Old-World Pizza Preparation
Forget your gas-electric ovens! Pizzas and Naples and much of Europe are made in wood-fired brick ovens. For a quick review of how these pizzas are made in two minutes or less see below:
First, ingredients are arrayed on a relatively thin circle of dough which has already been set to rise over 10-12 hours at room temperature. In Naples-mozzarella, basil and a splash of olive oil are standard on most pizza bases, so you will commonly see these toppings. I am also omitting the painstaking work involved in ingredient selection…but I am just focusing on the relatively simple process of baking a pizza.
Second, the pizza is placed in a wood-fired brick oven that is heated to 750 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 400 degrees Celsius. The pizza is turned once, perhaps twice with the pizza shovel or ‘pala’ over the course of 90 to 120 seconds.
Finally the pizza is removed from the oven and allowed to cool for a few moments. The pizza cooks surprisingly fast compared to non-traditional gas-electric ovens.
Then you eat the pizza. No instructions here, right…? Actually no, you would be wrong if you tried to eat a Neapolitan pizza the way you might in the United States (or you would discover this quickly on your own). Although Neapolitan pizzas are not as simple to eat as their fast food derivatives at major pizza chains…forks and knives are usually required in Naples since the crust is usually too thin in the center to stay vertical while you hold the pizza slice. But that is no criticism on my part, that is just how you eat a good Neapolitan pizza.
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