Sunday, August 25, 2013

What I Learned With Pizza Masterclass

You know how to make pizza, don't you.

I know how to make pizza. Well, I thought I knew how to make a pizza.

My pizza's in the past were made according to a recipe I designed, to be easy, straight forward, with a few toppings and quick to cook.

I received an invite to attend at a function organised for the Blogconnect Pizza Masterclass by the fine folks of @keepleftPR. Being my first major function attending as Kangaroo Dad I was excited by the prospect. I would get to find out my pizza experience, was severely lacking.

My previous pizza making in the past of the past were OK. I discovered pleasantly that although my old technique was adequate, there was MUCH more room for improvement.

This event was sponsored by Bakers Delight, Leggos. Woolworths, Dan Murphys & Perfect Italiano.

I met 20 other fellow bloggers of various niches; mummy bloggers, foodies, lifestyle, fashion and even a couple of fellow bloggers who also happen to be Aussie Daddy Blogger members.

The Keep Left team really made us feel welcomed and shortly after arrival I spoke with those representing the sponsor brands. After some conversation the with brand representatives and a few samples devoured we were taken to another area where our professional chefs Liam Mclaughlin and sous chef Peter showed us their pizza making magic.

We were given detailed information on construction (making bewdyful pizzas), bases, ingredients, cooking time and the right guide of ingredients and when to put them on the pizza.

Note: To the amazement of a lot of people (myself included) we discovered that one of the most popular cheese styles in Australia – Tasty cheese – is highly recommended to NOT be used on pizzas!!!! This is due to the melt/cooking point for the cheese when it's heated. Apparently it does not have the consistency it needs (doesn't cook at the right heat and will burn), produces oil when heated up and may possibly slide of your pizza!!!!

Liam and Peter explained that your bases are important and whilst one can be like a chef and make a base from scratch, its easier to get one from Bakers Delight (and you can still use a rolling pin to make a thinner base – awesome!!!). They are par-baked, meaning less moisture and a shorter cook time, so they are ready to make and bake for pizza.

Adding toppings was accomplished after laying out a thin base of everyone's favourite tomato base and sauces from Leggos. Next a selection of toppings was placed, since we also found out that less, is more.

Mozzarella cheese was next from Perfect Italiano. With sprinkles of parmeson added after the cooking. Pizza, of course, gotta have cheese.

Certain vegetables will cook better on pizzas after they have been lightly pre-cooked beforehand. These include heavy or solid vegetables like pumpkin, mushrooms, onions, capsicum and also to varieties of meat like, pepperoni, sausages and ham. Items from this selection and also fresh, uncooked ingredients (herbs, nuts) were added to the tomato and cheese base. All of these items were proudly supplied by Woolworths.

These then cooked for about 6-8 minutes in dedicated stone based pizza ovens.

Once we had Liam and Peter finish their masterclass with showing us the fantastic end result of their efforts, us attendees were separated into two groups to conduct our own pizza making experience. Whilst one group prepared and cooked, the others once again mingled with our sponsors and had the opportunity to ask more questions about the brands. Dan Murphys supplied the drinks and I discovered that red wines are often favoured as an accompaniment to pizza consumption. Beer and white wine varieties followed up a close second.

I was with the first group and we all commenced to pick our toppings and herbs (Supplied by Woolworths) for our pizzas. Note: the mushrooms were no more than 6 hours old from farm to the KeepleftPR premises. Most Woolworth's stores receive them a little later to respective stores, than 6 about fresh!

We headed back to our tables and commenced with the placing out the Bakers Delight pizza base and topped them with a Leggos tomato paste from a jar or a tub (thicker). We then placed out toppings on the pizza and layered cheese, which in my case was LOTS of mozzarella. The grand aspect of this process was no two pizzas were the same, with everyone putting in their individual tastes and flavours.

These were then baked in the special Pizza ovens for about 6 minutes.

Whilst these pizzas cooked I spoke with Peter Nixon from Dan Murphys and discovered a range of wines suitable for consuming with Pizza. I also spoke at length with Kristen Young from Woolworths about the freshness of the product and the varieties of goods available for us to make pizzas with (the spread of food, the quality of it and the range provided was amazing)

Every product supplied on the evening is available from their respective stores.

Once the pizzas were ready I sat and spoke with a few of the other bloggers, all with many fascinating backgrounds and we discussed our blogs and why we write them. I also met The40YearOldDad - Justin and Working_Dad – James. Both fellow Aussie Daddy Bloggers I have spoken with often and we are all part of the same ADB group, yet we three met for the first time that evening!

Once the second group commenced eating their cooked pizzas, all the brand representatives came and spoke about who they are and what they do for their company, their brands and products of the evening. They also answered a few questions we asked of them.

The evening concluded after 10pm and as we said our thanks and good byes we were given parting gifts!!!! Contained therein were pizza trays and supplies of each of the brand sufficient to allow us to make a pizza in the comfort of home!

Some even used the complimentary service of Uber and were treated to a personal car service trip home.

I found the night an experience I shall long remember and thoroughly enjoyed the new connections I made from meeting many during the evening.

I wish to also say thank you to the team @keepleftPR, Rebecca, Kat, Alice and Sarah. Thanks for your tireless efforts for making this evening happen and in making it a great experience. Thankyou to Dan Murphy's, Leggos, Woolworths, Bakers Delight, Perfect Italiano & Bertocchi for the amazingly fresh and extensive produce provided. Many thanks also to Liam and Peter for a great cooking experience and a fantastic lesson provided in updating and providing me with better pizza making skills!

Click the links below to find the brands

Keep Left

Dan Murphy's
Bakers Delight
Perfect Italiano
Bertocchi Smallgoods

Twitter hashtag of the evening

NB - All photos copyright Jason 2013 - All rights Reserved. If you require to use these photos, please email me to discuss options.

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