Life of Pie, another great location for excellent pizza in Portland! I am a self proclaimed pizza snob, always skeptical when I approach a new pizzeria. When I drive by anyone that displays a glorious Stefano Ferrara oven I must schedule a visit.
Today I focused on two of their signature pizzas: the seasonal mushroom pie, covered in chanterelles and shitake mushrooms and finished with shaved pecorino romano and truffle oil and the one with Carlton Farms applewood smoked bacon layered with oven-roasted leeks, goat cheese and caramelized onions.
Now I have to confess that - as a pizza nerd - I peeked at the infrared thermometer when the temperature of the oven floor was taken: 680F, way too low for my standards! With less heat the cooking time has to increase, the dough with retain less hydration and the pizza will slowly transition from Neapolitan to a slightly more nordic (Italian) style. Nothing wrong here: 700F is a very desirable temperature, just not what I consider optimal given an oven capable of 900F.
I asked Jason Kallingal, owner of Life of Pie about the the temperature. He said their preference goes to a cornicione (crust) with wide charring spots and a slightly better cooked pizza. I agree with the concept: somewhere past the mythical 90” of cooking time, the perfectly crunchy and chewy pizza can be found, but the risk of overcooking is elevate.
The pizza arrived and I was delighted, I can’t really decide which one was my favorite! Both the combination of toppings were spectacular.
The crust, mystical pillar I always meticulously inspect, proved to have been matured slowly and extensively, was perfectly cooked and delivered a beautiful aroma and taste: I was sold. I was told that a local, organic, stone ground flour with low gluten strength is used and I was fascinated by the outcome.
Life of Pie officially enters in my top five pizza places in Portland, and it’s battling against Ken’s artisan for the first place. I must eat more before assigning the golden medal!