So far I have $10 invested in the quarry tiles that I'm using as a poor mans brick oven. To get a flat surface I was looking into placing them in a baking sheet, bonding them onto a sheet of metal and other things. Because we were going to have a pizza party I basically ran out of time so I just laid the tiles on the metal racks in the ovens and winged it. I'm still going to work on a better solution because one rack of tiles weighs 16 lbs so the rack sags in the middle. My long term plan (at this moment) is to sand down the edges of the tiles so they fit together very tight and bond them to a sheet of metal some how. I think that if I bond them with the metal sprung a bit in the convex direction the tiles themselves will provide the structural strength. My only concern is replacing a tile if one breaks. I may look into fastening them a different way. Maybe I'll bond bolts to them and fasten those to the metal. Who knows, it's just ideas at this point.

To test out the tiles we made homemade pizza and set the oven to 550 degrees. I also had my old pizza stone on the bottom rack for comparison. The tiles worked wonderfully and even though I've not made any of the changes above I had no problem with them just laid on the racks and they had no problem with the heat.

We made pizza for us and made sure there were ingredients for people with narrower palettes as well. I poached pears in Chardonnay, simmered down our own BBQ sauce and made a marinara for standard pizzas. The pears I paired (ahem) with an herbed Chevre, rubbed the crust with a branch of rosemary dipped in olive oil and sprinkled with Balsamic Vinegar. The pizza in the photo I made the next night the same with but added shallots caramelized in Muscatel Sherry and pomegranate seeds.

For the narrower palette we made the BBQ sauce which we teamed up with grilled chicken breast and slices of smoked Gouda and sprinkled with cilantro. For the even narrower palette I made sure we had marinara, mozzarella and pepperoni available. Most of the kids ate that.

I think I need to say something about the dough for a minute. I've heard all kinds of horror stories about homemade pizzas and it mostly centers around the dough. I remember as a kid trying to make pizza at home and it always tasted funky but it was because we were trying to cut corners. We'd buy pizza dough in a can, pizza sauce in a can etc... Just skip to the chase because none of those things work very well. Pizza sauce (marinara) is a no brainer so I won't spend any time there. The dough however can be very picky so I've included the pizza dough recipe that we use in the recipe section. It's a bit more complex than some doughs (eg. Cooks Illustrated pizza dough) but I like it much better. It's such a wonderful dough to work with that it makes making pizzas a joy. You wil lneed to find durum flour and the recipe calls for bread flour as well but I cheat on that a lot and use a combination of bread flour and all-purpose depending on what I have. The recipe is in weights and is for 16 small pizzas so you'll probably want to do the math to cut it down.