If you own a pizza oven or have a pizza stone tucked away at the back of your cupboard, do yourself a favour and attend a Pizza Master Class taught by Master Pizza Maker (or Piazollo) Johnny Di Francesco at his East Brunswick restaurant, 400 Gradi.  To read more about 400 Gradi, check out our review here.

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Attending one of Johnny’s Pizza Master Classes will surely change the way you make pizza.  The names of his two restaurants, 400 Gradi and 90 Secondi describe only part of Johnny’s pizza making philosophy.  Pizza goes in the oven at 400 degrees for 90 seconds. But as he takes you through his class you soon realise that his passion for sharing the secret of a good pizza is clear.

He doesn’t hold back in sharing every secret and technique he can teach you in the short time you are with him.  His aim in having the Pizza Master Classes is to share the secrets he has learnt since he was a 12-year-old boy in Naples so that future generations will know the secrets behind what makes the perfect “Pizza Napoletana”.

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The Master Class runs for two hours.  In that time Johnny will walk you through turning just four simple ingredients into pizza dough.

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As he instructs you, you work with your own set of pizza dough ingredients.   During the class, as you clumsily try and mimic the actions of a seasoned master, Johnny moves from student to student and thoughtfully shows them several techniques for each step until they find one that suits them and succeeds.

You will learn how to get the perfect temperature for pizza dough.  Why you should not use too much yeast.  Even the right technique on shaping your pizza dough into dough balls for individual pizzas, choosing from one of three techniques that Johnny will teach you.

You will also learn why you should eat the crust of the pizza (apparently to ease digestion and not to get curly hair) and the importance and the techniques of keeping air bubbles in the pizza dough.

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Once you have made your pizza dough, you will head into the kitchen to turn dough balls into your very own pizza base, which you will top with your choice of toppings and watch your pizza being placed in 400 Gradi’s very own wood-fire oven.

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Once your pizza is ready (it only takes 90 seconds), you will sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labour with a glass of wine.

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After tasting your creation, you will definitely be fighting the urge to bow to the master, or in this case the Master Pizza Maker, Johnny Di Francesco at his ability to turn a mere mortal into someone who can actually create an amazing pizza.

Where:  400 Gradi, 99 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

When:  11 am to 1pm – Third Saturday of Every Month

Cost:  $70 per person (includes pizza and a glass of wine)*Note prices have changed since this article was published. Contact 400 Gradi for the latest prices.

Contact ph:  03 9380 2320

Contact email: [email protected]

About The Author

Jason Scully

Jason Scully is a Malaysian-born foodie whose interest include marathon television sessions, flipping through Domain on the weekends and checking out Melbourne's latest festivals. Jason is also the founder and co-editor of Collective Tee - The World's First Wearable Blog. Check it out at www.collectivetee.com.

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