Recipe: Bake your own pizza – that’s how it works like in Italy

Compromise dishes make everyday life so much easier – no big discussions about food, but complete satisfaction for everyone. Above all, one thing is the compromise meal par excellence: pizza. A closed case against which no one seriously has anything to say. No matter where you go: the pizza is already there. Dough, topping, cheese, done: It couldn’t be easier. Or?

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Pizza was considered a poor man’s food

As with anything that comes out of the kitchen, there’s a lot that can go wrong with a pizza—not just when you order it from a dodgy delivery service and it comes out lukewarm and completely soggy. There are also a few things to keep in mind when making your own. But one after another.

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Strictly speaking, the baking of flatbread is an age-old custom and may not have even originated in Italy, as researchers repeatedly emphasize. It is very likely that the pizza as we know it today is originally Italian: Neapolitan style with tomatoes and cheese. When tomatoes were brought over from South America at the end of the 15th century, farmers around Naples came up with the idea to cover their flatbreads with them – the basis of pizza was born. But for a long time it was considered a poor man’s meal.

Pizza: Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi in Naples is credited with finally making pizza socially acceptable. On June 11, 1889, he is said to have first delivered it to King Umberto I and his wife Margherita, with ingredients in today’s Italian national colors: basil, mozzarella and tomatoes – green, white, red. To show his respect for the royal couple, who now dared to eat the people’s favorite dish for the first time, he called this version “Margherita”. It is still a classic to this day.

Unesco included the Neapolitan art of pizza making on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2017. Traditional preparation is still longer in place in the EU. Consequently, only the following ingredients may be used for a Pizza Napoletana: soft wheat flour, yeast, drinking water, peeled tomatoes or small fresh tomatoes, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil. Other things are more tradition than regulation, but no less important: the tomatoes always come as a base on the dough, then the cheese, and only then the rest of the topping. Mozzarella belongs on a pizza and no other cheese.

A simple dough recipe from Italy (for four to six pizzas):

  • a kilogram of soft wheat flour (Tipo 00)
  • 650 milliliters of lukewarm water
  • 2 grams of fresh yeast
  • 30 grams of sea salt
  • two tablespoons of olive oil

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This is how it works:

1. Dissolve the yeast, oil and salt in 200 milliliters of the water, carefully fold in the flour and stir and knead vigorously. Add enough of the remaining water to form a ball that is not too dry and not too wet.

2. Cover and let rest for an hour, then gently knead again and store in a covered container in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.

3. Two hours before baking, take out and form six balls, cover and leave to rise again at room temperature. Then roll out thinly and on top: First the tomatoes, then the mozzarella, then the rest as you like.

4. When you bake, the following applies: As much heat as possible, because a pizza must be baked briefly but at a high temperature – at least 250 degrees. But more can be achieved with, for example, a kettle grill.

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