Throughout history there are duos that are stronger together than they are separate:
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Hall and Oates
Movies and Popcorn
Thelma and Louise
Mario and Luigi
Today, we celebrate one of the greatest duos of all time...
Dear reader, October 9 is International Pizza and Beer Day!
If you’d like to celebrate with us, read more—we’ve got you covered like cheese on pizza!
While our oven is heating up, let’s get started with a beer. And where better to have a beer than on the Parkway Central’s roof? That’s right—the Free Library Beer Garden is back on October 23, 24, and 25 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and October 26 from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Enjoy a beer while taking in the best view the Benjamin Franklin Parkway has to offer.
While you’re up on the roof, sipping a cold brew, you can gaze out on Brewerytown, the Philadelphia neighborhood just north of Parkway Central Library, named for numerous breweries that operated there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Curious to learn more? The Map Collection has numerous digitized records including industrial site surveys from the late 19th century. They indicate building materials, as well as the purpose of each building and the machinery used, number of employees, and what is manufactured on the site. Our Map Curator, Megan MacCall, found a brewery that was owned by a woman, Mrs. Elizabeth Vollmer, at the time of the survey in 1893. Cheers to 19th century female small business owners!
Hungry? We are too. Let’s move on to the pizza! In the Culinary Literacy Center, it’s no secret that we love Leanne Brown’s Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day. Available in print from the library or accessible for free in English and Spanish through the author’s website, Good and Cheap has a plethora of amazing recipes that live up to the titular adjectives. The pizza dough is no exception. If you have the time, we recommend the "Slow Method":
Pizza Dough 2 Ways
4 individual pizzas
- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups water
- Measure out the flour, salt and a teaspoon of yeast into a big bowl. Mix the oil into the flour with your hands, crumbling it until the texture is a bit sandy, then add the room-temperature water. Keep mixing with your hands until it comes together.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured countertop for 5 to 7 minutes, until it becomes a smooth elastic ball. The dough will be smooth but quite wet.
- Add a small amount of oil to a bowl. Place your dough ball in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 1½ to 3 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. It’s done rising when it has doubled in size. Then it’ll be ready to shape into your favorite pizza!
- If you’re organized enough to make the slow dough, I recommend taking the extra time: it’s the best.
- Use the same process as at left, but add only ½ teaspoon of yeast to the flour mixture. Rather than room temperature, the water should be very cold.
- After you place the dough ball in a bowl and cover it, put it into the fridge overnight. Letting the yeast work overnight creates a better flavor; it also makes the dough more elastic and easier to work with.
- The next day, 2 to 3 hours before you want to bake your pizzas, remove the dough from the fridge to return to room temperature.
As for next steps, we leave that to the experts—Philadelphia’s own Marc Vetri and his book Mastering Pizza or Tony Gemignani’s The Pizza Bible. And what are you putting on your pizza? Come to the Knife Skills Class on October 16 and learn how to julienne, brunoise, chiffonade, and battonet veggies into submission to top your pizza. Keep your eyes peeled to the Culinary Literacy Center’s Events page—we’ll be offering another Mozzarella Cheese making class soon! Until then, check out a book on cheesemaking.
And when that pie is out of the oven and you’re noshing on pizza and sipping on beer—a combo made in heaven—we couldn’t think of anything better to read than Pizzapedia and Philadelphia Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Cradle of Liberty.
Cheers! Cin Cin! Prost!