Meet Paul Ricci - @liberatorpizza
Meet Paul Ricci. He lives in Collingswood, New Jersey, where he works in fine art and custom framing. He answered the call of the pizza when he was just a wee boy and has steadily upped his game over the years. Check out his pies and give him a follow @liberatorpizza.
How often do you make pizza?
I typically make pizza once a week.
How did you get into pizza making?
I got my first peel and pizza stone when I was in middle school in the late eighties, but I’ve been making pizza at home pretty consistently for fifteen years or so. Jeff Varasono’s (@varasanospizzeria) pizza page and Peter Reinhart’s (@pizzaquesting) book American Pie got me started. Now there are dozens of other great books and infinite online resources available. Instagram has been really huge for connecting pizza makers of every level and style.
How do you describe the style of pizza you make?
I’d say the style I make is New Jersey/New York/Philly style. Traditional round pies, cooked until well-done. The crust should have a decent amount of color throughout and a slight char to it. I like a slow fermented dough that’s at least 72 hours.
What’s your favorite piece of pizza making gear?
A Baking Steel has the biggest impact on how the pizza turns out more than anything else. An infrared thermometer goes hand in hand with that.
What’s the scoop with your oven???
I use a seventy year old GE Liberator electric oven that can preheat my top rack Baking Steel to 650°F. In warmer weather I switch to using a Blackstone outdoor pizza oven.
Who are your pizza making inspirations?
Some of the pies that inspire me right now are @pizzeriabianco @wheatedbrooklyn @angelos_pizzeria_south_philly @pizza_jew @apizzascholls @idapizzapies @bellucci.pizza
Any advice for people getting into pizza making?
If you’re passionate about pizza, making your own can be incredibly satisfying. As long as you stay patient and observant, you’ll learn and improve each and every time. There will be disasters, but even a messed up pizza is still better than most other things. And it will be even better next time.