Meet Adam Lindsley - @adamlindsleynw
Meet Adam Lindsley of Portland, OR. He’s been making pizza since 2008 and typically fires up the oven a couple times every week. He makes a New York-Neapolitan hybrid similar to his favorite pizzeria in Portland, Apizza Scholls. Check out what he has to say about home pizza making and give him a follow @adamlindsleynw if you’re so inclined!
How do you describe the style(s) of pizza you like to make? New York-Neapolitan hybrid, which some call Neo-Neapolitan. Basically a darker, airier, more blistered crust than straight NY style, but definitely not Neapolitan. This is what they serve at Apizza Scholls here in Portland (not New Haven as even local press have mistakenly labeled them) and I'm constantly trying to mimic what they're doing. Their pizza is incredible.
One piece of pizza making gear you can’t live without: I have to cheat and go with two: a Pizza Steel, and an oven that reaches 550 degrees F (at least). You can lose one of these and make good, even very good NY-Neapolitan pizza at home, but great just isn't possible without both, not in my experience anyway. Ideally you'd cook this style of pizza between 600 and 650 degrees, but home ovens don't go that high, sadly, and Roccboxes/Oonis aren't really ideal environments for it either. The Breville Pizzaiolo DOES go that high, and it's a fantastic piece of gear, but it has two major flaws: It only makes small pies (I like making big 16-inch pizzas), and it is prohibitively expensive.
What or who is your pizza inspiration? I fully credit Jeff Varasano with getting me bitten by the pizza bug--that super-long blog post of his is legendary and a treasure trove of knowledge. The Pacific Northwest pizza scene is absurdly good, and Brandon Pettit (Delancey), Brian Spangler (Apizza Scholls), and Ken Forkish (Ken's Artisan Pizza) all selflessly gave me more pointers in the early days than I'm capable of counting.
What advice do you have for a new pizza maker? Experiment! Start with a well-established recipe for the style you're aiming for (so many to choose from, but something from Ken Forkish or Tony Gemignani's books will give you a leg up), bake it until you're comfortable and familiar with it, then start tweaking. Add a little more or a little less water. Increase the salt. Let the dough ferment a few days longer in the fridge. Play with different cheeses and toppings. The side benefit of experimenting a lot is that you're practicing a lot, which is the real trick to making great pizza. Also, if you're fortunate enough to have someone local who makes pizza you love, get to know them--chances are they will be very forthcoming with tips and tricks to up your pizza game.
If there’s anything else you want people to know, I’d be delighted to share it as well! I'm part of a small group of very talented pizzamakers in Portland who, prior to the arrival of COVID-19, hosted a regular "Pizza Speakeasy" for large groups of friends, wherein we'd produce a few dozen pies in many different styles and experiment with all manner of unusual toppings. (It actually led to a pizza that's entered my permanent rotation: the Elotes, with lime crema, fresh corn, garlic, red onion, jalapeno, chili powder, cilantro, cotija, and more lime.) Anyway, I can't wait for everyone to get vaccinated so we can start these up again, because I love it when someone takes a bite of one of my pizzas and they have that look on their face. You know the look. The "Oh, hell yeah" look.
Key for Adam's workspace:
- Dough balls (one 450-gram ball for a16-inch pizza, one 170-gram ball for a 10-inch pizza)
- Minced garlic
- Heavy cream for the white half of the pie
- Ezzo pepperoni, sliced paper thin
- Grated pecorino romano
- Sliced full-fat mozzarella
- Chopped herbs and pepper
- Turning peel (from my Roccbox)
- Semolina flour to dust launching peel
- Tomato sauce, just canned Bianco Dinapoli tomatoes and salt
- Counter space to open dough
- Bowl of flour for initial dough ball dusting
- 16-inch launching peel