I’ve always loved making pizza. I remember my first attempt at age 10 to create a pizza without parental assistance. It was no small miracle that my mum managed to consume what I proudly served her without deflating my junior chef’s ego … or throwing up – what’s wrong with kippers, chocolate sprinkles, Velveeta and pepperoni toppings I ask? It was not until I took a “boy’s cooking class” my senior year in high school that I truly appreciated the art of making pizza.
Fast forward 40 odd years or so, and there I was, taking a cooking class at the Carriage House Cooking School on, here we go again, the art of making pizza, specifically, “Art of Pi - Making Artisan Style Pizza At Home.” I was joined in the kitchen by four other travel writers as part of an Adventure Travel Trade Association media tour of the Adirondacks in New York state.
Our guide for this artisan pizza-making journey was none other than Chef Curtiss Hemm, the former dean of the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont and former instructor at Paul Smith’s College of Arts and Science in New York. He is now head of his own kitchen and cooking school, built with his own hands (out of timber he milled and shaped himself) at his family home near the town of Peru, New York. Like many of his compatriots, Chef Hemm commands a room with both his size and jovial manner, plus he is unassuming, delightfully humorous, and always encouraging, always teaching.
Over the course of three hours, under Chef Hemm’s expert tutelage, we each learned to make our own delicious pizza from scratch without trashing his oven (you’ll have to watch the video below to understand that part). And then, of course, we ate a lot of pizza and drank locally brewed beer. All-in-all, a perfectly delicious evening in so many ways.
While the recipe I am sharing below is for Pizza Margherita, in the Art of Pi class at Carriage House Cooking School you learn to make all sorts of artisan pizza too. Check out the current school program to find a cooking class or even a unique dinner experience prepared just for you by Chef Hemm (oh you’ll get your hands into the food preparation too). It will make for a perfect and memorable Adirondack night out, I promise.
Carriage House Cooking School Pizza Margherita – Art of Pi
Artisan Pizza Dough
3 cups all-purpose ﬂour
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups water (105°F to 110°F)
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