Thursday, October 18, 2007

Secrets of Great Pizza Dough (baby not included)

Looks like I'll be posting a little until our favorite baker is back. I live in Napoli, Italy and here there is a great pride in LA VERA PIZZA (the real pizza) and in keeping the tradition alive. There are people who are dedicated to the making and perfecting it their entire lives. We call them pizzaioli (pizzaiolo in the singular) and boy do they have a lot of secrets!

Recently, I was able to pry a few secrets away from a pizzaiolo who is a Native Napoletano and who had spent 20 years in NYC with his own pizzeria. Joe tells me the key is in the dough. A perfect pizza has a wonderful soft light dough (not hard and cracker like). You get this consistency by kneading it then letting it rest and kneading it again, being careful not to overwork it. Every time it rises it should be approximately twice its original size. The yeast used must be a fresh bakers yeast that is mixed with the salt and warm water. By the time you are ready to put the condiments on the pizza it should be, "softer than a baby's culo.*"

The edges of the pizza is called the cornice (or frame in English -as in a frame of a painting). Typically, this part is not eaten. However, if you are a good at making the dough just right then your guest's highest compliment would be if the frame is eaten as well. So, buon appetito and my your cornice be eaten!

*kind of rude way to say bottom

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