an important aspect of many people’s lives; there have never been more people who self-identify as foodies.

It’s safe to say that Nathan and the team have taken a lot of photos—thousands and thousands of them—since we published The Photography of Modernist Cuisine. With so many new photos in our archives, we decided it was high time to create another coffee-table book for everyone who connects with food.

An open spread from Food and Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography

A Look Inside

The 216-page Food & Drink examines its subject matters through six different lenses—photography speed, photography scale, cutaway photography, portraiture, still-life photography, and playing with food—to illustrate how Nathan and the team play with different technology, equipment, styles, and perspectives to capture foods and drinks in a new light.

Some of the most recent photos capture subject matter that is moving too quickly to be easily seen by the human eye, such as a champagne cork flying out of a bottle, so we dedicated a chapter called “The Speed of the Photography” to highlight the speed at which they were taken. Another chapter, “The Scale of the Photography,” is devoted to the scope of the images and features photos that run the gamut from large landscapes to things that can only be seen under a microscope. The third chapter, “A Change in Perspective,” collects some of our photos that reveal a look inside food and what happens inside pots and ovens as you cook. Nathan likes to have fun when taking photos, so we also created a chapter called “Playing with Your Food.” The final two chapters divide a group of food photographs into two categories commonly found in the art world: “Still-Life Photography” and “Food Portraits.”

Food & Drink features imagery not found in The Photography of Modernist Cuisine, and the vast majority are also prominently displayed in our gallery spaces. The images in the book were shot both in studio at the Modernist Cuisine Lab as well as on location at Lake Geneva, the Italian village of Caiazzo, California’s Central Valley, New Orleans, the Olympic National Park, and the Palouse region of Washington and Oregon. With over 20 full-spread panoramic images, the book comes packaged in a new shelf-friendly trim size with a slipcase.

More to Come

While working on Food & Drink, we embarked on our next project, which will begin to tackle the world of pastry. It’s a subject matter we’ve always wanted and planned to cover. After narrowing down the scope of the project (a truly difficult task), we are now in the early stages of research and experimentation for the untitled, multivolume book that will cover baked pastries.

In the meantime, we hope that others will experience the wonder and joy we feel when we look at the photographs in Food & Drink. Gastronome Anthelme Brillat-Savarin famously said, “Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are.” Food is a significant part of our identity. What we eat has never been more important to us than it is today. It’s one of the ways that we define cultures, different groups of people, and ourselves as individuals. Our relationship with food is deeply personal but also something that helps us build relationships with others. Food as art is an expression of those values.

Food & Drink is a reflection of our unending passion for and fascination with the world of food. It’s a bold guess that others will share our desire for an art book of quality that immerses readers in vistas of food that are familiar yet profoundly new. We hope that these photographs allow people to indulge in who they are and express how food makes them feel.

The front of Food and Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography

The post Announcing Food & Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography, Available for Preorder Now appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>
https://modernistcuisine.com/mc/introducing-food-and-drink-modernist-cuisine-photography/feed/ 0
The Logistics of Making Pizza for a Party https://modernistcuisine.com/mp/the-logistics-of-making-pizza-for-a-party/ Fri, 11 Feb 2022 16:41:12 +0000 https://modernistcuisine.com/?p=21056 The best way to eat pizza is with others, which is one of the reasons pizza parties are universally beloved. Making pizza for a crowd, however, can present some logistical challenges, especially if you are only able to make one pizza at a time. These tips and tricks (the results of our team’s extensive experiments), […]

The post The Logistics of Making Pizza for a Party appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>
The best way to eat pizza is with others, which is one of the reasons pizza parties are universally beloved. Making pizza for a crowd, however, can present some logistical challenges, especially if you are only able to make one pizza at a time. These tips and tricks (the results of our team’s extensive experiments), along with a bit of planning, will help you to keep the pizzas coming and ultimately keep the crowd happy.

Choosing the Right Pizza Style

Serving at a party comes with some risks, depending on the type of pizza that you choose to serve. It can be a very fun occasion, but the key is to plan it correctly and choose the right pizzas. Your guests want to see you (presumably!), so it’s not ideal to be stuck in the kitchen the whole time. If you have an outdoor wood-fired or propane-fueled oven, you can bake pizzas while your guests hang out around you or even help. Indoors, the spaces are tighter, the ovens are generally smaller, and you can bake only so many pizzas at a time.

If you go with a Neapolitan or artisan pizza, you’ll be able to serve only one guest at a time, you’ll need a special oven to do the job right, and it’ll require someone with a high level of expertise to make the pizza. And this assumes that you are making the pizzas a la minute in front of the guests because these styles of pizzas won’t hold for longer than a few minutes. You could opt to make larger New York pizzas that will feed multiple people and reheat well (this is, after all, the business model for countless slice shops across the United States). But we don’t think that it’s the absolute best solution.

Our recommended solution is to choose to make pizzas that reheat very well and can be made well in advance: Detroit-Style Pizza, New York Square Pizza, or Al Taglio Pizza. You can make the pizza crusts ahead of time, cool them down, wrap them in plastic wrap, and freeze them for up to 6 months. In the case of catering, you can bake them offsite, freeze them (if you’d like), and transport them to the event. You don’t even need to defrost them. You can reheat whole pans or slices. You can slice ahead of time too.

Consider having a toppings station as well. Your guests can either tell the event staff what they want on their pizzas or, if you are entertaining at home, they can build their own pizzas using the naked prebaked pizzas. This will let you spend less time alone in the kitchen and more time with your guests.

Prebaking Pizza

The term “parbaking” is used a lot in the baking industry. It’s a process that involves baking bread until it’s about 90% done, allowing it to cool, then finishing the baking later. The initial baking period is enough to deactivate the yeasts and enzymes and set the structure of the crust and crumb (so the loaf can maintain its shape as it cools), but not enough to fully brown the crust.

But what about parbaking pizza? Does it deliver the same glorious results that you get when you bake your pizza normally? In some cases, it does work well. For example, if you are selling frozen pizza or if you are a caterer and you have an off-site event, you can parbake your pizzas two-thirds to three-quarters of the way, freeze them, and then finish baking them later. We also found that parbaking works well for thin-crust pizzas and medium-crust pizzas (especially if you’re freezing them).

We decided to test another technique that lets you do part of the work in advance: prebaking. In prebaking, the pizza is cooked all the way through and can be reheated later. If you’re in the pizza business—or if you’re throwing a pizza party at home—the ability to prebake can help organize the workflow because you do most of the baking ahead of time.

Prebaking is part of the standard process when you’re making a New York square pizza. This pizza is baked and cooled, then sauced and topped later if you are using it as the foundation of a pizza. Prebaking is how we make the pizza gourmet style. Al taglio pizzas are also prebaked, sometimes with sauce and sometimes just the dough alone. Then they’re cooled, and additional toppings can be added later and the pizza can be heated again in the oven. The same can be done for Detroit-style pizzas.

We wondered if prebaking could streamline the process for other kinds of pizza, too. The answer is yes—for some styles of pizza. You may, however, prebake thin-crust and medium-crust pizzas for the purpose of freezing. In those cases, the pizzas are prebaked with sauce and cooled. We recommend adding cheese just before baking. (Adding the cheese before baking on a prebaked pizza will influence the cheese’s complex melt rheology and textural attributes.) When you’re ready to eat, you don’t even need to defrost; you can bake it straight from its frozen form.

For a few pizza styles, we found another big benefit of prebaking: it helps eliminate the gel layer, a pale, gooey layer of underbaked dough. We found that by prebaking the dough alone, the gel layer can be eliminated. Sauce, cheese, and toppings are added later, then the pizza is reheated.

Reheating Pizza

All styles of pizza go through a short, intense, high-temperature bake (some higher than others). As such, the pizza changes dramatically both during and after baking. When it comes to reheating pizza, the main objective in general is to reheat the base, sauce, cheese, and toppings without letting anything burn or dry out like a crouton. Some staling may have occurred, as often happens when baked dough is refrigerated, but fortunately, reheating the pizza to the correct temperature (between 79.5°C and 85°C /175°F and 185°F) will make the staling less noticeable.

One of the most common ways to reheat pizza is in the microwave, but we don’t recommend it because your pizza will reheat unevenly and become gummy and unpalatable. For the thicker-crust pizzas that we recommend for a crowd, reheat them in an oven but be careful because the exposed crust may dry out and become too crunchy. To avoid this, don’t reheat the pizzas longer than recommended, reheat slices side by side so the exposed crust is protected, and cradle the pizza in aluminum foil to protect the exposed crust while keeping the surface exposed to the hot air. The cradle should cover up only the exposed crust areas and not the surface or the rim crust that is not exposed. Doing so prevents the crust from drying out; the only caveat is that reheating will take a few minutes longer (about 1–3 minutes).

Make sure to preheat your oven fully. A baking steel and stone can be used interchangeably for reheating. A baking steel will take slightly longer to preheat, which gives the stone a small advantage for reheating. In order to heat a baking steel or stone in a home oven, it is best to use the broiler to heat it up fast. Once the broiler has heated the baking steel or stone, switch the oven to regular heat (205–260°C / 400–500°F) to reheat the pizza. While a baking steel is better for baking pizzas than a baking stone, for reheating purposes they work very much the same.

How to Make Pizza for a Crowd

  1. Once the pizzas have been baked and cooled, cut them into portions using a serrated knife.

2. Place the sliced pizzas back in their baking pans, cover, and set aside until you’re ready to reheat.

3. About 1 h before you’re ready to serve the pizzas, place one or ideally two baking stones or baking steels stacked in the oven. Preheat the oven to 230°C / 450°F.

4. To reheat the pizzas, uncover them and simply slide the pans onto the hot baking steels or baking stones. They’ll take 5–7 min to reheat and recrisp the bottom.

5. For Detroit-style pizza, apply the hot tomato sauce over each hot slice, plus any other post-bake toppings. For al taglio pizza, apply any heat-sensitive toppings, like arugula, blue cheese, or tapenade, after baking.

6. Transfer to a serving platter.

The post The Logistics of Making Pizza for a Party appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>
The Essential Modernist Pizza Gear Guide https://modernistcuisine.com/mp/the-essential-modernist-pizza-gear-guide/ Wed, 09 Feb 2022 17:33:25 +0000 https://modernistcuisine.com/?p=21029 Whether you’re gearing up to make pizza or have someone special in your life that is, we’re here to help. We’ve put together this handy guide to essential pizza-making tools and equipment to help you stock up. This list features some of our favorite basic items that you’ll find in any well-stocked pizzeria as well […]

The post The Essential Modernist Pizza Gear Guide appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>
Whether you’re gearing up to make pizza or have someone special in your life that is, we’re here to help. We’ve put together this handy guide to essential pizza-making tools and equipment to help you stock up. This list features some of our favorite basic items that you’ll find in any well-stocked pizzeria as well as gear that you’ll want to build out your home setup. Many of these tools are inexpensive, but there are also a few splurges on the list, which we think are wise investments.

Digital Scale

We recommend this emphatically: use a scale not measuring spoons. Measuring ingredients by weight, rather than volume, will make a huge difference in your results. For general use, the scale should measure single-gram increments. Additionally, it’s useful to have a precision scale for weighing small quantities, such as the 0.06 g of yeast called for in one of our preferments. You’ll find plenty of low-cost choices on the market that meet these requirements.

Start your search with:

Baker’s Kitchen Scale (8,000 g capacity) by My Weigh

Digital Gram Pocket Scale by Weigh Gram

 

Thermometer

A digital probe version is best. Home pizza makers will also want an oven thermometer. You can also get a combination timer / probe thermometer and take care of two helpful tools in one.

Start your search with:

Thermapen One by Thermoworks

 

Timers

In addition to telling you when to remove your pizza from the oven, digital timers will help you keep track of dough as it ferments and proofs, especially when you’re managing several doughs and kitchen tasks at a time. Timers should be easy to use, with loud alarms that can be heard across a noisy kitchen or from another room. Have several basic timers on hand for juggling tasks.

Start your search with:

Extra Big and Loud Timer by ThermoWorks

 

Plastic Tubs

Storage is an important consideration, and clear plastic tubs are the storage bins of choice. Up for almost any stowage task, these bins come in a range of sizes; they make it easy to keep an eye on the contents inside; and they stack much like nesting dolls when they aren’t being used. Long rectangular storage boxes can be used to hold fermenting dough, while preferments, ingredients, and old dough are often stored in square versions. Tall tubs make great vessels when weighing large quantities of water—some can even transform into water bath containers when cooking sous vide. Make sure the bins have airtight lids. We use the Cambro brand, which is so prevalent in professional kitchens that “Cambro” has become almost a generic term for tubs.

Start your search with:

Camwear Polycarbonate Food Storage Box (17.98 L / 4.75 gal) by Cambro

Camwear Polycarbonate Food Storage Box (33.12 L / 8.75 gal) by Cambro

Camwear Polycarbonate Square Plastic Food Container (in assorted sizes) by Cambro

 

Electric Mixer

We use an electric mixer for all of the pizza doughs in Modernist Pizza. You can certainly mix by hand, but this requires more time and physical effort. We highly recommend electric mixers since most of the doughs require mixing to full gluten development. . A stand mixer can be a big investment, so look for models that have a strong motor, which is important for making drier doughs, and a broad range of speed settings, from very slow to very fast.

Start your search with:

The Bakery Chef by Breville

 

Bench Knife

Use a sharp metal version for cleanly cutting dough, lifting sticky dough, and scraping dough residue off the worktable. Plastic ones are acceptable but are generally thicker, which can sometimes be a drawback. There’s a narrow bench knife we like specifically for pizza because it’s also perfect for when we need to lift a ball of dough after fermenting. This bench knife does a much better job than the wider ones. This tool is so practical that some pizzerias use it to cut garlic.

Start your search with:

Metal Dough Scraper by San Francisco Baking Institute

Round Plastic Bowl Scraper by San Francisco Baking Institute

Square Plastic Bowl Scraper by San Francisco Baking Institute

 

Pizza Peels

Metal peels are more suitable than wooden ones for flatbreads and pizzas because they’re thinner and can easily slide under the crusts. Perforated metal peels have the advantage that any excess flour used for dusting the dough will fall through. (Baking excess flour onto a pizza dough is undesirable because it can burn.)

Start your search with:

Perforated Pizza Peel by Homefavor

Aluminum Pizza Peel by American Metalcraft

 

Pizza Screens

Although not as commonly used as peels in pizzerias, pizza screens consist of a fine wire mesh surrounded by a metal ring. They come in a number of different diameters, from 20 cm / 8 in to 60 cm / 24 in. Depending on your perspective, using a screen is either a godsend or it’s cheating. Screens are useful if you don’t have experience making pizza, because you can consistently shape a round pizza that is the exact size that you need. We find screens useful for certain styles of pizza and types of ovens, including impinger and home ovens.

We always spray the screens with oil just before placing the dough on top, then apply the sauce, cheese, and toppings as needed. The screen makes it easy to move the pizza from worktable to oven. For home pizza makers, it also helps to assemble the pizza on the screen and then place it on a baking steel or stone so that you don’t have to worry about the pizza sticking to a peel when you are loading it into the oven.

Start your search with:

Aluminum Pizza Screen by GI Metal

 

Sheet Pans and Specialized Pizza Pans

For some styles, making something that looks and tastes like the real deal can hinge on the pan. While you could technically bake all the pizzas in this book on an aluminum sheet pan, specialized pans produce markedly better results. Some have reinforced frames that keep them from warping in the oven or cured surfaces to prevent the pizza from sticking. Others are made of thicker, denser metal that produces a crispier base.

Start your search with:

Assorted Pizza Pans by Lloyd Pans

Detroit-Style Pans by Detroit-Style Pizza Company

Al Taglio Pizza Pan by Artisan Pizza Solutions

 

Sauce Spoon / Spoodle

This is used to spoon sauce onto pizza dough and to spread it evenly. Many pizzerias know how many “spoonfuls” is the right amount for each pizza. We like a spoon with a flat base for spreading.

Start your search with:

Tomato Dosing Spoon by GI Metal

 

Food Mill

Making your own basic pizza sauces can be incredibly easy. While you can make them by hand-crushing tomatoes, we also like using a food mill. Tomatoes are passed through the mill to make sauce (try using one with a 8–10 mm / 0.31–0.39 in holes). We recommend one that is not so big that you end up with large tomato chunks in the sauce or so small that the seeds are left behind. Some models have interchangeable grates with different-sized holes that allow for different-textured sauces.

Start your search with:

Food Mill by OXO

 

Pizza Scissors

Some pizzerias use scissors instead of wheel cutters or mezzalunas. Scissors give pizza a clean cut and don’t squash the rim crust that you just worked so hard on. You can buy scissors specially made for cutting pizza, but any pair of heavy-duty, long, sharp scissors will do. Make sure they’re the kind that can be sharpened. Don’t use the hefty kitchen shears that are meant for cutting through chicken joints. For al taglio pizza, there are special scissors in which the bottom blade rests on a plastic base that keeps the scissors flat on the counter while cutting.

Start your search with:

Pizza Scissors by Artisan Pizza Solutions

 

Baking Steel or Baking Stone

A steel or stone will help properly bake pizza in a home oven, combi oven, or convection oven. Baking steels work even better than stones for baking pizza. Thick baking steels hold their preheated temperature better than thin ones, but they also take longer to preheat and to recover from a drop in temperature. Our bottom-line conclusion: a dark (not shiny) steel plate 12 mm / ½ in thick produces the best crust, although it is staggeringly heavy. A steel plate 10 mm / 0.4 in thick also works very well, is a lot more manageable, and preheats faster. For more even heat radiation, you can stack two together, but this is optional.

Start your search with:

Modernist Cuisine Special Edition Baking Steel by Baking Steel

 

Dough Docking Tool

Docking evenly distributes a pattern of small holes across a dough’s surface and keeps it from puffing up significantly. We use a rolling docker, which is more of a speciality tool, but a fork or the tip of a skewer or knife is a handy alternative.

Start your search with:

Dough Docking Tool by Winco

 

Oven Brush

Use this to sweep debris, such as semolina, out of the oven. Sometimes a pizza bottom will rip, leaving a cheesy, saucy mess on your oven floor. When this happens, you’ll need a metal bristle brush.

Start your search with:

Rotating Head Oven Brush by GI Metal

 

Countertop Pizza Oven

There is a category of ovens that has less to do with specific temperature ranges—specialty ovens. These include countertop ovens that can be used to make pizzas at relatively high temperatures without having to invest in a gas-fired pizza oven or a pizza deck oven. If you are a pizza enthusiast and are looking for value in a home pizza oven, the Breville Crispy Crust Pizza Maker will produce great pizzas for the price. If you are really serious about making pizza at home, we definitely recommend the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo.

Start your search with:

Crispy Crust Pizza Maker by Breville

Smart Oven Pizzaiolo by Breville

 

Portable Outdoor Pizza Oven

These ovens, which include the Gozney Roccbox and Ooni Koda and Karu pizza ovens, are the definition of portable. The Roccbox and certain Ooni ovens like the Karu 16 allow you to burn wood chips or use a propane tank for fuel. We prefer using propane because it produces a more consistent heat and gets hotter quicker than using wood chips.

The disadvantage of using gas rather than wood is that you have to cart around a propane tank if you are using the oven away from your home. Even so, it is one way to get a very good Neapolitan-style pizza at home. The fact that it can only be used outdoors may or may not bother you. These ovens are great for any sort of small-scale outdoor pizza baking, whether on the balcony of your apartment or camping in the wilderness. While you can bake only one pizza at a time, each one takes a mere 60–90 seconds to bake.

Start your search with:

Karu 16 by Ooni

Roccbox by Gozney

The post The Essential Modernist Pizza Gear Guide appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>
Modernist Pizza is on Sale Now https://modernistcuisine.com/mp/modernist-pizza-is-on-sale-now/ Tue, 05 Oct 2021 05:00:00 +0000 https://modernistcuisine.com/?p=20844 Pizza is one of the most beloved foods in the world—the whole month of October is even dedicated to it in the United States. This National Pizza Month, we couldn’t be more excited to release Modernist Pizza, which is now officially on sale. Some retailers are experiencing fulfillment delays, however orders placed through Modernist Cuisine […]

The post Modernist Pizza is on Sale Now appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>

Pizza is one of the most beloved foods in the world—the whole month of October is even dedicated to it in the United States. This National Pizza Month, we couldn’t be more excited to release Modernist Pizza, which is now officially on sale. Some retailers are experiencing fulfillment delays, however orders placed through Modernist Cuisine Shop are shipping now.

Our story of pizza is told across three volumes plus a kitchen manual, comprising 1,708 pages. It is the culmination of exhaustive research, travel, and experiments to collect and advance the world’s knowledge of pizza. In Modernist Pizza, you’ll find 1,016 recipes for both traditional and innovative pizzas across the globe. The recipes, along with the techniques, were developed with both professional and home ovens and equipment in mind.

While conducting research for the book, our pizza travels took us all over the world. Given pizza’s global history, we wanted to communicate our story of pizza to as many people as possible. That’s why we’re thrilled to share that Modernist Pizza will be published in French, German, Italian, and Spanish in May 2022. We’ll announce a preorder date later this year.

We also have a lot of other exciting updates to share with you that coincide with the launch of Modernist Pizza. You can expect more to come from us in the following months, but for now we’re excited to share a new collaboration, photography series, and updates about Modernist Pizza Podcast.

A Pizza + Beer Collaboration with Stoup Brewing

Like us, we know a lot of people obsess over a fantastic pizza and beer pairing. Some foods and drink just go together. There’s pasta and wine, and there’s pizza and beer. We are incredibly excited to have partnered with local Seattle brewery Stoup Brewing to celebrate the launch of Modernist Pizza with a special beer release—the 00 Pilsner. Inspired by the 00 flour prized by pizzaioli, this beer is a dry-hopped Italian pilsner developed to pair well with pizza. The can design is a collaboration between our Modernist Cuisine team as well as the Stoup Brewing team and showcases a levitating photo of Neapolitan pizza from Modernist Pizza.

You can find the beer on tap at Stoup Brewing’s locations in Ballard and Kenmore. The limited-edition four-pack of 00 Pilsner 16-ounce cans sells for $13.99 and can be found at craft beer retailers around Seattle.

Modernist Pizza Podcast is Coming Soon

Shortly after our last book, Modernist Bread, was published in 2017, we launched Modernist BreadCrumbs podcast. We wanted another way for our readers and bread bakers to learn as much as they could about bread making and the science, history, and stories behind it. We’re thrilled to share that once again, we’ll be releasing a podcast to go along with our newest book, Modernist Pizza. We’re excited to be teaming up with Michael Harlan Turkell who produced Modernist BreadCrumbs and who will host Modernist Pizza Podcast. Each episode of Modernist Pizza Podcast will feature in-depth interviews with Nathan, head chef Francisco Migoya, and some of the many people who are working to shape pizza’s future. The first of eight episodes will debut at the end of October with new episodes airing each week.

Modernist Pizza Podcast has some amazing sponsors including Ooni, Miyokos Creamery, King Arthur Baking, Banza, Baking Steel, and Gustiamo. It will be available for listening online and on platforms including Stitcher, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. We’re also excited to partner with artist Jenny Acosta for the show’s artwork.

A New Pizza Photography Series

To coincide with the launch of the book, a collection of 10 pizza-centric photos from Modernist Pizza is now available for purchase at Modernist Cuisine Gallery by Nathan Myhrvold. Each photograph showcases a different aspect related to pizza, whether it’s the location of a top pizza destination featured in our world travel guide, a specific ingredient, or pizza shown in an imaginative setting. The photographs are available from our galleries in Las Vegas, New Orleans, La Jolla, and Seattle, which ship worldwide.

We have more upcoming pizza content and virtual events in the works. If you haven’t already, join our mailing list or follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for more updates. And as always, we encourage you to share photos of your book and all of your pizza-making journeys by tagging your posts with #ModernistPizza.

The post Modernist Pizza is on Sale Now appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>
Modernist Pizza is Coming to Bookstores This October; Preorder Now https://modernistcuisine.com/mp/modernist-pizza-preorders/ Wed, 19 May 2021 10:38:20 +0000 https://modernistcuisine.com/?p=20662 Shortly after wrapping up Modernist Bread, we announced that the focus of our next single-subject book was going to be pizza—it was a secret that we didn’t want to sit on for long. Now we’re thrilled to share that Modernist Pizza will land on bookshelves October 5, 2021 and that you can preorder your copy […]

The post Modernist Pizza is Coming to Bookstores This October; Preorder Now appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>

Shortly after wrapping up Modernist Bread, we announced that the focus of our next single-subject book was going to be pizza—it was a secret that we didn’t want to sit on for long. Now we’re thrilled to share that Modernist Pizza will land on bookshelves October 5, 2021 and that you can preorder your copy now.

Beginning today, preorders for Modernist Pizza are available directly through the new Modernist Cuisine Shop, online retailers including Amazon.com, Phaidon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, Bol.com, and Booktopia.com, and participating independent cookbook stores across the country. The set, which is housed in a red stainless-steel case, will retail for USD$425. It includes three hardcover volumes and a portable, spiral-bound recipe manual that contains all the recipes and reference tables in the book.

We’re excited to release this book at a time when pizza has never been more popular or more important. Modernist Pizza is the culmination of exhaustive research, travel, and experiments to collect and advance the world’s knowledge of pizza. Topping out at 35.5 pounds and over 1,700 pages, it’s safe to say that this is a pizza cookbook supreme. We’ve performed hundreds of experiments, traveled more than 100,000 miles to visit over 250 of the world’s top pizzerias, and consumed countless calories. There are deep dives into pizza’s history, evolution, and many global styles as well as its fundamentals: dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings. And it wouldn’t be a Modernist Cuisine book without plenty of scientific insights, gear guides, innovative techniques, surprising discoveries, and incredible recipes—1,016 to be exact. Here’s a preview of, what we hope will become, an indispensable resource for anyone who loves pizza.

A Taste of What You’ll Find in Modernist Pizza

We’ve loved making this book. First and foremost because pizza is undeniably delicious. Pizza was a compelling topic for us for a number of reasons. It’s multicultural, found in virtually every country around the world, and yet wherever pizza goes, it mutates and evolves into something local. Pizza is simultaneously the evolution of a 19th-century dish from Naples and a window into the culinary creativity of the people who modified the original pizzas into the many local styles we enjoy today.

Pizza may seem simple, but it’s highly technological and scientific. Making pizza is extremely technique-driven, where even the smallest variations in the method can affect the outcome. A tremendous amount of skill is involved, to the point that pizza making can be daunting to both beginners and professionals. On top of that, pizza has historically been a poorly documented cuisine, which is thanks, in part, to its humble origins on the streets of Naples.

As with our other books, we scoured the world to research the key aspects of pizza that we found relevant and interesting, studied until we understood all the techniques, and subjected everything to tests, including the flour brands that pizzaioli prized, the types of water they used (it turns out that this ingredient doesn’t make much of a difference), the brand of tomatoes that were prevalent and how they were grown, as well as the processes by which common pizza ingredients are made.

Our experiments also opened the door to many discoveries that affected how we made the components of pizza, from dough to the sauce and cheese. We were able to develop mixing and proofing techniques that dramatically reduce the time it typically takes to make Neapolitan and high-hydration al taglio pizza dough without compromising the quality. We list recommendations that will allow you to make multiple pizza styles from one dough. No matter how experienced a pizzaiolo is, there likely isn’t a single person who won’t be surprised by some of our findings.

We distilled our findings into three volumes. In the first volume, we share the history of pizza, the world of pizza at large, plus fundamentals to making pizza such as the ingredients that go into the dough and the role of heat in the pizza-making process. The chapters in volume 2 provide a comprehensive look at all the components of pizza—dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings—and present foundational recipes upon which the majority of our pizzas are built. The third and final volume is dedicated to both classic and innovative recipes for every pizza style we cover, including al taglio, Argentinean, bar/tavern, Brazilian thin-crust, deep-dish, Detroit, grandma/New York Square/Sicilian, Neapolitan, New York, New Haven, Old Forge, pizza fritta, and pizza gourmet. Volume 3 is also where you’ll find inventive flavor and topping combinations to help inspire your own pizza exploration.

Guides to Top Pizza Destinations

We’ve included something new in Modernist Pizza that we’ve never done before in any of our other books: we devoted an entire chapter to our pizza travels and created a global travel guide. We wanted to illustrate pizza’s wonderful diversity and show the many ways in which it’s enjoyed across the world. That is why pizza required us to travel even more than our other books did—our team visited over 250 pizzerias to learn local styles from some of the world’s best pizzaioli. The chapter was created to serve as a travelogue of sorts and to help give the full picture of pizza.

When we started visiting pizzerias, we wondered whether the pizzaioli would actually talk to us. It turned out they were incredibly helpful, especially in Italy. They were very candid about sharing their knowledge and techniques and even helped us review parts of the book. We spoke to visionaries such as Tony Gemignani, Enzo Coccia, Franco Pepe, Chris Bianco, Laura Meyer, Carlo Sammarco, Dan Richer, Sarah Minnick, and many more covered in this book, who are tossing pizza into the modern era.

We couldn’t go to every well-reviewed pizzeria everywhere, so think of our guide as a curated selection. It consists of the best pizzerias across Italy and the United States, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Tokyo. After Naples, which was a must-see since it’s where pizza was invented, we looked to important first-generation pizza cities like New York. Following that, we checked out travel spots known for a particular style like Chicago or Detroit. We also included other areas like Rome and Portland, to paint a picture of the pizza scenes there.

Countless times during our research, we were asked where the best pizza can be found. (We aren’t shy about suggesting there are several pizzerias in Naples that would immediately deserve one, two, and even three Michelin stars.) Ultimately, we hope that our travel chapter will be a good starting point for mapping out your own pizza journey to help answer that question for yourself.

More Pizza on the Horizon

One of our goals for this book was to make it accessible to many types of pizza makers, from professionals, including chefs and bakers, to beginners at home. That’s why we tested all our recipes in several different ovens and included recommendations in each recipe for which oven will work best. Our chefs developed loads of tips and tricks for making great pizza in a home oven. There really is something in Modernist Pizza for everyone—actually, there is a lot for everyone.

What makes pizza great isn’t any single ingredient. What makes it great is using good ingredients
consistently, plus lots of skill and attention. If you’re a pizza fan, even if you have no intention of making pizza, this book will describe your favorite food in an incredible way. If you hanker to make pizza at home or are even slightly intrigued, we encourage you to take the plunge.

As the on-sale date for the book nears, we’ll be sharing more blog posts and details about what you can expect to find in each of the volumes. If you haven’t already, join our mailing list, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates.

The post Modernist Pizza is Coming to Bookstores This October; Preorder Now appeared first on Modernist Cuisine.

]]>