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A Visit  To Apizza Scholls

exclusive report to pizzatherapy.com
 by noted pizzaiolo: Jon F.

Outside of Apiiz Scholls, Portland, Oregon.

Outside of Apizza Scholls, Portland, Oregon

 

It doesn’t have a coal, or even a wood-fired oven, it doesn’t have an address familiar to pizza aficionados like Wooster Street, but what Apizza Sholls does have is Brian Spangler, pizzaiola extraordinaire, and one of the true legends of pizza.  This means that some of the best pies on the planet slide off wooden peels every day at Apizza Sholls.  No doubt about it, the secret ingredient to these magnificent pizzas is Brian Spangler – not the dough recipe, not the toppings, but the man himself and his personal involvement in crafting pies.

 

On the night I was there, Brian was right in front of the ovens.  He stretched and shaped each ball of dough into a roughly 18-inch diameter (he didn’t actually toss the dough into the air, though it looked like he could have).  He then used an infrared thermometer (orange and gray, and visible in one of the photos on the corner of the cook’s bench) to find the right hot spots in the ovens, and slipped the pie into the oven to bake.  He checked the progress of the pies as he cooked, moving them around if needed.  Once he was satisfied they were done, he pulled them out so they could be cut and served.  Though constantly in motion, Brian remained focused and controlled, easily carrying on a conversation with me while shaping pies and shuffling them into and out of the ovens at just the right times.

 

   Brian Spangler taking one of his pizzas out of the oven at Apizza Scholls.

Brian Spangler takes another masterpiece out of the oven

 

Brian’s passion and dedication to making the best pizza possible came through as we talked about artisan pizza making.  While Brian was pleased that more people were taking pizza seriously, and using techniques like slow fermentation to make better tasting dough and crusts, he said that some people were doing “show” artisan pizza.  By that he meant that they may use better ingredients and methods, but they weren’t mixing the dough by hand or standing in the kitchen every night like he did, and actually take charge of cooking the pies.  I have to agree with him – I visited other pizza places while in the Northwest, and while I found wood-fired ovens and excellent pies, I didn’t come across any where the main pizzaiola personally shaped and baked the pies – these pizzas were good, but whose pizzas were they?  At Apizza Scholls, you know they are Brian Spangler’s pizzas.

 

And how good are they?  Well, everyone has their own idea of pizza perfection, and I gave him the highest compliment I knew how to give – I told them that his pizzas were the closest to New Haven pizzas that I’d ever had.  He thanked me for the compliment,  and I bid him goodnight as he slid a few last pies into the oven.

 

Brian Spangler working the dough for pizza at Apizza Scholls

Brian Spangler working the dough at Apizza Scholls

 

Brian Spangler is featured on Legends of Pizza Volume 2

The Legends of Pizza  on CD Volume 1.
The Legends of Pizza on CD Volume 2.
Download Legends of Pizza 1: Click HERE
Download Legends of Pizza 2: Click HERE

 

Brian Spangler interview is here:

Claim the Legends of Pizza
Volume 1 and 2 eBook

Read an excerpt:
Pizza Notes Blog on Brian Spangler

 

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