Field Work Friday – Makin’ Pizza with EnZo’s Pizza Company

This week we traveled to EnZo’s Pizza Company in Durham for pizza making lessons.

Yes, real pizza making lessons from their catering manager Kyle and awesome part-time helper Stuart.

EnZo’s is an Old World-style pizza shop, making everything fresh and with real ingredients – but in funky, gourmet ways.  We were excited to travel to their shop to learn some pizza secrets – but we were even more impressed with the effort and talent that the EnZo’s men demonstrated to us.  Not only did they go above and beyond to call of duty to answer our questions, explain their pizza process, and keep us comfortable in their shop, but they also opened early AND were super affordable.  We’ll definitely be visiting EnZo’s again!

Here’s how our visit went:

After we arrived, we were ushered to our very own section of the dining room and given handouts explaining the rising process of dough making.  (My Little Man is fascinated with this, and we sometimes activate yeast just so he can watch the results of their burping.)  It seemed that Kyle prepared this just for us – how many people would go to that kind of trouble for a group of kids?

Next, we moved out into the main part of the dining room, where they had prepared pizza-making stations for us.  With the dough already stretched and the other ingredients premeasured, they were definitely ready for us.

 
Kyle then demonstrated each step of the process, explaining each part, such as how to spoon on the sauce and spread out in a spiral fashion.

 

 
Each person was allowed to choose his or her own toppings.  Everyone wanted pepperoni except me, as I’m trying to eat more veggies than meat, and they kindly brought me a whole plate of peppers and olives for my pizza.  As the only one in my family who likes that combination, it was fun to have a whole pizza my way!

 

I’m sure our pizza skills weren’t exactly EnZo ready, but we definitely had a great time!  Because Kyle and Stuart were so super prepared, even our youngest children could make pizzas with their mother’s help.  (I was next to an almost-two-year-old, and he seemed to be having a blast.)

 
Next we split up into groups.  One group went back into the kitchen to find out about the baking process.  We learned that the pizzas were cooked for 6 minutes at about 600 – 625 degrees.  I can’t imagine using an oven that hot!
 
Here Kyle is using the bubble-popping tool.  I’ve never heard of this, and I think it’s great!  This special long-handled, two-tined fork is used for popping bubbles on pizza.  Someone has the special task of watching for and popping those bubbles using this tool.  Kyle did this service for us.

 

The ovens operate conveyer-belt style and have three tiers. The pizzas are put in on the left and come out on the right.  These are a few of our personal-sized ones emerging from the oven.

Kyle said that when they’re in full operation, they can bake 27 pizzas in about 10 minutes.  Wow!

 
 
While one group was touring the kitchen, the rest of our party was out in the dining room, learning how to make dough balls from Stuart.  I thought this was just the neatest activity – and also very generous of EnZo’s.  After teaching us how to handle the dough, they actually brought out 10 dough balls and let us work with them.  In our nearly two years of touring, nobody has ever sacrificed some of their own product strictly for our learning pleasure!
 

 
Making our own pizza is something that we do often at home, but I use a super simple pizza dough recipe.  While we love the taste and I love the ease of making it, I’ve never let the kids knead it.  They roll it, but not knead it.  My Little Man was fascinated with this task, and all of the kids worked with their dough balls for quite a while.
 
Maybe I’ll have to turn over all kneading responsibilities to the kids!
 
 

After the pizzas were all out of the oven, we returned to our private dining area, where Kyle and Stuart served our pizza.  The restaurant opened about this time, and we began to see customers pouring in.

Kyle and Stuart were generous throughout our entire experience.  They did everything they could to teach our children and to give them a fun and hands-on learning experience.  With 18 children aged 7 and under, that isn’t easy, but these two seemed to take it in stride.

We made it as far as the parking lot, where my Little Man was in awe over this cool EnZo’s car, when he began to ask when we could return.  “I want to come back to EnZo’s, Mommy,” he said, and when I asked why, he replied that “That pizza was yummy!  I can’t wait to make another one!”

I had to explain that one didn’t usually get to make one’s own pizza when dining at EnZo’s, and he was disappointed, but he’s still asking when we can go back.

But wouldn’t it be cool if they had a ‘make your own personal pizza’ option like the Mad Hatter does for cupcake decorating?

All told, the few bites that I got were great.  The pizzas are cooked on a special mesh pan, which adds texture and crunch to the bottom crust.  The crust itself is not the super thin style but not deep dish, either, which would please my whole family.  I would’ve loved to have more, but my Bottomless-Pit ate all of his and most of mine.  (I got a salad, too, so this worked out well.  Incidentally, the other kids ate most of theirs and took some home – a personal sized one seemed plenty for them.)

We brought a menu home so we could show the rest of our family and because we just love reading menus.  EnZo’s has some really creative and yummy-sounding specialty pizzas.  My Big Helper can’t wait to go try them out.

If you’re in the Duke section of Durham, be sure to stop in and visit EnZo’s Pizza Company.  Your pizza is sure to be excellent!

Thanks, EnZo’s!

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