Dan Medlen knows dough. He's been baking for Tammie Coe for the past eight years and, more recently, hauling his mobile oven to Sleepy Dog Saloon and Brewery in Tempe to throw down some tasty mesquite wood-fired pies on a Friday or Saturday night.
But his dough obsession and pizza hobby are picking up steam, so to speak. He's got two pretty cool things going on this very week:
As of Tuesday, Medlen has begun selling multi-grain pretzel rolls at Bodega in Scottsdale. The grains he's using come courtesy of Sleepy Dog, who boil them and extract their sugar in the beer-making process. To hear Charleen Badman, co-owner of Bodega tell it, the delicious result is a roll that tastes like a pretzel but offers up an irresistible crunchy-chewy component. The rolls sell for $2 each and come with a little cup of artisan Wonder Mustard, made by longtime bartender Steve Douds.
Medlen's rolls are delivered to the shop on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Now here's the other good news:
This coming Friday night (July 27th), Medlen is teaming up with Minerva Orduño Rincón, the FnB line cook who recently launched her own product line (Muñeca Mexicana), to create a special pizza for Sleepy Dog customers. The $9 wood-fired pie will be topped with roasted potato, jack cheese, cilantro and Orduño's chorizo sauce. Sounds pretty yummy.
Other pizza offerings this Friday will be standard cheese, classic pepperoni, and a pizza topped with tomato and olive tapenade.
The bonus? Orduño will bring along some of her soon-to-be-famous coyotas (Mexican pastries) to toss in Medlen's oven for a warming up. Medlen plans to make a sweet somethin-somethin, too -- maybe a Kahlua chocolate mousse.
Medlen says he got the pizza bug after his girlfriend bought him a copy of American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza by Peter Reinhart for Christmas. After letting it sit on the shelf for a year, he picked up the book and started experimenting. The couple began to invite people over for pizza, and every week, the crowd got bigger and bigger.
When Medlen ran into a guy building portable wood-fired ovens at a fairly reasonable price (hearth ovens go for $18K-20K), he decided to take the plunge. Then he connected with Sleepy Dog, and the rest, as they say, is history. Who knows where it will all end up for Medlen -- whose Facebook handle is Pizza Daux. For now, he's rolling dough, if not rolling in it.