Presto Pizza-o! Alton Brown’s Secrets to Making a Perfect Pie

10/28/2013 at 12:33 PM ET

Alton Brown Live!
Left: Maren Caruso/Getty; Right: David Allen

Has Alton Brown invented the world’s largest pizza oven?

As he tours the country with his first stage show, Alton Brown Live!, the Food Network star has been winning over audiences with cooking demos, stand-up comedy and the world’s greatest retaliation to never getting an Easy Bake oven as a kid: his new, giant Mega Bake oven.

The enormous oven was summed up by Eater as a “massive 12-foot long contraption that uses 54 stage-light bulbs running 54,000 watts, one million lumens, and heats up to 650 degrees.” Whoa.

At the Cerritos, Calif. show on October 19, Brown pulled up a lucky volunteer to make a pepperoni-kale pizza in his new toy, which turned out hot, bubbly pie in four minutes flat.

Brown is keeping the magic of the Mega Bake close to his heart, but we got the next best thing: his secrets to making the perfect pizza in a regular home kitchen.

Turn up the heat. “It’s hard to get a home oven too hot for pizza,” says Brown, who recommends cranking up your oven’s heat as high as it will go. Wood-fire pizza ovens often reach temps over 500 degrees F.

Bottom’s up. For a crispy crust, you should get your pie as close to the oven’s heat source as possible. Use a pizza stone “set on the floor or bottom rack of the oven,” he says, so the heat transfers directly to the stone.

Don’t forget to brush. “Right before you slide the pizza in the oven,  brush the crust with a little olive oil to enhance browning,” he says.

It’s easy being green. Brown says baby kale is a surprising way to make a pizza taste great. “I kind of mix it into the cheese,” he says. “I think it’s better than spinach, which gets a bit stringy.”

Take a time-out. You’ll want to slice into your pizza the second it’s out of the oven, but Brown advises a 3-minute rest period before cutting. As with anything baked, it continues to cook until it has cooled. Bonus: You won’t burn your mouth. Now, go devour that pie!

FILED UNDER: Alton Brown , Food , Pizza

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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